In just under a month, the new administration has made a number of decisions that threaten the environment, undo clean water protections, and put San Francisco Bay in harm’s way. San Francisco Baykeeper, along with our fellow Waterkeepers around the nation, are busier than ever working to protect our waterways.
San Francisco, Calif. - The California State Lands Commission, an agency responsible for protecting San Francisco Bay, has once again approved permits to let private companies remove harmful levels of sand from the Bay’s floor. On January 30, San Francisco Baykeeper filed a second legal action challenging the increased sand mining.
Excessive sand mining is linked to irreversible erosion at Ocean Beach. This erosion threatens roads and other infrastructure, diminishes habitat for the endangered Snowy Plover, and shrinks beach area for public recreation.
Baykeeper and our partners at The Bay Institute are advocating in support of increased freshwater flows to the Bay and Delta.
Currently, too much water in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is being diverted. There’s not enough natural flow to keep the fish alive and the ecosystem healthy.
Baykeeper is advocating for stronger regulations on boat coatings to protect fish and other wildlife from the toxic effects of copper contamination.
Copper is a powerful biocide commonly found in specialized boat coatings that prevents algae, barnacles, and other sea life from growing on boat hulls. These “anti-fouling” paints are widely used by both commercial and non-commercial boaters to prevent sea life from attaching to boat hulls, where they can damage the hulls and decrease a vessel’s speed.
Baykeeper is celebrating a new victory that will help prevent pharmaceutical contamination of San Francisco Bay. Contra Costa County recently passed an ordinance requiring drug makers to cover the cost of safe disposal of prescription medications.
This law will help prevent leftover pharmaceuticals from being flushed down the toilet or sink, where they travel through the sewage system and into the Bay. It will also help keep drugs out of the trash, where they can enter the Bay through landfill runoff.
Dozens of volunteers gathered at the Alameda estuary Saturday to take care of one of the negative results of last week’s storms. “The timing of this cleanup is perfect this year mainly because the big storms pushed a lot of trash into the bay and on to the shore line,” said San Francisco bay keeper Sejal Choksi-Chugh.
In June 2016, the Oakland City Council took an historic step and unanimously approved an ordinance banning coal from being handled and stored in the City of Oakland. Despite broad local support for the City’s bold decision to strongly protect public health, the developer of a proposed new shipping terminal is now challenging the ban, calling the city’s ordinance an abuse of power and violation of federal laws that regulate commerce and shipping.
In the face of alarming signs of ecosystem collapse in parts of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary, Baykeeper is advocating in support of increasing freshwater flows to the Bay and Delta from the San Joaquin River. Currently, most of the water in the San Joaquin and its tributaries is diverted for use by agriculture and human consumption, leaving too little to support healthy habitat in the Bay and Delta.
An Ecosystem Starved For Water
Baykeeper is celebrating a new victory to stop pollution in San Francisco Bay. We recently reached an agreement with a polluting industrial facility, Asphalt Shingle Recyclers, to keep contaminated rainy-season runoff from flowing off its Oakland property into Bay tributaries.
Asphalt Shingle Recyclers, LLC, recycles concrete, asphalt shingles, and other construction debris. The facility discharges storm water into a ditch outside its northern perimeter that empties into East Creek Slough. The slough connects to San Leandro Bay, an inlet of San Francisco Bay.
Baykeeper is urging the State Water Board and Environmental Protection Agency to limit the amount of toxic selenium allowed in San Francisco Bay. Bay Area oil refineries are the region’s largest source of selenium in the Bay, but refinery representatives have undermined efforts to institute stronger controls on this dangerous toxin.