Baykeeper's Monthly Column

Baykeeper publishes a monthly column on San Francisco Bay cultural, environmental, and maritime issues.
(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,...
(September 2010) The San Francisco Bay is remarkably complex. As we take in the scenery along the Bay Trail, ride the ferry to work, and even when we wade into the water for a swim, it’s hard to comprehend the numerous processes at work to sustain the Bay ecosystem. The Bay’s biological communities depend on freshwater inflow from the Delta, continual tidal flushing, a seasonal coastal...
(August 2010) Summertime is here and if you’re like me, you’re spending more time on the water with longer, warmer days. As Bay Area residents flock to recreational hotspots along our shorelines, they may be unaware that their boating plans can have an impact on the Bay’s environment. Whether you’re in a motorboat or sailboat your vessel can contribute to water pollution in the Bay,...
(July 2010) Due to the efforts of San Francisco Baykeeper, Arc Ecology and Natural Resources Defense Council, the decaying, toxic vessels of the Ghost Fleet will soon haunt the waters of Suisun Bay no longer. In an important victory for the health of San Francisco Bay and for the diverse range of animals that thrives in the unique habitat of Suisun Bay, we have successfully secured an effective...
(June 2010) Though the Gulf of Mexico is almost two thousand of miles away from San Francisco Bay, the implications of the ongoing BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster reverberate across the country. Sadly, it strikes a special chord here in the Bay Area, where we witnessed the effects of a major oil spill in the Bay less than three years ago. The message is clear:  despite numerous oil...
(May 2010) Wetlands are among the most important ecosystems on Earth and provide a number of valuable functions that may be compromised due to climate change and the associated sea level rise. Not only are they highly productive, providing habitat for many specialized plants and animals, but wetlands also control the flow of water in adjacent water bodies and filter out...
(April 2010) Small changes in our daily lives can make a big impact on the health of San Francisco Bay. You can help prevent sewage spills, reduce stormwater pollution and reduce the amount of toxic chemicals that enter the Bay by following these basic pollution prevention tips around your home. In Your Home Don’t pour fats, oils and grease down the drain. When leftover oil and grease...
(March 2010) Slow drains are the first sign of trouble.  A baby opossum in the potty is a real warning sign, though.  Yes, my 1928 home had the original sectional terra cotta sewer pipes, and earthquakes and tree roots had left large openings in the pipes.  A den of adolescent possums apparently had used the pipe (during dry weather) for exploring.  The baby opossum that showed up in the...

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