From Baykeeper's Column in Bay Crossings Magazine

Baykeeper publishes a column in Bay Crossings, a monthly newspaper featuring articles of interest on San Francisco Bay cultural, environmental and maritime issues.
(November 2014) Soaring and gliding gracefully over the water, pelicans are a familiar sight around San Francisco Bay. Two types of pelicans, the California brown pelican and the American white pelican, live here. They arrive and depart at different times of year, but both are here now. California brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus) are most common around the central and northern...
(October 2014) Long freight trains, with tank cars full of crude oil, chugging daily along San Francisco Bay’s shore? That’s the oil industry’s plan—to expand the shipment of crude oil into the Bay Area by train. Shipping lots more crude oil here by rail would create a huge risk of oil being spilled into the Bay and its tributaries. Oil spills from trains are alarmingly common; last year in the...
(September 2014) The proposed 35-mile tunnels to carry fresh water from the northern end of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to pumps on the southern end would harm San Francisco Bay. This $25 billion project would also devastate the Delta ecosystem and wipe out California’s salmon fishery. Two major rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, flow into the Delta. The Delta, in turn, provides a...
(August 2014) Slender, blue-gray birds up to five feet tall, great blue herons (Ardea herodias) live all around San Francisco Bay. With half its height in its long legs, this majestic bird wades in the Bay’s shallow tidal waters, often standing silent and unmoving. Then, with a sudden thrust of its sharp beak, the great blue heron stabs a fish and swallows it whole. Sometimes the fish is larger...
(July 2014) What happens when the engines of a large ship in San Francisco Bay suddenly lose power?  The pilot loses the ability to steer the ship or stop it from drifting. A dramatic rise in such incidents began in 2009, when a California law to help reduce global climate change went into effect. Ships are now required to use less-polluting diesel fuel when in state waters, including the Bay,...
(June 2014) In the late 1980s, San Francisco Bay’s health was in serious decline. Environmental laws were in place to protect the Bay from pollution, but they were not being enforced. Media reports warned that the Bay might even be dying.  In the face of these threats, Dr. Michael Herz, a researcher and scientist, was inspired to create San Francisco Baykeeper. Since 1989, Baykeeper has patrolled...
(May 2014) With sunnier days and warmer weather, it’s a perfect time to visit a San Francisco Bay shoreline park. Park activities include wildlife viewing, swimming, windsurfing, kiteboarding, kayaking, hiking, bicycling, picnicking, camping, fishing and hanging out amid the beauty of the Bay. Here’s a sampling: China Camp State Park, San Rafael. Nestled along the shore of the San Pablo Bay,...
(April 2014) In honor of Earth Day on April 22, Opening Day on the Bay on April 27, and the spring and summer recreation season, Baykeeper presents tips to protect both your health and the health of San Francisco Bay. When You’re Along or On the Bay Use mineral sunscreens, but avoid nanoparticles. Most chemical sunscreens contain dangerous compounds like oxybenzone and retinol that can cause...
(March 2014) Drought’s impact on San Francisco Bay is varied, but fish get hit the hardest. Salmon and steelhead swim into the Bay from the ocean, then swim up rivers or creeks to spawn, depositing the eggs that become the next fish generation. Historically, despite periodic droughts, during spawning season the Bay and rivers that fed the Bay teemed with salmon. But for years, a human-created...
(February 2014) If you’re on the San Francisco Bay shoreline and spot a small, round owl on the ground, it’s probably a burrowing owl. These long-legged birds weigh just 4 to 9 ounces, and are the only owl active on the ground during the day. They have brown spotted feathers and bright yellow eyes. The most likely place to find a burrowing owl is beside a ground squirrel’s abandoned burrow....

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