New Legal Ruling in the Long Battle to Protect the Bay’s Sand

In 2012, California approved a dramatic doubling of sand mining in San Francisco Bay, which allowed private companies to remove and sell an unprecedented 2 million cubic yards of Bay sand every year.

Sand is being removed from the Bay faster than it can be naturally replenished. That leaves less sand in the Bay to shore up wetlands and shoreline areas, including places with severe erosion like San Francisco’s Ocean Beach.

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The Bay Area’s Most Toxic Sites are Vulnerable to Sea Level Rise

Numerous industrial facilities—including oil refineries, shipyards, and manufacturing plants—surround San Francisco Bay, as well as over 1,000 inactive sites contaminated with hazardous waste.

Many of these sites already release pollution into the Bay. Sea level rise will amplify the contamination risk from these toxic sites. As Bay waters rise in the coming decades, flooding will inundate toxic sites along the shore and allow pollutants to leach into the Bay and along shorelines.

No Water, No Fish: The Fight for Fresh Water Flows

Healthy levels of fresh water are vital for San Francisco Bay and the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta. Without sufficient flows through these waterways, toxic algae spread, fish die, and pollutants accumulate. Lack of healthy flows are already resulting in record low numbers of native fish like salmon. Species that depend on fish for food, like orcas, are also struggling.    

Celebrate this Thanksgiving without Polluting the Bay

When you think of the holidays, Bay contamination probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But every year, celebratory meals worsen sewage pollution in San Francisco Bay.

Holiday cooking tends to generate a lot of fatty waste, like meat drippings, grease, and buttery gravies. When dumped down the sink or garbage disposal, fats harden in the wastewater pipes running between Bay Area homes and sewage facilities.  

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A Victory for Protecting People Who Eat Fish from the Bay

People who eat fish caught in San Francisco Bay are exposed to toxic substances because polluters regularly contaminate the Bay with dangerous substances like mercury, dioxins, and PCBs. 

The Bay Area is home to native tribes whose members follow traditional fishing practices and people who regularly fish in the Bay to feed themselves and their families. Despite the risks to these communities, regulatory agencies have never set standards for toxic substances in the Bay with the goal of protecting people who eat the most Bay fish.

The Bay’s Sand Should be Protected – Not Sold for a Profit

Ocean Beach

A multinational corporation is mining the Bay’s sand to sell it for profit, and it’s harming Ocean Beach and other Bay Area beaches and wetlands.

California is currently allowing Lehigh Hanson, Inc., to harvest 1.5 million cubic yards of Bay sand per year, far outpacing the amount that naturally replenishes the Bay floor. Sand mining reduces the supply of this important resource for areas like Ocean Beach, which is rapidly eroding. 

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