About Baykeeper

Defending San Francisco Bay for 30 Years

Baykeeper boat patrol on San Francisco Bay

For 30 years, Baykeeper has worked to stop pollution and other threats to San Francisco Bay and its tributaries throughout the Bay Area. We're the only nonprofit with a patrol boat that regularly monitors and investigates pollution and harmful activities in the Bay. 

Our vision for the next 30 years is a San Francisco Bay environment where the water is clean, the ecosystem is healthy, recreation is safe, and wildlife can thrive.

We’re working toward a Bay that is:

  • Free from pollution—so communities and wildlife aren’t threatened by toxics, trash, or oil spills.
  • Safe for recreation—where swimmers, surfers, boaters, and beach-goers can enjoy the water without fear of contamination.
  • With healthy beaches—protected from erosion caused by sand mining and dredging.
  • Ready for the future—with shorelines and wetlands that can withstand sea level rise, and where our communities make the most of scarce water resources.

Baykeeper Protects the Bay  Seal on the Bay 

San Francisco Bay is a treasure of the Bay Area, and the heart of our landscape, communities, and economy.

Yet San Francisco Bay’s health is threatened by polluted runoff, sewage spills, oil spills, sand removal, and the increasing pressure of drought and sea level rise. Far too often, clean water laws aren’t enforced, so that pollution and harmful activities continue unchecked. 

That's why Baykeeper exists. For 30 years, we have been the Bay’s most effective advocate and its strongest defender. Using water quality monitoring, science, and on-the-water patrols, Baykeeper identifies the greatest threats to the health of the Bay’s ecosystem. Then we strategically use advocacy, public education, and legal action to secure smart solutions that stop pollution and restore water quality and boost the Bay's resilience.

Paddlers on the BayWe have a staff of twelve with scientific and legal expertise, a board of directors with a breadth of experience with the Bay, an expert advisory board, twelve volunteer boat skippers, and the only pollution patrol boat monitoring and investigating pollution and other harmful activities in the Bay.

Our focus area covers the Bay and its tributaries throughout the nine counties of the Bay Area: Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma.

Our small organization has a big impact on the Bay’s health. Since 1989, Baykeeper has:

  • compelled cleanup of hundreds of refineries, coal facilities, chemical companies, landfills, and city streets;
  • kept hundreds of millions of gallons of untreated sewage out of the Bay and local neighborhoods;
  • won state and federal court victories to regulate pesticides, invasive species, sand mining, and vessel pollution;
  • been recognized as a national leader in oil spill prevention and response;
  • conducted regular patrols of San Francisco Bay to monitor and stop pollution and other harmful threats; and
  • responded to hundreds of citizen reports through our pollution hotline. 

San Francisco Baykeeper is one of 300+ Waterkeeper organizations working for clean water around the world. We are a founding member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance and were the first Waterkeeper on the West Coast. Baykeeper also works with 12 Waterkeepers across California and the California Coastkeeper Alliance.

With your help, we will continue to press forward to ensure that San Francisco Bay is protected—now and for future generations.

Baykeeper acknowledges the spirit of the first peoples who came to this land before us.

Donate to support a healthy San Francisco Bay.

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Top photo by Bart Quigley, other photos by Lyrinda Snyderman