Baykeeper's Monthly Column

Baykeeper publishes a monthly column on San Francisco Bay cultural, environmental, and maritime issues.
(April 2018) Update: As of April 5, the derelict boat has left Aquatic Park. For months, a rundown sailboat has been illegally anchored in San Francisco Bay’s most sheltered swimming cove, Aquatic Park, off San Francisco’s northern shoreline. Swimmers have called and emailed Baykeeper’s Pollution Hotline repeatedly to report pollution from the rogue sailboat. They reported having to detour around...
(March 2018) If you discover a sewage spill in Oakland—or have reported a spill in the past to Oakland city officials—please report it to Baykeeper. Sewage spilled into city streets generally ends up in San Francisco Bay. Spilled sewage is sometimes inappropriately washed down a nearby storm drain, or the sewage may be carried to the storm drain by rain. Most storm drains empty into the Bay, or...
(February 2018) Compared to some of our wild neighbors around the Bay Area, we’re all newbies to California.  Sturgeon have swum in our local waters for more than 2 million years. These giant fish can grow even larger than San Francisco Bay’s biggest mammal, the sea lion. But because sturgeon stay far underwater along the Bay’s dark floor, few people ever see one. Two sturgeon species live in...
(January 2018) Like a creature from a horror movie that keeps coming back from the dead, the threat of coal pollution is menacing San Francisco Bay again. And it could be coming to a neighborhood near you. This month, a trial is set to determine if a developer can overturn the City of Oakland’s recent ban on coal transport and storage in Oakland. Baykeeper is standing up in court beside Oakland...
(December 2017) As the shoreline whizzed by and the wind sprayed mist on our faces, I spotted an old building out of the corner of my eye that didn’t look quite right. We were patrolling San Francisco Bay for pollution in the Baykeeper boat, along San Francisco’s eastern shoreline, near Potrero Hill. Our volunteer skipper for that day, Geoff Potter, slowed and pulled closer. The deteriorating...
(November 2017) Ten years ago, on November 7, 2007, more than 53,000 gallons of heavy oil spilled into San Francisco Bay. The disaster happened when a 900-foot container ship, the Cosco Busan, side-swiped a Bay Bridge tower, gashing open two of the ship’s fuel tanks. The damage was compounded because the ship initially reported that only 400 gallons had spilled. But the tide soon washed an...
(October 2017) The oil company Phillips 66 wants to increase the number of tanker ships carrying crude oil across San Francisco Bay to its refinery—from 59 to 135 tankers per year. More than doubling the number of oil tankers would increase the risk of oil spills in the Bay. Oil spilled in the water can kill birds and other wildlife, make the Bay unsafe for recreation and contaminate local...
(September 2017) The Ghost Fleet of Suisun Bay—57 decaying military ships that poisoned the San Francisco Bay ecosystem for 40 years—is finally gone. The last ship was towed out of the Golden Gate in August, on its way to be dismantled and recycled. This is a major victory for a healthier Bay ecosystem. The Ghost Fleet was a collection of mothballed military ships from World War II and the Korean...
(August 2017) Governor Jerry Brown claims to be an environmental leader. He recently basked in the international spotlight, proclaiming California as a climate leader. So it’s extremely disappointing that the governor continues to push for a massive, expensive water project that will irreparably harm San Francisco Bay’s environment. The Brown Administration recently praised the federal government...
(July 2017) For more than three months, hundreds of dead leopard sharks have been washing up on San Francisco Bay’s shoreline. Shark experts investigating the mysterious deaths have made progress, but they haven’t yet determined the exact cause. If you see a shark stranded on the shoreline, don’t try to push it back in the water. Report its exact location to Baykeeper’s hotline at 1-800-KEEP-BAY...

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