Gov. Brown Joins Huge Outpouring of Measure AA

Yes on AA

With less than two weeks until Election Day (Tuesday, June 7), we at Save The Bay are doing everything we can to communicate with voters the reasons why we hope you’ll join us in supporting Measure AA, the Clean and Healthy Bay ballot measure.

But we can’t do it alone. Having the support of local elected officials, community leaders, and groups that voters trust has helped us tremendously in communicating why Measure AA is so important. After months of hard work throughout the region, we and our partners have amassed an impressive list of public endorsements for the measure.

In fact, we recently got one of our biggest endorsements to date: Governor Jerry Brown. Having his support for a measure affecting just the Bay Area is a testament to the importance of Measure AA and the benefits it will yield for the entire region.

Gov. Brown joins a list of more than 1,400 elected officials, organizations, and individuals who are supporting Measure AA. The breadth and depth of this list is so extensive, it’s worth breaking it down by the numbers.

Measure AA is supported by:

14 Members of Congress (current and former), including:

  • Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer
  • Nearly every Bay Area U.S. Representative
  • Former Congressmen George Miller, Pete McCloskey, and John Burton, who is currently serving as the Chair of the California Democratic Party

38 Mayors (current and former), including:

  • The mayors of the three biggest Bay Area cities – Mayors Sam Liccardo of San Jose, Ed Lee of San Francisco, and Libby Schaaf of Oakland
  • Mayors of cities in every Bay Area county, as far north as St. Helena in Napa County (Mayor Alan Galbraith) and as far south as Gilroy in Santa Clara County (Mayor Perry Woodward)

32 Members of the State Legislature and Other Statewide Offices (current and former), including Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, and nearly every member of the Bay Area state legislative delegation

220+ Local Elected Officials, including members of city councils, regional park districts, local school boards, and more

40 Individual County Supervisors representing every Bay Area county

4 Boards of Supervisors in San Mateo, Marin, Sonoma, and Alameda Counties

14 Cities, Public Agencies, and Associations, representing all geographic subregions of the Bay Area

72 Environmental and Environmental Justice Groups, including state chapters of leading national groups like the Sierra Club, Audubon California, The Nature Conservancy, and the California League of Conservation Voters, and leading environmental justice groups like Asian Pacific Environmental Network and Green For All

3 Foundations doing important philanthropic work on open space and other issues

23 Business Groups and Businesses representing all corners of the Bay Area and including four local Chambers of Commerce and the San Francisco Giants

17 Labor Organizations, including every Central Labor Council in the Bay Area, and several of the region’s largest and most prominent Local Unions and District Councils

22 Community Organizations and Civic Groups, including the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area, the California NAACP, SPUR, and California Interfaith Power and Light

46 Political Party Organizations, including Democratic groups of Latino, African-American, Asian-American, LGBTQ, Jewish, and women voters, as well as every county Democratic Party

14 Newspapers, representing every major newspaper in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Marin Independent Journal, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, San Mateo Daily Journal, and more

This remarkable group joins the more than 800 community leaders and neighbors who have endorsed Measure AA, a list that is growing by the day.

All of this tremendous support puts us in the best possible position to win on June 7, but it will still require an all-out effort. The two-thirds threshold needed to win means that every conversation about the measure counts. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Send an email to your friends and family about why you’re supporting Measure AA! If you need a template, visit our website for a sample email and social media posts.
  • Sign up to volunteer! We have thousands of voters to call before Election Day to make sure they show up and vote for Measure AA. We are hosting three nights of phone banking at our office in Oakland next week and on Monday, June 6.
  • Remember to vote Yes on AA on June 7!

Onward to victory in two weeks!

100,000 plants and counting

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It’s hard to visualize what over 100,000 California native plants looks like. But it’s exciting to think of the habitat they will create when fully established at our restoration sites around the San Francisco Bay.

Save The Bay’s Habitat Restoration team is very proud of the accomplishments made this past planting season, reaching our most ambitious goals to date with a grand total of 103,770 plants installed from October 2015 to April 2016.

