Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for July 2016

San Francisco Baykeeper E-News
Monthly Update for July 2016
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San Francisco Bay

Stopping fireworks pollution in San Francisco Bay

Baykeeper recently helped implement critical controls on pollution from holiday fireworks shows around San Francisco Bay. As a result, our volunteers found no fireworks debris along the shoreline following this month's July 4th fireworks displays.

This is a big change from earlier this year, when two Super Bowl fireworks shows contaminated Bay shorelines with large amounts of debris. Since then, Baykeeper has worked with the company that puts on the majority of local fireworks displays, Pyro Spectaculars North, Inc., to stop fireworks pollution.

At Baykeeper's request, Pyro Spectaculars has agreed to use practices that give maximum protection to the Bay and its shorelines, including the use of less toxic fireworks and cleanup of all debris within 24 hours.

The lack of pollution after the July 4th fireworks is a good sign. Baykeeper will keep working to improve practices around future fireworks displays to prevent pollution of the Bay.

Learn more about Baykeeper's work to stop fireworks pollution in the Bay.

Photo by Daniel Parks, Flickr/CC

Oakland bans coal exports that threaten the Bay


In June, Oakland's City Council voted to ban coal from being handled and stored within Oakland. The ban targets a new planned bulk shipping terminal whose developer proposes to export millions of tons of coal transported into Oakland in open train cars.

This ban is critical progress for protecting San Francisco Bay and local communities from coal pollution. Baykeeper was one of the lead coalition members to legally challenge the proposed coal export project, and we testified at multiple City Council meetings to support the city's coal export ban on behalf of the Bay.

If the coal export project were allowed to go forward, coal would arrive in Oakland via long trains of open cars, on tracks close to the Bay's shore, like those shown here. These trains would pass through many East Bay cities, shedding highly toxic dust into our neighborhoods and waterways.

The developer of the bulk shipping terminal is expected to challenge the city's ban on coal. In partnership with our coalition of local organizations, Baykeeper will continue advocating to stop increased coal shipments through the Bay Area.

Learn more about Baykeeper's work to prevent coal pollution of the Bay and local communities.

Photo by Robb Most

Big victory to protect the Bay from trash and sewage pollution

Baykeeper recently won a breakthrough victory to stop pollution flowing to San Francisco Bay. The city of San Jose has agreed to clean up trash, sewage, and other pollution that has been washing into the Bay.

San Jose has had some of the highest levels of polluted runoff of any Bay Area city. During rainstorms, huge amounts of trash and bacteria are washed into Guadalupe River and Coyote Creek, then into the Bay, endangering seals, birds, and other wildlife.

Now, San Jose city leaders have agreed to install new devices that collect trash from runoff before it reaches rivers and streams. To reduce bacteria pollution, the city will also upgrade its leaking sewer system and replace 65 miles of old, degraded sewer pipe.

Plus, San Jose will undertake a massive renovation in how it deals with runoff. Over the next 20 years, San Jose will invest in new green infrastructure projects like:

  • lining streets with special gutters that absorb rainwater and prevent runoff;
  • capturing rainwater, filtering it, and storing it for later re-use; and
  • replacing paved concrete surfaces with public park space.

This victory is the result of Baykeeper's Clean Water Act lawsuit to stop San Jose's runoff pollution. Once these improvements are made, our agreement will transform San Jose into a regional leader in containing pollution, fighting drought and creating innovative green infrastructure for healthier neighborhoods and waterways.

Learn more about Baykeeper's victory to stop trash and sewage pollution from San Jose.

Photo by Robb Most

San Jose debris removal facility agrees to keep contaminated runoff out of the Bay

Eco Box Recycling, a debris removal and recycling facility in San Jose, recently agreed to keep contaminated rainwater from running off its site and into Coyote Creek, a tributary of San Francisco Bay.

Baykeeper learned about pollution from Eco Box via a tip we received to our Pollution Hotline (1-800-KEEP-BAY | hotline@baykeeper.org). We investigated and found that storm water running off the site contained high levels of pollutants harmful to salmon, steelhead, and other fish that spawn and mature in Coyote Creek.

