Oakland—Every year, San Francisco Baykeeper honors outstanding groups and individuals with the Blue Rivet Award, recognizing their contributions to defending the Bay. Just like the rivets of the Golden Gate Bridge, which join the structure together, the Blue Rivet Awardees represent the web of partnerships essential to attaining a healthy San Francisco Bay and thriving Bay Area communities.
The Blue Rivet Award recipients for 2021 are:
Fresh Air Vallejo for its role stopping the proposed Vallejo Marine Terminal facility, a bulk shipping port and cement factory that would have been used to ship dirty fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum coke, a toxic byproduct of oil refining. As a result of community-led advocacy by Fresh Air Vallejo volunteers, the terminal developers withdrew their appeal of the proposal permit in May 2019.
The Volunteers at Autonomous Imagery for their exceptional work as drone camera operators, supplementing Baykeeper's on-the-water pollution patrol program with detailed aerial imagery. In the image above, Autonomous Imagery spotted a collapsed pier and fuel spill along Oakland's shoreline, prompting a rapid response. Autonomous Imagery also generously gifted Baykeeper with patrol drone, named Osprey, which has become an essential tool for investigating pollution, including the February 2021 Chevron spill in Richmond.
United Airlines, whose employees volunteered hundreds of hours to clean up Bay shorelines impacted by the highest levels of trash. United Airlines also contributed thousands of dollars in flight vouchers, allowing Baykeeper staff to travel across the country pre-COVID to collaborate with fellow Waterkeepers and other grassroots water activists.
The Blue Rivet Awards will be presented at Baykeeper virtual event and dinner on March 21. Past winners include, among others, Monterey Fish Market founder Paul Johnson, Guadalupe River restoration activist Roger Castillo, former California State Assembly Member and environmental champion Loni Hancock, the citizens' group No Coal in Oakland, and Baykeeper founder Mike Herz.