River otters (Lontra canadensis) are charismatic watershed ambassadors, largely extirpated from the SF Bay Area by the mid-twentieth century. As a sentinel apex predator species that uses every part of a watershed, from headwaters to the ocean, their return to our watersheds indicates a hopeful change in conditions and can encourage continuing wetland restoration and conservation. Yet, very little is known about their population, health, behavior and ecology within our watersheds. ROEP is the first-ever project in Central California to investigate these issues.
Our mission is to illustrate the linkages between the recovery of local river otter populations and healthy watersheds, and foster public and organizational participation in restoration and conservation. Healthy watersheds mean healthier otters, healthier humans, and more opportunities for all residents to enjoy the wildlife the SF Bay Area supports.