Eco Box handles construction waste, metal, household goods, electronic waste, paper, plastic, and yard waste. Some materials have been stored outdoors on site. During rain storms, polluted runoff from these materials has been emptying into storm drains that flow to Coyote Creek. The site is adjacent to the creek bank, as shown above.

Now the company is required to store and sort all metal and electronic waste indoors and keep yard waste under a cover during the rainy season. They have also installed storm drain filters to remove pollutants from rainwater before it runs off into the creek. If these measures aren't enough to reduce contamination, the company will implement more pollution controls.

This is the 35th victory in Baykeeper's Bay-Safe Industry Campaign, which targets heavily polluted storm water runoff that flows into San Francisco Bay from industrial facilities around the Bay Area.

Learn more about Baykeeper's legally-binding pollution cleanup agreement with Eco Box.

Baykeeper is hiring! Join our team as Managing Attorney or Communications Associate

Baykeeper is seeking two new full-time employees. This is a great opportunity to join our small, highly effective organization, and put your skills to work for San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper offers competitive salaries and benefits and excellent opportunities for professional development and advancement.

Managing Attorney: We're looking for a dynamic new Managing Attorney with at least five years litigation experience, including experience with the Clean Water Act and California Environmental Quality Act, to oversee our legal advocacy and environmental enforcement program.

Our Managing Attorney will serve as Baykeeper's lead in-house counsel; oversee investigative efforts to inform new litigation and advocacy; manage a complex, active docket of high-impact multi-year environmental law cases; assess the legal merits and risks of proposed litigation; lead Baykeeper's team of staff attorneys, law clerks, and outside counsel; and manage the operating budget for Baykeeper's legal program.

Read the Managing Attorney job description and learn how to apply for this position.

Communications Associate: Are you a nonprofit communications professional looking to grow your skills while helping protect San Francisco Bay? Become our new Communications Associate! Baykeeper seeks a candidate with excellent writing skills to communicate the value of our mission and to turn our scientific advocacy and legal victories into compelling stories to inspire multiple audiences via various channels. This position will play a key role in expanding Baykeeper's visibility and enhancing our communications.

Read the Communications job description and learn how to apply for this position.

Meet Baykeeper Associate Attorney Nicole Sasaki

When an industrial facility signs a legally-binding agreement with Baykeeper requiring it to stop contaminating San Francisco Bay, that's only the beginning. Baykeeper then needs to make sure the facility operators install the required pollution controls, and that those controls actually work. That's when Baykeeper Associate Attorney Nicole Sasaki shines.

"I'm proud that Baykeeper keeps monitoring to ensure that industrial facilities are making progress toward keeping their pollution out of San Francisco Bay," says Nicole. "And when facilities run into problems, we help them out. If a facility tries a set of pollution controls, but those aren't effective, we can recommend different measures that will better protect the Bay."

Another focus of Nicole's work is advocating for strong laws and regulations that defend the Bay from pollution. She loves Baykeeper's "willingness to take a stand on issues that matter in order to protect San Francisco Bay."

When she's not hard at work for Baykeeper, Nicole likes to bike on the Bay Trail, with occasional breaks to munch on vegan snacks and admire views of the Bay she's helping protect.

Photo by Andrew Ho

Database volunteer needed

Baykeeper is seeking a volunteer to assist with the upkeep of our member database, for approximately 4 hours per week during regular office hours. The Database Volunteer will play an important role in keeping our records organized and up-to-date, enabling the Baykeeper team to keep working efficiently and effectively to stop pollution in San Francisco Bay. Skills in Microsoft Excel and a general technological adeptness preferred. Prior database experience is helpful but not necessary.

Learn more about Baykeeper's database volunteer opportunity.

Save the date: Coastal Cleanup Day, Saturday September 17

2016 Coastal Cleanup Day is coming up! Join Baykeeper for an active morning of cleaning up trash along San Francisco Bay.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 17 from 9am to noon at India Basin Shoreline Park in San Francisco's Hunters Point Neighborhood. Registration opens soon.

On the day when people all over the world will be cleaning up trash from their coasts, let's show some love for the Bay!

Photo by Robert McKinney

Photo at top by Roberto Soncin Gerometta