Florence LaRiviere
Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge
Palo Alto, California

Grassroots activist Florence LaRiviere has worked countless hours to protect wetlands in the San Francisco Bay area. Florence first became involved in efforts to protect wetlands along the Bay in 1968, joining a group of citizens who recognized the need to create a refuge in south San Francisco Bay to preserve the Bay’s tidal wetlands and salt ponds that provide essential habitat for hundreds of thousands of waterfowl and migratory birds. Those efforts resulted in the establishment of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge – the nation’s first urban national wildlife refuge – in 1972. While the refuge protected over 20,000 acres of salt ponds, Florence recognized that the refuge also needed to protect adjacent uplands and seasonal wetlands or they would be lost to development. She therefore decided to bring together a group of concerned citizens, forming the “Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge.” Their efforts ultimately led to the expansion of the refuge by 20,000 acres. At the age of 88, Florence’s leadership continues to inspire those around her to defend threatened wetlands in the Bay area and beyond.