Baykeeper's Monthly Column

Baykeeper publishes a monthly column on San Francisco Bay cultural, environmental, and maritime issues.
(February 2010) The Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count is citizen science in action, an effort to collect information about bird populations across the Western Hemisphere to help guide conservation action by groups like San Francisco Baykeeper.  Every year, during the last days of December, hundreds of birders stake out Bay shorelines, wetlands, and hillsides to identify and...
(January 2010) When I received news of the Dubai Star oil spill in late October, I immediately turned to the Bay’s oil spill contingency plan, the document that governs how federal and state government agencies respond to an oil spill. The plan contains important information about the Bay’s sensitive sites, such as the seasonal locations of rare and endangered species, and specific...
(December 2009) At the beginning of the 2009 California Legislative Session, there were few reasons to be optimistic about the prospect of passing new laws to protect San Francisco Bay.  California’s budget shortfall had reached billions of dollars, and Governor Schwarzenegger had signaled his intent to veto most of the bills that reached his desk if Legislators didn’t reach a budget...
(November 2009) On a sunny Saturday morning in September, thousands of Bay Area residents marked the 25th Anniversary of Coastal Cleanup Day by picking up trash from Bay shorelines, beaches and parks. While these dedicated volunteers spent the morning protecting our local waters with trash bags and gloves, a small group of world-class athletes took action to defend our watershed in a...
(October 2009) San Francisco Bay is part of the largest estuary on the West Coast, a merging of freshwater flows from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the salty waters of the Pacific Ocean. The Bay’s mix of fresh and salt water creates a unique habitat for a broad array of fish, clams, oysters, and marine mammals. The wildlife have become an important part of our local identity—from...
(September 2009) San Francisco Baykeeper was founded on the principle that the San Francisco Bay and its connected rivers, creeks, and wetlands belong to the communities that depend on them—and must be protected accordingly. Fortunately, we have the Clean Water Act to help us do just that. When Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, our nation’s lakes, rivers, and estuaries were...
(August 2009) In the last 200 years, San Francisco Bay has undergone profound changes, and the health of the Bay has varied dramatically. Before the wave of gold rush settlers, for example, the Bay was a vibrant ecosystem teeming with marine life, to the extent that oysters, shrimp and several species of fish were commercially harvested. By the 1970s, however, the Bay had become a...
(July 2009) A few months ago, I wrote about a technology in use at three Bay Area power plants called once-through cooling, a process that kills fish and marine life as it pulls in Bay water to cool heated machinery inside the plant.  In response, we received this inquiry:  “My husband and I are supporters of Baykeeper. We enjoyed your informative article on Local Power Plants in the...
(June 2009) San Francisco Bay is at the center of the Bay Area and the extensive network of housing, transit, retail and industry that sustains the more than seven million people that live here. The Bay is a big part of what makes the Bay Area so special, but its close proximity to a major urban area also means that the Bay is constantly bombarded with pollution from Bay Area cities and...
(May 2009) San Francisco Bay is known throughout the world for its majestic natural beauty, and San Francisco Baykeeper works every day to protect the health of the birds, fish and other aquatic animals that make the Bay so special. But the Bay isn’t just lovely to behold – it is also an active end point along an international shipping route that contributes to a significant portion of...

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