On April 5, the Richmond City Council voted against further consideration of a casino development slated for the wild shoreline of Point Molate, wisely choosing to protect this important open space on the Bay's shoreline. Last November, the citizens of the City of Richmond voted 58% against the development. Baykeeper testified at the hearing to urge the Council to vote no.
Baykeeper recently filed a Clean Water Act citizen lawsuit in U.S. Federal District Court against Hanson Aggregates for illegal discharges of storm water and wastewater from three of its Bay Area facilities.
This legal action follows a year-long investigation in which we found these Hanson facilities to have illegally discharged toxic pollutants such as metals and hydrocarbons directly to the Bay. Baykeeper conducted site inspections and collected storm water samples for analysis, as well as reviewing five years' worth of Hanson's own self-reported documents.
Most East Bay residents take their local sanitary systems for granted and don't think twice about where the waste goes once it disappears down drains and toilets. But a group of state and federal water protection agencies contend that East Bay cities are polluting San Francisco Bay with untreated and partially treated sewage and have obtained a court agreement ordering the cities to make major repairs to their broken and aging sewer systems.
Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 872, a bill that seeks to overturn key protections against harmful pesticide spraying in waterways. Thank you to all the Baykeeper members who contacted your Representatives to urge them to oppose the bill: all Bay Area Representatives voted no on HR 872, excepting Jerry McNerney (D-District 11). Only three more votes against the bill would have stopped its passage.
Baykeeper is advocating for improvements to the State Water Board's revisions to their Sediment Quality Objectives, guidelines which are intended to result in the identification and cleanup of toxic hot spots throughout California's bays and estuaries – the largest of which is San Francisco Bay. Bay sediments are contaminated with toxics such as PCBs, mercury and dioxin, which bioaccumulate throughout the Bay's food chain.
Baykeeper recently started, in collaboration with the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI), the first-ever pilot program aimed at quantifying the amount of plastic floating in the Bay. As part of this endeavor, I went out on the Baykeeper boat with SFEI staff to trawl near the shorelines of San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties to collect micro-plastics floating in the water.
Shivery winter weather has been the daily forecast this season, with snowstorms in the East and even the occasional blustery winds and rains around the Bay Area. For many people, cold weather brings to mind warm comforts of hot cocoa, slow-cooked soups, fleece blankets and wishful thoughts of island getaways. But Bay Area residents may not have to book a flight to the tropics to enjoy an island experience. There are more than 15 islands right here in San Francisco Bay, and some of these picturesque habitats are worth visiting:
The America’s Cup races are two years away, but San Francisco is already bracing for the massive crowds and construction that will accompany the international sailing competition.
In Marin this rainy season, about three million gallons of raw sewage has spilled into the bay according to the watchdog group SF Baykeeper. Sewage spills, large and small, are common in Marin and storm water runoff is a persistent problem, carrying – unfiltered -- everything from heavy metals to pesticide, animal waste, disease-causing bacteria and garbage into our creek system and on into the bay and ocean.