The oil tanker that hit the Bay Bridge last week did not spill oil into the Bay, but it just missed being a disaster. While the ship was carrying no oil as cargo, it had tanks filled with bunker fuel used to run the tanker itself. If this fuel had spilled, it would have been a significant threat to the Bay, wildlife, and shorelines.
Baykeeper has a lot of questions about why this accident happened. We're investigating the causes to understand how future ship encounters with the bridge can be prevented.
One question is about Coast Guard regulations that keep ships from sailing when fog obscures visibility. Right now, rules prevent large ships from sailing through some parts of the Bay if visibility is less than a half mile, but the waters near the Bay Bridge aren't included. That needs to change.
The highest tides of the year took place last week, and we'll see another round of extreme high tides in February. Called king tides, these exceptionally high tides occur when the gravitational pulls of the sun and moon reinforce one another. (Photo at right courtesy of Mike Filippoff.)
King tides provide a preview of what's coming as global climate change raises sea levels, allowing us to see now how more frequent flooding will impact San Francisco Bay's shore and shoreline communities.
Wetlands provide natural protection from flooding. They help stabilize shorelines and soak up water like a sponge. But most Bay wetlands have been converted to other uses and many of those that remain could become completely submerged as sea levels rise. Protecting and preserving wetlands is a smart strategy to lessen the impact of climate change on Bay shorelines.
Baykeeper's 2012 Annual Report Sums Up a Great Year for the Bay
We're excited to share Baykeeper's latest Annual Report on 2011-2012. After a long and determined campaign, Baykeeper achieved major progress to turn around San Francisco Bay's longstanding sewage spill problem. We also got off to a strong start on our new Bay-Safe Industry campaign to rein in toxic runoff pollution from industrial facilities.
You can also see our full audited financial statements and a complete list of Baykeeper's supporters from July 2011-June 2012. Thank you for helping us achieve important victories for the Bay!
Thanks, Baykeeper Supporters!
A big thank you to everyone who made a year-end contribution to support Baykeeper's work to protect San Francisco Bay from pollution! Your gifts will help make the Bay safer for wildlife and healthier for everyone who turns to the Bay for recreation, inspiration, and beauty.