News of the Bay: April 18, 2014

Check out this edition of News of the Bay for breaking news affecting San Francisco Bay

4/16/2014
San Francisco Chronicle
Skin-cleansing microbeads harm marine life, targeted for ban
Microbeads, the tiny plastic particles found in many exfoliating facial and body cleansers, are passing through wastewater-treatment-plant filters and winding up in rivers and oceans, where they endanger marine life.The popular scrubbing agents have caught the attention of lawmakers in California and four other states as environmental groups push for bans and urge the cosmetic industry to use biodegradable alternatives, such as ground almond shells.
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News of the Bay

4/18/2014
Mashable
Global warming had key role in California drought, eastern cold: study
A new study has found that manmade global warming likely intensified an unusual weather pattern that led to both the California drought and the cold and snowy winter in the eastern U.S.
The study, accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, is the first peer reviewed research to examine the reasons behind a strong and stubborn area of high pressure, or a “ridge” in the upper atmosphere, across the Gulf of Alaska since November, and a sharp dip in the jet stream, or “trough,” across the East.
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4/17/2014
San Francisco Chronicle
S.F.’s plastic-bag ban clears last legal hurdle
San Francisco’s ban on nonrecyclable plastic bags at all retail and grocery stores survived its final legal challenge Wednesday when the state Supreme Court turned down an appeal from the bag industry.
The ordinance, which the Board of Supervisorspassed in February 2012, expanded a 2007 law that covered only supermarkets and pharmacies.
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4/16/2014
San Francisco Chronicle
Parks future: Measure AA and Long Ridge
At Long Ridge Open Space Preserve, you might see the future of not only Bay Area parks, but also state parks across California.
From the Stegner Bench, the view west across the foothills, the Butano Rim and to the coast is as clear as the next strategy to fund local and state parks.
Measure AA, a regional bond measure that will hit the ballot on June 3 on the South Peninsula, proposes to raise $300 million to pay for infrastructure, long delayed repairs and improvements, and to protect greenbelt and wildlife habitat at preserves from Half Moon Bay east to Redwood City, and south to Los Gatos.
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Cigarette butts: an emerging environmental justice concern

Toxic, plastic cigarette butts disproportionately impact low income and communities of color.

Toxic, plastic cigarette butts disproportionately impact low income areas and communities of color. Photo: Jessica Watkins DeWinter

Tobacco use in low-income communities has long been a social justice issue, but it should also be an environmental justice concern when we consider the disproportionate impacts of cigarette butt litter on low-income communities and communities of color.  Indisputably, tobacco waste is a widespread problem in the Bay Area. Over 3 billion cigarette butts are littered here each year. Countless numbers wash into storm drains, flow into creeks, and enter the Bay, where they threaten wildlife and spoil water quality. Cigarette butts are toxic, plastic trash that creates blight on our city streets and in our natural recreation areas. But, just as the plague of tobacco addiction affects some communities more than others, so does the plague of tobacco litter.

It’s a well-known fact that smoking is strongly correlated with lower education and income levels. After the release of the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking in 1964, the profile of the American smoker shifted from being mostly wealthy to low- income. People below the poverty line are now more than 60% more likely to smoke than those at or above. In Alameda County, smoking and tobacco related death rates have dropped remarkably over the past 20 years, but these reductions haven’t been spread evenly across communities. The African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), based in Oakland, has launched a nationwide campaign to ban menthol cigarettes, as they are primarily marketed to youth and African Americans. Anti-smoking advocates should contemplate environmental justice implications as well; tobacco use issues transcend the realm of public health as we consider the uneven distribution of tobacco litter.

Low-income communities and communities of color are forced to live in areas with blight resulting from large quantities of trash, including tobacco litter. Research has shown that cigarette butt litter is found in large quantities surrounding liquor and convenience stores in urban areas – stores which are more prevalent in low-income communities.  In Alameda County and San Francisco, more than 40% of stores in low-income communities sell tobacco. As of 2009, in District 6 of San Francisco (the district with the lowest median household income), there were 270 tobacco sales permits, almost three times the average number of permits per district. This district includes the Tenderloin, an area of San Francisco housing a large Vietnamese population. In 2011, in order to demonstrate the severity of the local tobacco litter problem in their neighborhood, teens at the Vietnamese Youth Development Center collected cigarette butt litter. In just over two hours, they found more than 2,000 cigarette butts in the area surrounding the center, which includes several schools, parks, and youth-serving agencies.

