Baykeeper's Monthly Column

Baykeeper publishes a monthly column on San Francisco Bay cultural, environmental, and maritime issues.
(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...
(May 2011) First, a sewage spill update: since I wrote last month about our annual Bay Area winter sewage spills, the number of gallons of sewage spilled has doubled! After a very rainy March, we can now say that nearly a quarter billion gallons of raw or undertreated sewage have entered San Francisco Bay and its tributaries this winter. With 40 treatment plants and 17,000 miles of publicly-owned...
(April 2011) At the time of this writing, this year’s rainy season had already brought nine million gallons of raw sewage to Bay Area waterways, and a stunning 125 million gallons of undertreated sewage from the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) plants at Point Isabel and in Oakland. Many people don’t realize that the Bay Area has such an old-fashioned public health threat. Sewage...
(March 2011) Shivery winter weather has been the daily forecast this season, with snowstorms in the East and even the occasional blustery winds and rains around the Bay Area. For many people, cold weather brings to mind warm comforts of hot cocoa, slow-cooked soups, fleece blankets and wishful thoughts of island getaways. But Bay Area residents may not have to book a flight to the tropics to...
(February 2011) Last year at this time, I wrote about Baykeeper’s first-time participation in the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count and my experience as a novice birder on the Bay. This December, the Baykeeper boat was out on the Bay once again to assist with the 111th Christmas Bird Count, joining more than 60,000 people nationwide in documenting trends in bird population. We worked with...
(January 2011) As cold and flu season approaches, we’re apt to have a bigger impact on the Bay than usual. We know that our municipal governments provide sewage treatment that is supposed to protect the Bay, and—except in cases of overflows—our treatment technology does a pretty good job on bacteria and pathogens. But treatment plants around the Bay (and the United States for that matter) were...
(December 2010) As families around the Bay Area plan for holiday meals in celebration of the season, they look forward to enjoying rich foods like roasted turkey, buttery potatoes and homemade gravy. However, many of us might not recognize that the fat and oil that come along with holiday meal preparation can result in local water pollution. When fats, oils and grease from pots, pans and...
(November 2010) Of the 1024 bills that reached the Governor’s desk this year, 726 were signed into law.  Only a handful of these new laws are related to the environment, and except for one of these, all are procedural – that is, they set up new bureaucratic procedures, place caps on fines, require new vision statements, or slightly revise existing guidelines.  Only one bill, SB 346 (...
(October 2010) As Halloween draws closer and our thoughts turn to costumes and candy, this festive fall holiday also inspires us to dust the cobwebs off our spookiest stories. Being a water-oriented organization – and writing for a commuter-ferry audience – it was hard to resist a topic centered around the scariest aquatic thriller of all time: the 1975 the box-office thriller Jaws,...

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