Protecting the Delta from Pollution

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is in ecological turmoil. Agricultural pesticide runoff, nutrient pollution, toxic discharges from industrial sites, dredging, habitat loss, massive water diversions, and poor management have led to severely degraded water quality. Yet more than 22 million Californians depend on the Delta for drinking water, and it supplies irrigation to 6.3 million acres of farmland in the Central Valley. The health of the Delta is crucial for our state’s economy, public health and quality of life.

San Francisco Baykeeper works to defend the Delta from pollution through our Deltakeeper projects, Baykeeper's work in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Reducing Agriculture Pollution

More than 200 million pounds of pesticides are applied to California farms every year. In the Central Valley, these chemicals are washed into the waterways of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and can impact rivers and streams of the Delta and Bay. Agricultural runoff has gone unregulated for more than 20 years, but Baykeeper is fighting to change that. Read more about Baykeeper's work to reduce agricultural pollution in the Delta.

Cleaning Up Central Valley Dairies

Three million cows in the Central Valley create as much polluted waste as a 20 million-person city. Runoff from these dairies contains raw manure and harmful chemicals, including bovine growth hormones and antibiotics, which severely pollute groundwater, creeks and canals throughout the Central Valley.

On February 15, 2008, Baykeeper challenged the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board’s flawed regulation of dairy operations in the Central Valley. The Regional Board recently issued permits that do not adequately protect the Valley’s waterways from pollution caused by large dairy operations and do not comply with the federal Clean Water Act. Three million cows in the Central Valley create as much polluted waste as a 20 million-person city. Runoff from these dairies contains raw manure and harmful chemicals, including bovine growth hormones and antibiotics, which severely pollute groundwater, creeks and canals throughout the Central Valley.

Baykeeper is advocating for an effective, enforceable program for reducing pollution from Central Valley mega-dairies.

Controlling Development in the Delta

As it was originally proposed, the Port of Stockton’s expansion project would have been an environmental disaster for the already critically impaired Delta. In August 2007, San Francisco Baykeeper successfully concluded more than three years of work to secure a settlement agreement from the Port of Stockton that it will reduce the environmental impact caused by an expansion of the Port. Read more about Baykeeper's successful effort to control irresponsible development in the Delta.

Fighting to Protect the Delta Smelt and California's Salmon

Baykeeper is part of key coalitions working to protect endangered fish from excessive water diversions in the Delta. Read more about our work to save the Delta smelt and California's salmon.