Welcome to the United States Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model! What is the Bay Model, you ask? The building was used as a working laboratory from 1954 to the year 2000. The Model itself is a giant, indoor, concrete, hydrodynamic simulator. Engineers and scientists used the Bay Model for many years to test several theories for collecting and storing fresh water, and to conduct a wide variety of environmental experiments. Today they use high-speed computers to do the job that the Bay Model once did as they continue their quest for viable solutions to keeping our waterways clean and healthy for all who depend on it.
In the process of studying the watershed flow patterns a growing knowledge of San Francisco Bay natural history and resources begins to emerge. Today, based on the information that’s been collected, we have a much better understanding of the consequences of man’s actions on neighboring plants, birds, fish, and wildlife.
However, as the human population of the Bay Area continues to grow, so does the demand on our fresh water supply. The increase of traffic on our waterways is another big concern. The Bay Model is now an excellent educational tool available for anyone who is interested in learning about the Bay Area watershed and it’s unique environment.
Today, rangers must think like scientists. And, we need your help! Our big question is: “What can we do, as individuals, to keep our bay environment clean and healthy so humans and wildlife can enjoy it together?” As young scientists, you need to understand what the problems are and discover solutions because someday the future of the entire watershed including the bay is going to be in your hands!
The exhibits, orientation film, and Bay Model will provide you with lots of useful material. Use your powers of observation.
But, first you need to put your scientific minds to work. Let’s explore our watershed and the unique ecosystems that depend on it. Let’s see what it takes to protect and preserve our very special watery environment for future generations.
This activity is not meant to be a test. It is intended to help you to look for “clues”. Your mission is to gather information, formulate questions, and make positive conclusions that will benefit an ecology that includes us all so we can all look forward to a brighter environmental future. I hope you find it both enlightening--and fun!
Park Ranger Linda M. Holm