Our Mission

Baykeeper defends San Francisco Bay and its watershed from the biggest threats.

We hold polluters and government agencies accountable to create healthier communities and help wildlife thrive. 

On the water

Our field science team patrols the water by boat and drone to investigate pollution.

At the Hearings

Our advocates strengthen laws and close loopholes to protect the Bay’s wildlife and communities around the Bay Area.

In the Courts

Our attorneys take on multinational corporate polluters and government agencies at all levels.

On your side

We’ve been using this unique combination of investigation, advocacy, and litigation since 1989 to defend the Bay’s waters and the Bay Area’s communities.

Mike Herz on the Baykeeper boat in 1989

Dr. Michael Herz, founder of San Francisco Baykeeper, aboard the Baykeeper patrol boat in 1989 (Photo: Hedi B. Desuyo)

From the Start

Dr. Michael Herz, a scientist for The Oceanic Society, loved taking his boat out on the Bay. But he got angry when he saw industrial polluters contaminating the waters. Once he started investigating, he quickly realized that no government agency was doing anything to stop them.

So he decided the Bay needed a champion, and he created San Francisco Baykeeper in 1989.

After local media announced the opening of Baykeeper’s doors—and more importantly, our pollution hotline—in July of that year, the buzz led to over 100 calls from people around the Bay Area asking for our help to stop pollution in their community. That’s when Mike knew he’d made the right decision to start our small but mighty organization.

Since then, we’ve worked to tackle the biggest pollution problems facing the Bay. Our winning combination of investigation, advocacy, and litigation has resulted in more than 300 legal and policy victories to hold polluters and government agencies accountable for the health of our Bay’s wildlife and communities.

See our timeline, below, of Baykeeper’s biggest wins over the years – our dedicated supporters have helped us make a meaningful impact for the Bay and its watershed.  

Land Acknowledgement

Baykeeper acknowledges that we are on the unceded land of many Native peoples and Tribal groups who came to this region before us, and who still live here today. We recognize them as the authentic stewards of the land, as well as of San Francisco Bay and its vast watershed. We support their efforts for Indigenous sovereignty. In their honor, we pledge to protect the Bay and its shared waters for future generations.

Values Statement

Baykeeper is a growing organization with a bold mission to fight for justice with people throughout the Bay’s watershed who have the right to clean water and healthy neighborhoods protected from corporate polluters and government wrongdoing. We value passion, integrity, and respect in all our endeavors, including in how we treat our employees and partners. We are committed to an equitable and inclusive workplace, and we strive for transparency, access, and authenticity in all our collaborations.