Baykeeper's Monthly Column

Baykeeper publishes a monthly column on San Francisco Bay cultural, environmental, and maritime issues.
(July 2013) Looking for a Bay Area beach with water clean enough for swimming, surfing and playing in the sand? Download San Francisco Baykeeper’s free Swim Guide smartphone app at www.theswimguide.org. The app and the website allow you to see, at a glance, whether it’s safe to go in the water at more than 40 local Bay and ocean beaches. The Swim Guide is updated weekly, using information from...
(June 2013) Fracking—the process of injecting water, sand and toxic chemicals underground at high pressure to extract oil or gas—threatens San Francisco Bay. The technique, officially called hydraulic fracturing, is currently being used in hundreds of California gas and oil wells, with no regulation or protection for the environment or public health. Oil companies in California are...
(May 2013) As we patrolled the southern San Francisco shoreline in the Baykeeper boat, we glided toward a huge facility where paint was being sandblasted off a massive ship towering above us. Paint chips blew onto our deck. Looking down, we saw a swirling film of pinkish-gray dust floating on the Bay’s surface. Geoff Potter, our volunteer skipper that day, maneuvered closer. We rocked slightly on...
(April 2013) A 13-story basketball stadium on the San Francisco waterfront is not just a bad idea—it would be an illegal grab of property held in trust for you. That’s one of many reasons to oppose the Golden State Warriors’ proposal to build an 18,000-seat arena on Pier 30/32, on San Francisco Bay’s shoreline, just south of the Bay Bridge. The behemoth arena would block precious open-water...
(March 2013) When an oil tanker hit one of the Bay Bridge towers on a foggy morning in early January, it was a wake-up call for everyone who cares about San Francisco Bay. The collision between the tanker, the Overseas Reymar, and the bridge could have led to a real disaster. The tanker was carrying no oil as cargo. But it had just filled up with 245,000 gallons of bunker fuel used to run the...
(February 2013) Some of the highest tides of the year take place February 7-9, giving the Bay Area a preview of what’s coming as global climate change raises sea levels. These exceptionally high tides are called king tides. They occur every year when the gravitational pulls of the sun and moon reinforce one another. While not caused by climate change, king tides allow us to visualize now how more...
(January 2013) For most people, a rainy forecast means carrying an umbrella. But Baykeeper is San Francisco Bay’s pollution watchdog, and for us, rain is a call to action. This year, Baykeeper staff members and our new team of volunteer pollution investigators are braving winter storms to find the Bay’s industrial polluters. During the rainy season, pollution in San Francisco Bay is at its...
(December 2012) The rainy season brings a surge of pollution to San Francisco Bay. Test your knowledge about how you can help protect the Bay from one serious wintertime pollution problem—sewage spills. 1. Sewage is more likely to get spilled into San Francisco Bay during: A. The holidays B. Windy weather C. Low tides 2. Washing which of the following down the drain can cause pollution in the Bay...
(November 2012) Five years ago, on the morning of November 7, the 900-foot container ship Cosco Busan left Oakland in heavy fog with low visibility. It side-swiped a Bay Bridge tower, ripping open two fuel tanks and pouring more than 53,000 gallons of heavy bunker fuel into San Francisco Bay. Initially, the ship reported 400 gallons of oil had spilled. But a long plume of thick, floating bunker...
(October 2012) Every drop of rain in the Bay Area eventually flows to San Francisco Bay. Throughout history, that hasn’t been a problem. Most rain soaked into the ground and made its way gradually into creeks that emptied into the Bay. But with so many roads, driveways, sidewalks and roofs in our urban area, rain rushes across hard surfaces, picking up trash, oil, pesticides and other pollutants...

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