Baykeeper's Monthly Column

Baykeeper publishes a monthly column on San Francisco Bay cultural, environmental, and maritime issues.
(March 2012) Can one boater make a difference? Consider this: A weekend boater flushing untreated sewage into San Francisco Bay produces the same bacterial pollution as 10,000 people whose sewage passes through a treatment plant. One marina operator can make a big difference, too. At Sausalito’s Galilee Harbor, a co-op affordable-housing marina owned by its tenants, every boat is connected into...
(February 2012) In the not-too-distant future, Sausalito and Marin City streets could be underwater twice a day. High tides could regularly overflow onto San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Around San Francisco Bay, storm drains will run in reverse, with salt water backing up in low-lying communities. Frequent flooding in winter will be the new normal. The more the world’s nations fail to agree...
(January 2012) As cold rain fell from the night sky, we slipped our kayaks into the dark waters off the East Bay shore. The Bay’s surface was calm. The only sound was raindrops splashing on our kayaks and the water around us. Lights from shore allowed us to find our way. Baykeeper staff scientist Ian Wren and I suspected that toxic metals were being washed into San Francisco Bay. We were...
(December 2011) Ah, the holidays. Gathering with friends and family—turkey, roasts, gravy, buttery homemade desserts, sewage . . Sewage? Yes, unfortunately. For San Francisco Bay, the holiday season comes with a surge of pollution from sewage. A major reason is the cooking and cleanup of rich holiday meals. Fortunately, there are ways we can all make sure our kitchens don’t pollute the Bay...
(November 2011) Pesticides are one of the main contaminants to Bay Area creeks and the aquatic life that forms the base of the Bay’s food web. Future columns will discuss our efforts to reduce local governments’ use of pesticide. Read on to learn what you can do to stay pesticide free—for the health of your family and the Bay. Avoid anti-bacterial soap with triclosan. Washing your hands with...
(October 2011) Three good bills to protect San Francisco Bay and California children made it out of the California Legislature this session and now await Governor Brown’s signature. AB1112, which Baykeeper sponsored to protect the Bay from future oil spills, needs a final push from you. Two others, AB 376 (to ban shark finning) and AB 1319 (to ban bisphenol A from baby bottles) also need...
(September 2011) As the U.S. House and Senate return from their August recesses, debates over legislation to gut essential Clean Water Act protections will test the environmental leadership of key California legislators, and the President, as never before. Two major bills, H.R. 872 and H.R. 2018, have already passed the House and await a vote in the Senate, while dozens more stealthy...
(August 2011) Every time I write this monthly column, I find that I have to dive deep into a whole new world of chemistry, species, habitat, geology and climate. I enjoy sharing a little bit of what I learn along the way. Some of you know I’m a novice birder, having become captivated with diving ducks while helping Golden Gate Audubon Society with its Christmas bird count out on the Bay. I...
(July 2011) America’s 33-year wait for the FDA to publish rules on sunscreen labeling ended in June—just in time for the apparent end of the rainy season. The new rules go into effect next year and will provide clear guidance for the most part on sunscreen manufacturers’ claims about effectiveness. Until then, you’ve got a few tools to help you choose a sunscreen that does more good than...
(June 2011) Much of Baykeeper’s work focuses on strengthening or maintaining clean water laws and regulations related to toxic pollutants and other contaminants capable of compromising the health of San Francisco Bay. We do this work by engaging in policy and regulatory processes, as well as conducting outreach, research and education. When necessary, we litigate on behalf of clean water...

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