Baykeeper's Monthly Column

Baykeeper publishes a monthly column on San Francisco Bay cultural, environmental, and maritime issues.
(August 2009) In the last 200 years, San Francisco Bay has undergone profound changes, and the health of the Bay has varied dramatically. Before the wave of gold rush settlers, for example, the Bay was a vibrant ecosystem teeming with marine life, to the extent that oysters, shrimp and several species of fish were commercially harvested. By the 1970s, however, the Bay had become a...
(July 2009) A few months ago, I wrote about a technology in use at three Bay Area power plants called once-through cooling, a process that kills fish and marine life as it pulls in Bay water to cool heated machinery inside the plant.  In response, we received this inquiry:  “My husband and I are supporters of Baykeeper. We enjoyed your informative article on Local Power Plants in the...
(June 2009) San Francisco Bay is at the center of the Bay Area and the extensive network of housing, transit, retail and industry that sustains the more than seven million people that live here. The Bay is a big part of what makes the Bay Area so special, but its close proximity to a major urban area also means that the Bay is constantly bombarded with pollution from Bay Area cities and...
(May 2009) San Francisco Bay is known throughout the world for its majestic natural beauty, and San Francisco Baykeeper works every day to protect the health of the birds, fish and other aquatic animals that make the Bay so special. But the Bay isn’t just lovely to behold – it is also an active end point along an international shipping route that contributes to a significant portion of...
(April 2009) In the wake of increasingly alarming climate change data and a growing movement to reduce our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, energy issues have risen to the top of the national environmental agenda. The Obama administration has pledged to craft a sustainable national energy policy that promotes renewable sources of energy and minimizes the harmful environmental...
(March 2009) The San Francisco Bay defines much of the lifestyle of the Bay Area. The Bay is an avenue for worldwide commerce and local transportation, an arena for outdoor sports and recreation and a breathtaking local attraction that draws residents and visitors alike. In our daily routines, it is easy to overlook the amazing complexity and diversity of life that thrives below the...
(February 2009) San Francisco Baykeeper has worked for almost two decades to protect the San Francisco Bay from pollution. Over the years, we’ve achieved a number of victories that have helped improve water quality not only locally but at the state and national level as well – in fact, last month we secured an important court ruling that requires the federal regulation of pesticide...
(January 2009) While the rainy season in the Bay Area can mean an end to nice weather and much-loved outdoor activities, it’s an important and productive time for our environment – rain prompts new plant growth after many dry months and replenishes water reserves for drinking and irrigation. In urban areas like ours, however, rain also becomes polluted runoff as it hits our streets and...
(December 2008) As fall turns to winter, many of us look forward to the holiday season and to celebrations with friends and family. Unfortunately, we at San Francisco Baykeeper have come to expect that the winter months also bring something less pleasant: sewage spills in San Francisco Bay. One cause of sewage spills to the Bay is the rain we get in the winter; during heavy rains, water...
(November 2008) On November 7, 2007, the Cosco Busan container ship collided with the Bay Bridge, spilling more than 50,000 gallons from the ship’s enormous fuel tanks and causing San Francisco Bay’s largest vessel-related oil spill in over a decade. The failure by response agencies to accurately evaluate and quickly communicate the scale of the spill allowed bunker fuel to spread...

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