Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for December 16, 2009

Three New Lawsuits to Stop Sewage Pollution

Baykeeper has continued our decade-long effort to clean up sewage spills in San Francisco Bay by filing new lawsuits this month against the Cities of Millbrae and San Carlos and the West Bay Sanitary District – all areas with dilapidated sewage collection systems that have spilled thousands of gallons of sewage over the past five years.

Kayaks_Bair_IslandSewage spills from Millbrae, San Carlos and West Bay threaten the health of the Bay, including the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge and popular recreation areas like Corkscrew Slough and Bair Island.

Read more about Baykeeper's latest lawsuits to clean up sewage spills in the Bay.




Two Birders Needed for 12/26 Bird Count

Can you help Baykeeper with a Christmas Bird Count on December 26th? The annual Audubon Society's count provides data to assess the stability of bird populations and to guide conservation actions. We need at least two experienced birders familiar with pelagic birdsspecies to join us on the Baykeeper boat for the day.

Also, if you have a boat and would like to join the effort, you can help us monitor Richardson Bay and near China Camp. Audubon will host a dinner in Mill Valley for participants. If you would like to sign up, please contact Rosalind Becker, Baykeeper Program Fellow, at



On Patrol: Monitoring Ghost Fleet Cleanings

The Baykeeper boat was out on the water over the last several weeks to monitor two ships from the Ghost Fleet of Suisun Bay as they were towed and cleaned at Pier 70, to ensure that toxic paint wasn't being allowed to flake into the Bay.


While the vessel hulls appeared smooth after cleaning, we're concerned that the upper deck structures still seemed to have large flakes of paint on them – paint that is unlikely to withstand the wind and waves of the open ocean as these boats are towed to Texas for dismantling. We're working with our Waterkeeper Allies along the California and Gulf Coast to document any pollution released by the ships on their long journey.

In the meantime, Baykeeper is continuing to fight for a local cleanup option to safely dismantle the ships under California regulations and with a local labor force. Read more about our work to clean up the toxic Ghost Fleet of Suisun Bay.

Exploring Legislation to Improve Oil Spill Policy

In the wake of the Dubai Star oil spill of October 30, Baykeeper is exploring new legislative options to address two key gaps in oil spill policy:

  • the need to set up boom around every fueling operation on the Bay; and
  • the need to improve the quality of boom that's available to prevent the spread of oil when a spill does happen.

Dubai_Star_spillIn fact, a bill was introduced in the last legislative session to fund better oil spill cleanup technology, but it was vetoed by the Governor. We're working with our partners in the California Legislature to address these oversights, and we'll keep you informed of our progress.

Read more about the legislation created to improve oil spill policy after the Cosco Busan oil spill.



2009 Annual Report Now Available

2009AnnualReportWe're pleased to announce the release of Baykeeper's 2009 Annual Report of our work to protect San Francisco Bay. Highlights include our successful initiatives to:

  • reduce sewage spills from Hillsborough and Burlingame Hills in San Mateo County;
  • help limit storm water pollution by encouraging the use of low impact development techniques;
  • passing legislation to clean up abandoned boats in waterways across the state; and
  • securing an important federal victory to control the use of dangerous aquatic pesticides sprayed into waterways.

Thank you to all the committed supporters who made this work possible – we couldn't have done it without you! Click here to view Baykeeper's 2009 Annual Report.

Give the Gift of Protecting the Bay

sealionDo you have a friend or neighbor who is passionate about the Bay? A niece or nephew who loves to visit the sea lions? A kayaking grandma?

This year, give your friends and family the giftof protecting the Bay with a contribution to San Francisco Baykeeper in their honor. We'll send a card or email about your honoree's new gift membership to Baykeeper, and they'll receive our regular print newsletter to keep them updated on our year-round work to protect the Bay.

It's the perfect way to help your friends and family celebrate the Bay. Give the gift of protecting the Bay.


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Three New Suits to Stop Sewage Spills; Birders Needed for 12/26 Count