Media Advisory: Baykeeper Urges Appeal Court to Limit Sand Mining in the Bay

Aug 24, 2015

Excessive sand mining contributes to Ocean Beach erosion and threatens Bay species

Sejal Choksi-Chugh, Baykeeper Executive Director,, 925-330-7757, George Torgun, Baykeeper Managing Attorney,, 510-520-3678

Protecting our rights to sand at Ocean Beach and in the Bay

San Francisco Baykeeper will present arguments in the California Court of Appeal in our case to stop excessive sand mining in San Francisco Bay. We will be urging the court to require more sustainable sand mining limits that protect Ocean Beach and the Bay. For decades, private companies have been permitted to mine too much sand from the Bay, contributing to erosion at Ocean Beach and threatening important Bay species like Dungeness crab. Yet in 2012, the California agency that oversees sand mining—the State Lands Commission—approved a large increase in Bay sand mining. Baykeeper sued to overturn this change in policy.

George Torgun, Baykeeper Managing Attorney, will argue in court for sustainable limits on sand mining in San Francisco Bay. After the case is heard, he will be available for interviews.

August 25, 2015, Oral arguments scheduled: 9:30 AM  (but time may vary depending on court)
Interview George Torgun: Up until hearing date and immediately following oral arguments

Oral arguments: Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, 350 McAllister Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco. 

Beaches outside the Golden Gate like Ocean Beach are naturally replenished by sand that washes out of the Bay over time. A substantial amount of scientific research shows that extracting more sand from the Bay would exacerbate the already-serious erosion problem at Ocean Beach. Further erosion could threaten the Great Highway, cause a major city sewer line to rupture, and wash away sensitive habitat for shorebirds

Excessive sand mining contributes to erosion of coastal beach habitat and also disrupts the Bay’s ecosystem by impacting bottom-dwelling invertebrates and shellfish. A primary mining area is between the San Francisco waterfront and Angel Island, which is used by juvenile Dungeness crab, sturgeon, and other important Bay species. Another is Suisun Bay, a critical habitat for sturgeon, ducks, and many other species of fish and water birds.

Sand on the floor of San Francisco Bay is a resource that belongs to the public, and the state is charged with ensuring it’s used properly on our behalf. Allowing private companies to extract sand in an unsustainable way isn’t an appropriate use of this public resource.

San Francisco Baykeeper is the Bay’s pollution watchdog, using science and advocacy to enforce clean water laws and hold polluters accountable. For more information, visit us at

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