With our Butt Free Bay campaign, Save The Bay seeks to stop this litter at the source; we encourage cities to adopt and enforce outdoor smoking ordinances to prevent cigarette butts from entering storm drains and creeks. With this undertaking, we’re asking Bay Area cities to consider the environmental consequences of smoking in addition to its impacts on public health – for all communities. By working together, we can create a clean living space and a healthy San Francisco Bay for all seven million Bay Area residents.

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Celebrate Earth Day around the Bay

Photo: Rick Lewis

Photo: Rick Lewis

Looking to connect with local environmental organizations and learn more about inspiring green initiatives around the Bay? Attend one of these great Earth Month events and find out how you can play a part in making our region a healthy place to live into the future.

Berkeley Bay Festival Berkeley Marina, Sat April 12, 11am-4pm

BART Blue Sky Festival in Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco, Wed April 16, 11am-2pm

Please vote for us in the BART Blue Sky contest this month!

Earth Day on the Bay Marine Science Institute, Redwood City, Sat April 19, 10am-5pm 

Fremont Earth Day Event Washington Hospital, Fremont, Sat April 26

Throughout the month of April, support Save The Bay and treat yourself to a delicious Mississippi Mud Pie cupcake at a Kara’s Cupcakes shop near you. 

Do you live in San Jose? Check out these special Earth Day events in San Jose.

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Gain Valuable Experience with Save The Bay’s Office Volunteer Program

Office volunteers

Gain valuable experience as an office volunteer with Save The Bay.

Are you looking to build your resume while contributing to a thriving San Francisco Bay? Apply to one of the following teams in our OFFICE VOLUNTEER PROGRAM!

  • Communications
  • Development
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Policy- Pollution Prevention
  • Policy- Bay Fill Prevention

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Enthusiasm for Save The Bay’s mission and programs
  • Availability for 10-12 weeks, 20 hours /week during the fall and winter; 30 hours /week in the summer
  • Strong writing, research and organizational skills
  • Completion of at least three years of undergraduate education
  • Excellent computer skills
  • Ability to complete tasks independently and work well in a team
  • Interest in San Francisco Bay environmental issues

VOLUNTEER POSITIONS

COMMUNICATIONS

Save The Bay’s Communications team works closely with Policy, Habitat Restoration, and Development staff to engage constituents around our key issues. This highly collaborative and creative team is seeking volunteers to help tell the stories of protecting and restoring San Francisco Bay.

Outreach focus:
Outreach Volunteers work with the Communications team to engage Save The Bay’s volunteers through online communications, data management, and community engagement. This year, over 5,000 adult and youth volunteers will work with Save The Bay to restore over 120 acres of vital Bay habitat. Outreach Volunteers focus on engaging these restoration volunteers through a number of tasks, including utilizing online tools for volunteer appreciation, updating Salesforce database with volunteer data, organizing the photo database, contributing to Save The Bay’s blog, and representing Save The Bay at events.

Social Media focus:
Social Media Volunteers work with the Communications team to maintain an active and meaningful presence on our social media channels. Save The Bay uses many social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, to engage with our constituents, reporters and other organizations, showcase the expertise of our staff, and drive action on our core programs and policy areas. Social Media Volunteers focus on enhancing our social media communications through a number of tasks, including researching and developing post and tweet content for Facebook and Twitter, tracking account analytics using Sprout Social and Facebook Insights, engaging with fans/followers and cultivating conversation on our social channels , and assisting Communications staff with organizing incoming social media requests and opportunities.

DEVELOPMENT
The Development and Grant Writing Volunteers work with Save The Bay’s Development team to support strategic fundraising campaigns targeting corporate, foundation, and individual supporters. As a member of our dynamic team, the volunteers assist with grant writing; conduct grant and donor research; supports donor outreach and communications efforts; advances knowledge of Salesforce and help maintain data; write acknowledgement letters; and perform various administrative duties in support of fundraising campaigns as assigned.

HABITAT RESTORATION
The Habitat Restoration Volunteers work with Save The Bay’s Habitat Restoration Department to help with various field and office work related to our Community-Based Restoration programs. As a member of the largest team at Save The Bay, the Habitat Restoration Volunteers assist in office tasks such as building coordination materials for public and corporate programs; cleaning and weighing seed collections; updating seed inventory; maintaining contact data entry; and other general administrative duties.

