Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for March 19, 2009

Sewage Spills Continue to Pollute the Bay

Every rainy season brings an onslaught of sewage spills to San Francisco Bay, and this winter has been no different. Already this year, several million gallons of raw and partially treated sewage have contaminated the Bay, including: noswimming

  • 900,000 gallons of sewage overflowed from a treatment plant in Richmond on February 22, closing beaches along the East Bay shoreline.
  • A broken sewer pipe in Marin released 500,000 gallons of partially treated sewage into the Bay for several days beginning February 17.
  • The East Bay Municipal Utility District Point Isabel Plant had three major emergency overflows this winter.

We're often asked how local residents can help prevent sewage spills to the Bay. Here's what you can do:

Baykeeper Faults Study Claiming Ghost Fleet Doesn't Harm the Bay

ghost fleetA federal agency has released a study downplaying the harm caused by decaying ships in San Francisco Bay. Since 2007, Baykeeper has been fighting to rid the Bay of the Ghost Fleet, a group of decaying vessels anchored in Suisun Bay that leaches dangerous chemicals into Bay waters and sediment. The study asserts that toxicity levels near the Ghost Fleet are within low to medium levels and that zinc and lead levels are safe for Bay shellfish. The study’s flawed design, however, doesn’t measure the full impact of the Ghost Fleet’s toxic pollution. Baykeeper Sejal Choksi set the record straight in recent news coverage – check out one of her interviews.

Baykeeper is working with a coalition of environmental groups to ensure that the Ghost Fleet is removed from the Bay in an environmentally safe way. Read more about Baykeeper's case to clean up the Ghost Fleet.

California Salmon Continue to Decline in the Face of Water Diversions

chinookFisheries managers are once again threatening to close the fishing season for California's Chinook salmon due to record low numbers returning to spawn in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In 2008, the salmon fishing season was closed for the first time in 150 years as managers were forced to take drastic steps to try to save California's Chinook salmon.

A federal study released today identifies water diversions in the Delta as a primary cause of the decline in California’s salmon population. Delta waterways provide critical habitat for spawning Chinook salmon but have been diverted in large quantities to sustain crops in the Central Valley and cities in Southern California.

Baykeeper is part of a coalition fighting to protect fish from water diversions in the Delta. Read more about Baykeeper's work to save California's salmon.

Baykeeper Crossword Challenge for March

The San Francisco Bay defines much of our lives here in the Bay Area ... but how much do you really know about the Bay? For our March monthly column, Baykeeper reveals our fiendishly difficult crossword challenge. Explore the mysteries of the Bay and test your knowledge with the Baykeeper Crossword Challenge. The first five people to send us a completed crossword by March 31 will receive a Baykeeper t-shirt.

Click here to download the Baykeeper Crossword Challenge and enter to win a t-shirt!

Support a Healthy San Francisco Baysailboat

You can help secure the best possible protections for San Francisco Bay with a gift to San Francisco Baykeeper. We are your most effective advocate for protecting the Bay from pollution, and with your support, we're working toward a healthy and thriving Bay for the fish, birds, seals, sea lions and human communities of the Bay Area. Please make a gift today to help protect the Bay from pollution.