Baykeeper's Monthly Column

Baykeeper publishes a monthly column on San Francisco Bay cultural, environmental, and maritime issues.
(December 2017) As the shoreline whizzed by and the wind sprayed mist on our faces, I spotted an old building out of the corner of my eye that didn’t look quite right. We were patrolling San Francisco Bay for pollution in the Baykeeper boat, along San Francisco’s eastern shoreline, near Potrero Hill. Our volunteer skipper for that day, Geoff Potter, slowed and pulled closer. The deteriorating...
(November 2017) Ten years ago, on November 7, 2007, more than 53,000 gallons of heavy oil spilled into San Francisco Bay. The disaster happened when a 900-foot container ship, the Cosco Busan, side-swiped a Bay Bridge tower, gashing open two of the ship’s fuel tanks. The damage was compounded because the ship initially reported that only 400 gallons had spilled. But the tide soon washed an...
(October 2017) The oil company Phillips 66 wants to increase the number of tanker ships carrying crude oil across San Francisco Bay to its refinery—from 59 to 135 tankers per year. More than doubling the number of oil tankers would increase the risk of oil spills in the Bay. Oil spilled in the water can kill birds and other wildlife, make the Bay unsafe for recreation and contaminate local...
(September 2017) The Ghost Fleet of Suisun Bay—57 decaying military ships that poisoned the San Francisco Bay ecosystem for 40 years—is finally gone. The last ship was towed out of the Golden Gate in August, on its way to be dismantled and recycled. This is a major victory for a healthier Bay ecosystem. The Ghost Fleet was a collection of mothballed military ships from World War II and the Korean...
(August 2017) Governor Jerry Brown claims to be an environmental leader. He recently basked in the international spotlight, proclaiming California as a climate leader. So it’s extremely disappointing that the governor continues to push for a massive, expensive water project that will irreparably harm San Francisco Bay’s environment. The Brown Administration recently praised the federal government...
(July 2017) For more than three months, hundreds of dead leopard sharks have been washing up on San Francisco Bay’s shoreline. Shark experts investigating the mysterious deaths have made progress, but they haven’t yet determined the exact cause. If you see a shark stranded on the shoreline, don’t try to push it back in the water. Report its exact location to Baykeeper’s hotline at 1-800-KEEP-BAY...
(June 2017) Do you love San Francisco Bay? Do you want to see the Bay pollution-free, with healthy wildlife? Do you want to support a powerful local cause? Then mark your calendar for the fourth annual Bay Parade on Sunday, July 9, when you can join San Francisco Baykeeper on the water for an unforgettable day on the Bay. You have lots of ways to join the Bay Parade. You can swim 6.5 miles (solo...
(May 2017) Twenty-one Bay Area industrial facilities used to contaminate San Francisco Bay every time it rained. But this year, during the record rains, these sites didn’t pollute the Bay, thanks to Baykeeper and our Bay-Safe Industry Campaign. The types of industrial facilities that cleaned up their sites under our campaign include auto dismantlers, ship repair yards, manufacturers of concrete...
(April 2017) This year, the Bay Area has been deluged with rain. After years of severe drought, we’re not complaining. However, the downpour came with side effects. Creeks, roads and neighborhoods flooded. Sewage overflows caused major spills in local communities. Billions of gallons of rainwater washed off polluted surfaces, moving heavy loads of trash, oil and other contaminants into San...
(March 2017) Amid the drama of alternative facts and security leaks, the new administration has been unpredictable. And as its anti-environment agenda becomes clearer, Baykeeper’s attorneys and scientists are evaluating how best to protect San Francisco Bay from looming threats. One imminent threat is the administration’s short-circuiting of environmental protections in order to facilitate...

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