Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for August 2014

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San Francisco Baykeeper E-News
Monthly Update for August 2014
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San Francisco Bay

East Bay Agencies Commit to Major Upgrades to Reduce Sewage Pollution in the Bay

Sewer agencies serving nine East Bay cities have agreed to major upgrades to keep hundreds of millions of gallons of raw and undertreated sewage from polluting San Francisco Bay.

The improvements will ultimately end the current practice of releasing massive amounts of undertreated sewage from the cities into the Bay during rainy weather, including releases from Point Isabel, near the park shown in this photo.

The cities covered by the agreement include Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont, and the Stege Sanitary District—serving El Cerrito, Kensington, and part of Richmond.

"This agreement requires upgrades of a huge scope, and will lead to an enormous improvement in the long-term health of the Bay, as well as the safety of those who spend time in and on the Bay," said Deb Self, Baykeeper Executive Director.

The agreement is a result of joint legal action by San Francisco Baykeeper, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the California Water Board, and Our Children's Earth Foundation.

Learn more about East Bay agencies' required upgrades to reduce sewage pollution in the Bay.

San Jose Metal Recycler Agrees to Protect the Bay from Toxic Runoff

In the 20th victory for Baykeeper's Bay-Safe Industry Campaign, Sims Metal Management in San Jose recently agreed to keep contaminated runoff from flowing into nearby storm drains that empty into the Guadalupe River, and then into San Francisco Bay.

Sims recycles metals, including iron and steel. The company worked cooperatively with Baykeeper to take quick action toward protecting the Bay from pollutants that include oil, grease, aluminum, iron, zinc, copper, and lead.

Our Bay-Safe Industry Campaign targets the widespread problem of illegal rainy-season runoff that flows into San Francisco Bay from Bay Area industrial facilities. We have now secured legally-binding agreements requiring cleanup by 20 industrial facilities that had been allowing significant amounts of toxic substances to run off into the Bay.

Learn more about Baykeeper's legal agreement to reduce pollution from Sims Metal Management.

Delta Water Tunnels Would Harm the Bay

Baykeeper recently took a stand against the controversial $25-billion plan to build 35-mile tunnels that will carry a significant amount of freshwater from the northern end of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to pumps on the southern end.

The tunnel project will take more freshwater from the northern Delta, making the Delta water saltier and warmer. This will mean that many species of fish will vanish from San Francisco Bay and the Delta.

Diverting more freshwater from the Delta will also harm ongoing efforts to restore wetlands in the Bay and increase levels of the toxic pollutant selenium in Bay waters.

Instead of taking more freshwater out of the Delta, California needs to increase the amount of freshwater that flows into the Delta and the Bay, in order to restore and protect the Bay and Delta wildlife and ecosystem.

Learn more about Baykeeper's opposition to tunnels that will divert freshwater from the Delta.

25th Anniversary Flash from the Past: Preventing 30-Million-Gallon Sewage Overflows into the Bay

In 2000, Baykeeper and a coalition of neighborhood and environmental groups won crucial changes in the redevelopment of San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood that still protect San Francisco Bay from pollution today.

In a major win for the Bay and the Mission Bay neighborhood, the changes prevented annual overflows of 30 million gallons of sewage into the Bay and led to the restoration of wetlands along Islais Creek.

This year Baykeeper celebrates 25 years of successful action to protect San Francisco Bay from pollution. In honor of our 25th anniversary, we are highlighting key victories for the Bay over the course of our history, including this campaign to achieve significant protection for the Bay when a city neighborhood was redeveloped.

Learn more about Baykeeper's victory in Mission Bay to prevent sewage pollution of the Bay.

Save the Date: Coastal Cleanup Day, Saturday, September 20

Plan to join us for the 30th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day! Baykeeper will host our seventh annual shoreline cleanup at India Basin Shoreline Park, San Francisco, 9am-noon, Saturday, September 20.

Every year, Coastal Cleanup Day mobilizes thousands of residents across California to pick up trash that litters beaches, creeks, parks, and shorelines. It's important to remove trash before winter rains arrive. Even during drought conditions, when rain does fall, it can wash a big load of litter to the Bay.

Join Baykeeper on Saturday, September 20 to help us clean up trash from India Basin Shoreline Park on the San Francisco Bay shore. Coastal Cleanup Day is a family-friendly event and great for activists of all ages!

Registration will open soon. We hope to see you there!

Great Blue Herons Plentiful Around the Bay

Slender, blue-gray birds up to five feet tall, great blue herons (Ardea herodias) live all around San Francisco Bay. With half its height in its long legs, this majestic bird wades in the bay's shallow tidal waters, often standing silent and unmoving. Then, with a sudden thrust of its sharp beak, a great blue heron stabs a fish and swallows it whole.

About 600 great blue heron pairs nest around the Bay, living here year-round. Chicks hatched in April. By now, they have grown and are hunting their own food in the Bay's wetlands.

Great blue herons are among the Bay's top predators. To thrive, they need to eat fish free of toxic substances. Baykeeper is working to stop pollution in the Bay so that the Bay's fish will be safe for both herons and people to eat.

Learn more about San Francisco Bay's great blue herons.

(Photo at top by Roberto Soncin Gerometta)