Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for March 2013

San Francisco Baykeeper E-News
Monthly Update for March 2013
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San Francisco Bay

Save the Date for Baykeeper's Spring Party on May 16

Support Baykeeper's work to protect San Francisco Bay at our 2013 Spring Party! Plan to join us for our annual celebration on Thursday evening, May 16, 6-8 pm. It's a great way to meet Baykeeper Board and staff members, and fellow Baykeeper supporters.

Enjoy drinks, hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction, and stunning Bay views at Waterbar Restaurant on the San Francisco Embarcadero. Tickets will go on sale soon, so save the date!

South San Francisco Cleans Up Sewage Spills to the Bay

Sewage pollution from South San Francisco will no longer threaten San Francisco Bay, marking a new milestone in Baykeeper's successful Sick of Sewage campaign.

South San Francisco's formerly crumbling sewer collection system allowed rain to seep into sewage pipes, causing ruptures and backups. Every rainy season, untreated sewage was spilling into storm drains and creeks that empty into the Bay.

In 2011, Baykeeper won a legal agreement requiring the city to fix its sewage pollution problem within five years. Now, South San Francisco has finished three years ahead of schedule. We are extremely pleased with the city's efforts and the resulting decrease in pollution to the Bay. (Photo by Out.of.Focus.)

Read more about South San Francisco's pollution cleanup and Baykeeper's Sick of Sewage campaign.

Baykeeper Wins Better Protection for the Bay from Oil Spills

Baykeeper's advocacy helped win new rules to reduce the risk of oil spills in San Francisco Bay by keeping large outbound ships from passing under the Bay Bridge in heavy fog.

Baykeeper is a member of the San Francisco Harbor Safety Committee, which passed the rules on February 14, and the Coast Guard announced that they were in effect immediately. Outbound oil tankers, cargo ships, and other large vessels are now prohibited from sailing under the Bay Bridge when visibility is less than a half mile.

Baykeeper advocated for the new rules after an oil tanker hit the Bay Bridge on the foggy morning of January 7. Although no oil spilled, it was a close call, and showed the need for controls to prevent the kind of hazardous situation that could lead to another oil spill disaster on the Bay.

Read more about Baykeeper's successful advocacy for better protection for the Bay from oil spills.

Take Action Today to Protect Little Fish

Take action today to protect forage fish! Little fish like herring, smelt, and anchovies are being overfished, which threatens whales, tuna, pelicans, and other sea creatures that depend on them for survival.

Watch this short video from our friends at Pew Environment Group about why it's important to protect little forage fish.

And please add your voice to tell the Pacific Marine Fishery Council to enact firm measures to protect the ocean food web, starting with little fish.

Sign the Pew Environment Group's Action Alert by April 5 to help protect forage fish from overfishing.

Boat Patrol Report – Western Grebes on the Bay

On a recent boat patrol, we noticed large numbers of Western Grebes on the Bay. These beautiful black and white water birds with bright red eyes love to feast on herring, which have also been seen in the Bay recently in large numbers.

Some Western Grebes are year-round Bay residents, living in shallow shoreline areas. Many also spend winter here, then migrate to mate and raise their chicks at inland lakes, from the Sierras all the way to Manitoba, Canada. They fly in flocks at night, leaving in May and returning to the Bay between September and November.

Western Grebes are one of the species most impacted by oil spills, because their feet are almost useless for walking on land, so they can't escape onto land from oily water. Thousands of Western Grebes died after being oiled in the Cosco Busan oil spill in the Bay in 2007. It's good to see them back on the Bay! (Photo by Len Blumin.)