Statement: Baykeeper Departs Waterkeeper Alliance, Continues To Champion SF Bay and Its Watershed

Oct 28, 2022

SF Baykeeper is a longstanding protector of San Francisco Bay. Our approach of hardhitting advocacy and cutting-edge litigation has always required us to work within the entirety of the Bay's watershed, because a healthy Bay depends on the health of the tributary waters that flow into it. 


Over the past few years, Waterkeeper Alliance has questioned Baykeeper’s jurisdiction and proposed scaling us back to work only in the nine Bay Area counties. Their proposal amounts to an 89% reduction of the watershed where work. This restricted range is incompatible with our mission, and it ignores the hydrology of water flows, pollution transport, and fish migration. It also dismisses the significant contributions Baykeeper has made—and will continue to make—throughout our watershed for nearly 35 years. 


Despite numerous attempts to try to reach a resolution of this jurisdictional issue, Waterkeeper Alliance has yet to make a final decision, or to provide a clear process and timeline by which a decision would be made. And the delays have led to confusion and distraction from our crtical work, as California moves forward with water policy decisions that will harm freshwater flows and fish species throughout the Bay and its tributaries.


We cannot continue to have uncertainty around our jurisdiction, a lack of transparency around the resolution process, a lack of support for our longstanding efforts to protect the watershed, or these significant distractions that take us away from our work. Our mission is too important.


That is why SF Baykeeper's board of directors and staff leadership have decided unanimously to withdraw from the Waterkeeper Alliance, effective immediately.


Waterkeepers worldwide have won many victories for clean water, and Baykeeper will continue to work alongside the leaders in the movement. Baykeeper has a long history of working with waterkeeper organizations across the globe and with local partners in the watershed, and we will always be a strong ally to advance our mission of protecting San Francisco Bay and its watershed from the biggest threats. 


The San Franicisco Bay ecosystem needs a watershed-wide champion, and SF Baykeeper will continue to fill that role.

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