Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for February 2016

San Francisco Baykeeper E-News
Monthly Update for February 2016
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Baykeeper takes action to protect the Bay from fireworks debris

After two fireworks shows over San Francisco Bay to celebrate the recent Super Bowl, Baykeeper received multiple reports to our Pollution Hotline about fireworks debris that contaminated San Francisco Bay and the Aquatic Park shoreline.

The debris included charred fuses, plastic, and small bits of cardboard, enough to fill four 50-gallon trash containers. Volunteers with Shark Stewards, National Park Service staff, and members of the Dolphin Swimming and Rowing Club have been cleaning up the trash, and report that more debris washed up as recently as February 13.

Baykeeper stepped in to investigate how this contamination was allowed to happen. We learned that the companies putting on the fireworks displays were not required to secure Clean Water Act permits, so they were not expected to monitor or contain debris to prevent pollution in the Bay.

Baykeeper immediately urged regional water regulators to put requirements in place to prevent future contamination. The Regional Water Board is considering Baykeeper's recommendation that producers of fireworks displays on the Bay be required to obtain a Clean Water Act permit detailing how they will keep debris from polluting the Bay. Baykeeper will monitor the Board's actions and keep working to ensure that San Francisco Bay is protected from fireworks contamination.

While fireworks celebrations are a fun tradition around San Francisco Bay, the responsible companies must ensure proper cleanup of plastics and other debris. They cannot leave it to nonprofits to clean up the mess or leave it in the Bay.

Learn more about the recent fireworks debris in the Bay and what we're doing about it.

Photo by David McGuire,

Announcing the 2016 Baykeeper Blue Rivet Award winners

Baykeeper is proud to announce the winners of our 2016 Blue Rivet Awards. The Blue Rivet Award is given to community members and businesses who believe in Baykeeper's vision of a thriving San Francisco Bay and who have improved the health, sustainability, and ecological awareness of the Bay. The award ceremony will take place at the annual Baykeeper Dinner later this month. The winners are:

Roger Castillo, a self-taught naturalist, for his dedication to cleaning up the Guadalupe River and restoring habitat so Chinook salmon can be observed spawning on gravel and more naturally functioning streambeds and riverbeds. The Guadalupe flows through San Jose and into San Francisco Bay. Known as the Watchdog of the River for his tireless volunteer stewardship, Roger chairs the nonprofit Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Group.

Paul Johnson for his work toward more sustainable fisheries as founder of Monterey Fish Market, based in San Francisco and Berkeley. The company believes strongly in making the ocean healthy for future generations. They buy and sell only fish caught in an environmentally-sustainable way, and help fleets of vessels convert from fishing methods that deplete fisheries to sustainable fishing methods. Paul also writes, lectures, and educates. He's the author of Fish Forever: The Definitive Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Preparing Healthy, Delicious, and Environmentally Sustainable Seafood.

Levi Strauss & Co. for pioneering sustainability initiatives that reduce water use and waterway contamination and promote consumer water conservation and clothing recycling. Levi Strauss & Co. has saved 1 billion liters of water in manufacturing since 2011. Its employees also regularly engage in the restoration and cleanup of the San Francisco Bay shoreline.

Learn more about the winners of Baykeeper's 2016 Blue Rivet Awards.

Baykeeper Dinner on February 28 is sold out—thank you!

Baykeeper is thrilled to announce that our annual dinner celebrating a healthy San Francisco Bay is sold out! We are so grateful for this tremendous demonstration of support for our work (and appreciation of a delicious crab dinner).

Thanks to all who purchased tickets for this fun event hosted by the Dolphin Club. We're glad you're planning to join us to enjoy a crab and wine feast. And we have an exciting silent auction ready for you, including a portable, foldable Oru kayak. Baykeeper will also honor our 2016 Blue Rivet Award winners for their dedication to a healthy San Francisco Bay.

If you weren't able to purchase tickets for the dinner, we hope you'll join us for the 3rd Annual Bay Parade and after party on Sunday, May 22.

Photo by

Save the date: Join the 3rd Annual Bay Parade on May 22

Calling all open-water swimmers, kayakers, stand-up paddle boarders, sailors—and everyone who's passionate about San Francisco Bay.

We cordially invite you to join Baykeeper's 3rd Annual Bay Parade on Sunday, May 22, 2016.

The Bay Parade is an opportunity to celebrate San Francisco Bay, have a fun day on the water, and support Baykeeper's work for a healthy Bay. The on-the-water finale in McCovey Cove will be shown on the Jumbotron at AT&T Park at the start of the Giants game.

More details available at Registration opens next month. Mark your calendars now and see you on May 22 for the Bay Parade!

Photo by Clay Schmitz

Victory! Santa Clara waste facility agrees to keep toxic runoff out of the Bay

In the 31st victory for Baykeeper's Bay-Safe Industry Campaign, Mission Trail Waste Systems, Inc., a garbage and recycling facility in Santa Clara, recently agreed to stop allowing contaminated rainwater to run off its site and into San Francisco Bay.

Baykeeper sued the company under the Clean Water Act because storm water running off the facility contained high levels of heavy metals and toxic chemicals. The company was cooperative with Baykeeper in working out solutions to the pollution problems.

Under Mission Trail's legally-binding agreement with Baykeeper, the company is required to install a device called a hydrodynamic separator, which removes pollutants from water that flows through it. If this isn't enough to control the pollution, they are required to install an advanced storm water treatment system.

Read more about Baykeeper's pollution cleanup agreement with Mission Trail Waste Systems.

Tough questions considered at Baykeeper's Water Forum

How is California faring during a major drought? What can we do locally to help turn around the acidification of the ocean? Can the many different interests in California come together to deal creatively with the state's water woes?

These were some of the questions considered at Baykeeper's January forum on The Future of Water in California.

Our speakers were Felicia Marcus (center), who chairs the State Water Resources Control Board, and Cat Kuhlman (right), who held two state government posts, Deputy Secretary for Ocean Policy at the California Resources Agency, and Executive Director of the Ocean Protection Council. KQED Science and Environment Reporter Lauren Sommer (left) moderated the event.

The speakers commented on topics that included Californians conserving water, the uneven pain from the drought, "ice cream brain" as a danger in work to reverse ocean acidification, and the multiple benefits of storm water capture.

Learn more about the discussion at Baykeeper's Future of Water Forum, with full audio included.

Photo by Jane Philomen Cleland

Baykeeper seeks Event Intern. Apply today!

It's not too late to apply to our part-time Event Internship position. The Event Intern will be extensively involved in putting on Baykeeper's 3rd annual Bay Parade, the Bay Area's premier on-the-water, multi-sport event celebrating a clean and healthy San Francisco Bay.

The ideal candidate for this position is passionate about environmental protection and looking to gain experience and develop skills in event production. Click here to view the full position description.

Volunteers needed in the Baykeeper office

Can you help out in the Baykeeper office? We're seeking volunteers for projects that include organizing event materials and preparing mailings. Volunteers are needed in our spacious Oakland office during business hours.

Your reward: loads of appreciation. If you'd like to help out, email Maya Wolf at

Photo at top by Roberto Soncin Gerometta

Fireworks Pollution Contaminates the Bay