The past month has been busy for the Baykeeper boat patrol! Here are a few updates from our recent on-the-water investigations:
Estuary Trash: Baykeeper Executive Director Sejal Choksi-Chugh discovered a large raft of trash in the Oakland-Alameda Estuary a couple of weeks ago, just as two harbor seals were surfacing nearby. Sejal and our patrol volunteers pulled several large buckets of trash out of the Bay, making a healthier swimming area for the seals. Baykeeper is working with the city of Oakland and partner environmental groups to prevent trash from entering the estuary.
And when we're out on patrol, we keep buckets and long-handled nets handy to scoop trash out of the Bay and dispose of it properly. Everyone can pitch in—help keep Bay wildlife healthy by picking up trash you find while walking on the shoreline or boating on the Bay!
Disruptive Dredging: Baykeeper volunteer skipper Fabio Ciulla was out on boat patrol when he spotted a dredger behaving oddly in Richardson Bay. Dredgers are a common sight on the Bay, since they are used to dig navigation channels for large ships. But this dredger was digging mud and then dropping it back in the water while moving quickly, possibly to propel the vessel forward. Baykeeper received a separate report from a supporter who was kayaking nearby about the same unusual dredging action. Churning up Bay sediment in this way is disruptive to the Bay ecosystem (dredgers are supposed to remain stationary when digging the Bay floor). Baykeeper is now following up with local agencies to further investigate and stop this disruptive dredging.
Refinery Monitoring: Baykeeper is working to curb expansion proposals at Bay Area oil refineries that would put the Bay at risk. We also regularly monitor and track activities and discharges from the five refineries that ring the Bay. Staff Attorney Ben Eichenberg recently conducted an on-the-water investigation of Phillips 66 in Rodeo (pictured below) to inspect the site of a proposed marine terminal expansion. While on patrol, Ben also inspected the Valero refinery in Benicia, Tesoro and Shell in Martinez, the proposed Vallejo Marine Terminal project site, and the Mare Island Dry Dock.
Photo at top by Beth Cataldo; photo of refinery by Ben Eichenberg