Baykeeper's Monthly Column

Baykeeper publishes a monthly column on San Francisco Bay cultural, environmental, and maritime issues.
(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...
(April 2009) In the wake of increasingly alarming climate change data and a growing movement to reduce our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, energy issues have risen to the top of the national environmental agenda. The Obama administration has pledged to craft a sustainable national energy policy that promotes renewable sources of energy and minimizes the harmful environmental...
(March 2009) The San Francisco Bay defines much of the lifestyle of the Bay Area. The Bay is an avenue for worldwide commerce and local transportation, an arena for outdoor sports and recreation and a breathtaking local attraction that draws residents and visitors alike. In our daily routines, it is easy to overlook the amazing complexity and diversity of life that thrives below the...
(February 2009) San Francisco Baykeeper has worked for almost two decades to protect the San Francisco Bay from pollution. Over the years, we’ve achieved a number of victories that have helped improve water quality not only locally but at the state and national level as well – in fact, last month we secured an important court ruling that requires the federal regulation of pesticide...
(January 2009) While the rainy season in the Bay Area can mean an end to nice weather and much-loved outdoor activities, it’s an important and productive time for our environment – rain prompts new plant growth after many dry months and replenishes water reserves for drinking and irrigation. In urban areas like ours, however, rain also becomes polluted runoff as it hits our streets and...

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