Baykeeper's Monthly Column

Baykeeper publishes a monthly column on San Francisco Bay cultural, environmental, and maritime issues.
(May 2011) First, a sewage spill update: since I wrote last month about our annual Bay Area winter sewage spills, the number of gallons of sewage spilled has doubled! After a very rainy March, we can now say that nearly a quarter billion gallons of raw or undertreated sewage have entered San Francisco Bay and its tributaries this winter. With 40 treatment plants and 17,000 miles of publicly-owned...
(April 2011) At the time of this writing, this year’s rainy season had already brought nine million gallons of raw sewage to Bay Area waterways, and a stunning 125 million gallons of undertreated sewage from the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) plants at Point Isabel and in Oakland. Many people don’t realize that the Bay Area has such an old-fashioned public health threat. Sewage...
(March 2011) Shivery winter weather has been the daily forecast this season, with snowstorms in the East and even the occasional blustery winds and rains around the Bay Area. For many people, cold weather brings to mind warm comforts of hot cocoa, slow-cooked soups, fleece blankets and wishful thoughts of island getaways. But Bay Area residents may not have to book a flight to the tropics to...
(February 2011) Last year at this time, I wrote about Baykeeper’s first-time participation in the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count and my experience as a novice birder on the Bay. This December, the Baykeeper boat was out on the Bay once again to assist with the 111th Christmas Bird Count, joining more than 60,000 people nationwide in documenting trends in bird population. We worked with...
(January 2011) As cold and flu season approaches, we’re apt to have a bigger impact on the Bay than usual. We know that our municipal governments provide sewage treatment that is supposed to protect the Bay, and—except in cases of overflows—our treatment technology does a pretty good job on bacteria and pathogens. But treatment plants around the Bay (and the United States for that matter) were...
(November 2010) Of the 1024 bills that reached the Governor’s desk this year, 726 were signed into law.  Only a handful of these new laws are related to the environment, and except for one of these, all are procedural – that is, they set up new bureaucratic procedures, place caps on fines, require new vision statements, or slightly revise existing guidelines.  Only one bill, SB 346 (Kehoe, D-San...
(October 2010) By Deb Self, former Baykeeper executive director, with the assistance of David McGuire, director of Sea Stewards and filmmaker: City of the Shark As Halloween draws closer and our thoughts turn to costumes and candy, this festive fall holiday also inspires us to dust the cobwebs off our spookiest stories. Being a water-oriented organization – and writing for a commuter-ferry...
(August 2010) Summertime is here and if you’re like me, you’re spending more time on the water with longer, warmer days. As Bay Area residents flock to recreational hotspots along our shorelines, they may be unaware that their boating plans can have an impact on the Bay’s environment. Whether you’re in a motorboat or sailboat your vessel can contribute to water pollution in the Bay,...
(July 2010) Due to the efforts of San Francisco Baykeeper, Arc Ecology and Natural Resources Defense Council, the decaying, toxic vessels of the Ghost Fleet will soon haunt the waters of Suisun Bay no longer. In an important victory for the health of San Francisco Bay and for the diverse range of animals that thrives in the unique habitat of Suisun Bay, we have successfully secured an effective...
(June 2010) Though the Gulf of Mexico is almost two thousand of miles away from San Francisco Bay, the implications of the ongoing BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster reverberate across the country. Sadly, it strikes a special chord here in the Bay Area, where we witnessed the effects of a major oil spill in the Bay less than three years ago. The message is clear:  despite numerous oil...

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