Check out this week’s Weekly Roundup for breaking news affecting San Francisco Bay.
Los Angeles Times 5/15/13
Volunteers pull tons (and tons) of trash from California waterways
The Ocean Conservancy has run the numbers, and over the course of a single day in September 2012, more than 500,000 volunteers from across the globe collected 10 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways. The top three most common items collected were cigarettes and cigarette filters (2.1 million), food wrappers (1.1 million), and plastic beverage bottles (1 million).
San Jose Mercury News 5/13/13
River otters are making a comeback in the Bay Area
On a cool winter evening just before sunset, birdwatcher Helen Daley spotted something entirely unexpected slithering in the waters of Los Gatos Creek.
“I turned the binoculars on it,” Daley said. “It was moving, and the water was shaped like a ‘V.’ It dived under, and its tail slipped up. It was a tapered, long tail. It wasn’t like that of a rat or beaver.”
Daley, a nurse who lives in the Cambrian Park area of San Jose, rushed home and confirmed online that the animal she saw was a North American river otter.
Green vs. green: The slimy battle for Drakes Bay
It’s springtime at the Point Reyes National Seashore, about an hour outside of San Francisco, and the cold wind whips off the sea and through the tall grass along the cliffs. Cows wander and graze along the fingers of land that reach out into the estuary’s tiny bays, an area altogether encompassing just over three square miles.
Beyond the estuary, at the outer edges of the seashore, seals sun themselves on the beaches, packed in tightly and squirming along the shoreline.
From March through June, the estuary is quiet. The seashore boasts more than 28,000 acres of agricultural land, most of it for beef and dairy production — but it’s pupping season for the seals, and the National Park Service has instated its annual ban on the motorboats that usually zip around the estuary, planting and harvesting millions of oysters for the Drakes Bay Oyster Company.
Marin Independent Journal 5/10/13
Environmentalists, officials turn out in Tiburon to cheer SF Bay wetlands designation
With choppy Richardson Bay as a backdrop, dozens of people gathered at the Lyford House in Tiburon on a breezy Friday afternoon to celebrate the naming of San Francisco Bay as an international Ramsar “wetland of importance.”
The designation adds the bay to a list of protected areas under an international treaty among 163 countries signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971 to limit damaging development along ecologically important waterways.
“It took more than four years to make all this happen,” said Rowan Gould, deputy director of operations for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Wetlands are not only internationally important, they are important in the communities we live in.”
Daily Kos 5/12/13
Costa Introduces Legislation To Strip ESA Protections For Delta Fish
Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) has introduced legislation to exempt the Central Valley and State Water projects from Delta pumping restrictions required under the Endangered Species Act to protect Central Valley salmon and Delta smelt.
Costa claimed the “More Water and Security for Californians Act” would “significantly increase” the water supply in the Valley and growers who receive water from the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP) would see greater “water security.”
Determined kids in small California town push for plastic bag ban
You may have read about some hardworking, smart, and civic-minded students who, back in 2011 and 2012, fought to keep their local river park open. Fought and won, actually. Well, students from that same school, Grass Valley Charter in Grass Valley, Calif., are now on to another battle — with the help of students from other area schools, they want to push Nevada County to put a ban on single-use plastic bags and start charging for paper bags. These kids are unstoppable.