In the field, depending on the season, volunteers may help with outplanting at project sites; spring site maintenance including weeding and watering seedlings; seed collection; and plant propagation tasks at STB’s nurseries; including seed sowing, transplanting, divisions, fertilization, culling, and nursery maintenance.

POLICY
The Environmental Policy Volunteers work as part of Save The Bay’s Policy Department focusing either on our pollution prevention, bay fill prevention and/or restoration finance initiatives. As a member of a small team of enthusiastic and dedicated advocates, the Environmental Policy Volunteers are responsible for conducting research, assisting in implementation of priority projects and providing support for our grassroots and communications objectives.

Pollution prevention focus:
Pollutants flowing from our streets and storm drains threaten water quality in the Bay on daily basis. The Clean Bay Project is our campaign to support innovative and effective pollution prevention programs at the municipal level. By working collaboratively with city and county government and community stakeholders to implement effective policies, we are making dramatic strides to improve the health of our wetlands, Bay shoreline, and local waterways. Learn more about our pollution prevention work.

Bay fill prevention / Restoration funding focus:
Save The Bay’s major Bay Fill Prevention initiative is our campaign to stop Cargill’s plans to fill in as many as two square miles of restorable San Francisco Bay salt ponds in Redwood City with thousands of houses (www.DontPaveMyBay.org). We also monitor numerous development proposals throughout the San Francisco Bay shoreline, taking action to protect the Bay from being filled or otherwise impacted by inappropriate development.

In addition to our Bay Fill Prevention work, one of the major challenges facing the restoration of the Bay shoreline is the lack of local funding to restore shoreline areas already under public ownership. This position works on both of these crucial policy areas, helping Save The Bay reach our goal of establishing 100,000 acres of wetlands around San Francisco Bay.

HOW TO APPLY
Our volunteer program operates in three cycles throughout the year –Winter, Summer, & Fall. Check our jobs page and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter to learn about application deadlines. Please contact info@saveSFbay.org for further questions.

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Climate report supports wetland restoration as sea level rise adaptation strategy

Wetlands

Healthy wetlands protect our communities from flooding by slowing down and soaking up runoff and tidal inflow.
Photo credit: Dan Sullivan

A scientific report released just weeks ago confirms that people, societies, and ecosystems around the world are vulnerable to climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up in 1988 by the U.N. and the World Meteorological Organization to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessment of climate change and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC recently met in Yokohama, Japan to approve the report, titled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.

The report details the impacts of climate change, the future risks, and the opportunities to reduce risk. It concludes that both our atmosphere and our oceans have warmed, which has diminished ice and snow, causing the sea level to rise.

Sea level rise is a serious threat to the Bay area. According to the Pacific Institute, over $50 billion in property and infrastructure is at risk in the Bay area alone, with estimates of $100 trillion worldwide. In the Bay area, nearly 100 schools and healthcare facilities, 1,780 miles of roads and highways, 270,000 homes, and major infrastructure like our airports, bridges, power plants, and sewage treatment plants are at risk.

This report further reinforces the potential for wetland restoration to help prepare the Bay area for sea level rise. According to the report, “ecosystem-based adaptation is increasingly attracting attention.” The report states that “in coastal areas, the conservation or restoration of habitats (e.g. wetlands) can provide effective measures against storm surge, saline intrusion and coastal erosion by using their physical characteristics, biodiversity, and the ecosystem services they provide as a means for adaptation.”

Save The Bay has worked for years to restore Bay wetlands because we recognize the crucial role they play in the overall health of the Bay. Healthy wetlands filter toxins from polluted runoff, provide habitat for hundreds of species, and protect our communities from flooding and erosion by slowing down and soaking up runoff and tidal inflow. Wetland restoration is an important, multi-benefit, and cost-effective strategy for preparing the Bay area for sea level rise. The IPCC report identifies “the protection and restoration of relevant coastal natural systems…such as salt marshes” and “replacing armored with living shorelines” as two strategies for sea level rise mitigation and adaptation.

This study further confirms what we already knew about the importance of Bay wetlands. Join the thousands of volunteers who come out to the Bay every year to restore our wetlands, one native plant at a time.

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