New Legal Ruling in the Long Battle to Protect the Bay’s Sand

In 2012, California approved a dramatic doubling of sand mining in San Francisco Bay, which allowed private companies to remove and sell an unprecedented 2 million cubic yards of Bay sand every year.

Sand is being removed from the Bay faster than it can be naturally replenished. That leaves less sand in the Bay to shore up wetlands and shoreline areas, including places with severe erosion like San Francisco’s Ocean Beach.

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The Bay Area’s Most Toxic Sites are Vulnerable to Sea Level Rise

Numerous industrial facilities—including oil refineries, shipyards, and manufacturing plants—surround San Francisco Bay, as well as over 1,000 inactive sites contaminated with hazardous waste.

Many of these sites already release pollution into the Bay. Sea level rise will amplify the contamination risk from these toxic sites. As Bay waters rise in the coming decades, flooding will inundate toxic sites along the shore and allow pollutants to leach into the Bay and along shorelines.

No Water, No Fish: The Fight for Fresh Water Flows

Healthy levels of fresh water are vital for San Francisco Bay and the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta. Without sufficient flows through these waterways, toxic algae spread, fish die, and pollutants accumulate. Lack of healthy flows are already resulting in record low numbers of native fish like salmon. Species that depend on fish for food, like orcas, are also struggling.    

Celebrate this Thanksgiving without Polluting the Bay

When you think of the holidays, Bay contamination probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But every year, celebratory meals worsen sewage pollution in San Francisco Bay.

Holiday cooking tends to generate a lot of fatty waste, like meat drippings, grease, and buttery gravies. When dumped down the sink or garbage disposal, fats harden in the wastewater pipes running between Bay Area homes and sewage facilities.  

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Baykeeper on Patrol: October 2018 Update

In early October, from our patrol boat, the Baykeeper team observed a company in Alameda dumping construction waste directly into the Bay. We reached out to the company to bring it to their attention and make sure that they change their behavior. "It's illegal for companies to treat the Bay like a trash can," Baykeeper's Managing Attorney Erica Maharg points out. "Sometimes they need a strongly worded reminder."

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A Victory for Protecting People Who Eat Fish from the Bay

People who eat fish caught in San Francisco Bay are exposed to toxic substances because polluters regularly contaminate the Bay with dangerous substances like mercury, dioxins, and PCBs. 

The Bay Area is home to native tribes whose members follow traditional fishing practices and people who regularly fish in the Bay to feed themselves and their families. Despite the risks to these communities, regulatory agencies have never set standards for toxic substances in the Bay with the goal of protecting people who eat the most Bay fish.

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