Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for August 2015

Welcome to San Francisco Baykeeper's August E-News.
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San Francisco Baykeeper E-News
Monthly Update for August 2015
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San Francisco Bay

Great Job Conserving Water, Bay Area

Most Bay Area communities are using even less water than required under the new California drought rules. Keep up the good work, Bay Area!

See how much progress your community has made. We've updated our interactive water use chart, showing how much water residents are using in Bay Area communities and water districts, and how much each city or district has cut water use since 2013.

And if you see water being wasted, use Baykeeper's friendly water conservation note to encourage neighbors to stop wasting water. Just download a copy, fill it out, and attach it to your neighbor's mailbox, door, or car windshield.

Local rivers and creeks that normally run all year are drying up. With the state's forests tinder-dry, the wildfire season is more severe. It's crucial for California residents and businesses to make the most of scarce water resources. Thanks for helping the Bay Area do our part!

Photo by Jennanana (Flickr/CC).

Only Two Ghost Fleet Ships Left

Only two ships are left from the Ghost Fleet of Suisun Bay—the decaying military ships that poisoned the San Francisco Bay ecosystem for 40 years. Before Baykeeper required them to be cleaned up, there were 57 Ghost Fleet ships. Three of the remaining ships were recently removed.

The Ghost Fleet released more than 20 tons of toxic metals into Suisun Bay, an inlet of San Francisco Bay. In 2010, Baykeeper, along with our partners Arc Ecology and NRDC, successfully reached a settlement agreement requiring the federal government to clean up and remove the rusting ships.

The cleanup is ahead of schedule and ongoing pollution has already been greatly reduced. Experts estimate that this cleanup will have kept an additional 50 tons of toxic metals from being washed and blown into the Bay.

Read more about the Ghost Fleet and Baykeeper's success at getting this pollution source cleaned up.

Railroads Can't Shirk Responsibility for California Oil Spills from Trains

A federal judge recently dismissed a railroad industry lawsuit against new requirements that railroads be prepared to clean up oil spills from train accidents in California. The railroads were seeking to stop a California law passed last year, known as the Statewide Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program.

The law, sponsored by Baykeeper last year, expands oil spill cleanup and response protections from coastal waterways to all state waterways—including requiring railroads carrying oil trains to be prepared to take responsibility for cleanup of oil spills.

Baykeeper helped orchestrate the passage of the law, and we also partnered with Earthjustice to urge the judge to rule against the railroad industry. Railroad tracks run along water in many areas of the San Francisco Bay watershed, including the tracks shown here along Carquinez Strait near Martinez. Baykeeper fought hard for these new oil spill protections, and we're very pleased that the judge dismissed the railroad's recent attempt to stop them.

Learn more about Baykeeper's defense of new protections for California waters from oil spills.

Photo by Robb Most.

Court Date Set for Baykeeper to Defend the Bay from Excessive Sand Mining

On Tuesday, August 25, Baykeeper will present arguments in the California Court of Appeal in our case to stop excessive sand mining in San Francisco Bay.

For decades, private companies have been permitted to mine too much sand from the Bay, contributing to erosion at Ocean Beach and threatening important Bay species like Dungeness crab. Yet in 2012, the California agency that oversees sand mining—the State Lands Commission—approved a large increase in Bay sand mining.

Baykeeper sued to overturn this change in policy, and now we're pursuing an appeal. On August 25 we'll urge the court to require more sustainable sand mining limits that protect Ocean Beach and the Bay.

Learn more about Baykeeper's court case and advocacy with regulators to stop excessive sand mining in the Bay.

Photo by ejbSF(Flickr/CC).

Help Keep Plastics Pollution out of the Bay

Microbeads are tiny particles of plastic used in facial scrubs, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, eyeliner, lip gloss, deodorant, and sunblock.

GiftWhen products containing microbeads are washed down a sink or shower drain, the tiny plastic particles aren't removed by treatment at a wastewater plant—so they enter the Bay. Microbeads are being found in the tissues of birds and marine mammals. In a recent study, Baykeeper and our partner, the San Francisco Estuary Institute, found microbeads in the Bay, putting open-water swimmers at risk for swallowing them.

Baykeeper is advocating for state legislation to ban microbeads from consumer products in California. The bill, AB 888, has passed the state Assembly and is now being considered by the state Senate.

While these products are still on sale, here's how to avoid microbeads: Don't buy or use facial scrubs, shampoos, soaps—or any personal care products—with an ingredient list that includes Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), or nylon.

Learn more about how you can help keep plastics and other consumer product pollution out of the Bay.

Photo by ejbSF (Flickr/CC).

JINS Eyewear's Summer-Long Fundraiser for Baykeeper

GiftJINS Eyewear's custom-made eyeglass cases featuring San Francisco Baykeeper have been a big hit with customers. And there's still time to get one, because the fundraiser lasts all summer. 100% of proceeds from your purchase of the case supports Baykeeper's work for a healthy Bay.

The JINS store at 151 Powell St., San Francisco is the company's first store in the US. Customers can browse, purchase, and receive prescription eyewear with custom fitting all in the same visit.

Then select a custom-made San Francisco Baykeeper eyeglass cases for $5, and show off your Baykeeper pride with your fashionable new eyewear.

Learn more about JINS' Cases for Causes donations to Baykeeper.

(Photo at top by Roberto Soncin Gerometta)