Baykeeper's Monthly Column

Baykeeper publishes a monthly column on San Francisco Bay cultural, environmental, and maritime issues.
(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...
(February 2010) The Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count is citizen science in action, an effort to collect information about bird populations across the Western Hemisphere to help guide conservation action by groups like San Francisco Baykeeper.  Every year, during the last days of December, hundreds of birders stake out Bay shorelines, wetlands, and hillsides to identify and...
(January 2010) When I received news of the Dubai Star oil spill in late October, I immediately turned to the Bay’s oil spill contingency plan, the document that governs how federal and state government agencies respond to an oil spill. The plan contains important information about the Bay’s sensitive sites, such as the seasonal locations of rare and endangered species, and specific...
(December 2009) At the beginning of the 2009 California Legislative Session, there were few reasons to be optimistic about the prospect of passing new laws to protect San Francisco Bay.  California’s budget shortfall had reached billions of dollars, and Governor Schwarzenegger had signaled his intent to veto most of the bills that reached his desk if Legislators didn’t reach a budget...

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