Baykeeper on Patrol: March Update

The Baykeeper field team is out on the Bay, rain or shine. Earlier in the month, we patrolled the San Francisco waterfront and several shoreline facilities. The team discovered suspicious-looking runoff from an industrial facility, which we're investigating.

Pictured below is Baykeeper Attorney Ben Eichenberg aboard the Baykeeper patrol boat during a brief respite from the rain!

Ben on Patrol


Poor Dredging Practices Harm Bay Wetlands and Kill Fish

Dredger in the Bay

Dredgers in San Francisco Bay are using outdated dredging methods to keep shipping channels open. As a result, they are harming wetlands and killing endangered fish.

The Army Corps of Engineers—which does about 70% of the Bay’s dredging—uses suction technology that vacuums up endangered fish. The Army Corps’ own studies show this technology is killing the Bay’s delta and longfin smelt, two fish that are on the brink of extinction.


The Battle to Stop Coal Pollution in the Bay

In 2011, Baykeeper staff members were conducting a regular patrol on the Bay and came across a highly toxic polluting activity. A shipping terminal on the Richmond shoreline had put large piles of coal at the edge of the water, and wind was blowing black dust from the piles directly into the Bay.

Facility operators were also making a mess in the water while loading coal into the waiting ship. And we could see that the next storm would wash toxic dust from those uncovered piles into the Bay.

Taking on the Fossil Fuel Industry Surrounding SF Bay

In spite of the existential threat posed by climate change, the fossil fuel industry continues to push relentlessly for expansions—more oil, more coal, more dirty emissions. And the Bay Area is no exception.  

The oil company Phillips 66 recently received approval to process more crude oil at its refinery in Rodeo, which lies along the Bay shoreline. Phillips 66 is also pushing to more than double its oil tanker fleet carrying heavy crude over the Bay for export.

Stopping a Hostile Takeover of the Bay

A clam smaller than a penny stealthily enters San Francisco Bay waters.  It begins quickly devouring the tiny plankton at the base of the Bay’s food chain, causing small local fish to starve. It multiplies fast, soon overcrowding native species. The clams absorb toxic pollution at higher rates than other clams, poisoning the fish and ducks that eat them. And now scientists are at a loss. This clam population has grown so large so fast, there’s no way to get rid of them.

Invasive species like the Asian overbite clam are wreaking havoc on San Francisco Bay.

Baykeeper on Patrol: January 2019 Update

For Baykeeper, the rainy season means testing polluted runoff flowing from shoreline facilities into the Bay. Over our last 30 years defending the Bay, we've held more than 200 companies accountable for polluting the Bay with contaminants like mercury, oil, and other dangerous toxins.

During a choppy rainstorm in early January, Baykeeper Field Investigator Sienna Courter (pictured) and Staff Attorney Ben Eichenberg used kayaks to sample storm runoff from a suspected polluter on the Bay shoreline.


The Bay’s Sand Belongs to You

Private mining companies are removing too much sand from San Francisco Bay. Without sufficient sand, there's not enough to replenish the shoreline, including wetlands and areas with severe erosion like Ocean Beach.

Baykeeper’s lawyers have been in court fighting to keep sand in the Bay using a complex legal principle called the public trust doctrine. We asked Managing Attorney Erica Maharg to explain the law and how we recently used it to protect the Bay’s sand.  

What is the public trust doctrine?



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