A bulk of these plants were propagated and planted for the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee, a project totaling 70,000 plants in itself. This innovative project is a multi-pronged approach to filtering waste water, mitigating floods due to sea level rise, and creating native habitat along the Bay’s edge. But it was no easy job installing 70,000 plants by hand. With long days in the field, rain or shine, hands and knees in the mud, the restoration team worked tirelessly to complete this project, and that we did. I’m happy to say the site is developing well and the native plants installed this winter are starting to spread over the horizontal levee’s surface.

Additionally, over 30,000 plants were also planted at our ongoing restoration sites around the Bay including the MLK Shoreline in Oakland, the Palo Alto Baylands, and Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Hayward.

But regardless of however many native plants were propagated and planted at our sites, what’s truly inspiring is the community that joins together to make this possible. From our own staff, to 3rd grade students, to company employees, to families and college students, more than 6,000 volunteers each year help physically improve the shoreline of the San Francisco Bay, restoring vital habitat lost over time.

With the plethora of environmental problems we face, it gives me hope to see not all damage is irreversible; that with motivation, dedication, and getting your hands in the dirt, we can make real change.

Join us in the field this summer to help these native plants thrive! Sign up to volunteer.

Restoration projects bring birds back to SF Bay

The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project has restored about 3,000 acres of habitat in the past 12 years, and the bird population has doubled. Photo courtesy of Nasa.
The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project has restored about 3,000 acres of habitat in the past 12 years, and the local bird population has doubled. With adequate funding, this project would restore 15,000 acres. Measure AA would fund critical restoration projects like this one. Photo courtesy of NASA.

The ambitious South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the West Coast, is already seeing some impressive results, according to biologists who have surveyed the area.

The populations of ducks and shorebirds in the area have doubled over 12 years, from 100,000 in 2002 to 200,000 in 2014, according to a report issued in October by researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies.

“It shows that what’s been done so far appears to be working. It’s really great,” said Susan De La Cruz, a wildlife biologist with the USGS who did much of the research told the Mercury News.

The success of the California Coastal Conservancy’s South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is an example of how wetland restoration can improve habitat for wildlife such as birds, fish, seals, and sharks, in addition to reducing the risk of flooding due to sea level rise associated with climate change,” says Donna Ball, Habitat Restoration Director for Save The Bay.

Historically, diking off wetlands along the bay’s shore for production of salt was a major factor in losing much of the bay’s tidal marshland.  Starting in the 1850s, salt production became a major industry, covering some 16,500 acres, most of which was owned by Cargill Inc. In 2003, Cargill sold 15,000 acres to state and federal agencies and private foundations, which drew up plans to restore the salt ponds to a more natural condition.

Already the South Bay restoration project has reconnected about 3,000 acres of salt ponds to the bay with the goal of revitalizing them as tidal marshes.  When complete, the project will have restored 15,000 acres of former salt ponds to wetlands and other vital habitats.

The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is scheduled to be completed over the next 50 years if funding is available. Measure AA on the June 7 ballot is designed to generate $500 million over the next 20 years to provide funds for this project and many others throughout the Bay Area.

All around San Francisco Bay, there are more than 30,000 acres awaiting restoration. Your YES vote for Measure AA will help provide the funding needed for many of these much-needed projects.

How Measure AA could benefit your county

Restoration Map
Examples of projects that could be eligible for funds generated by Measure AA. Map courtesy of San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority

Measure AA for a Clean and Healthy Bay on the June ballot would generate, via a modest $12 parcel tax, badly needed funding for restoration of San Francisco Bay wetlands to benefit people, wildlife and the Bay Area economy.  Here are some examples of specific projects throughout the Bay Area that could be funded by Measure AA:

Alameda County: At the Alameda Point Seaplane Lagoon, vast paved areas could be transformed into ecologically rich habitats and wetlands with visitor amenities, including picnic and camping areas, a pedestrian and bicycle promenade, and water access points for boats.

Contra Costa County: At the North Richmond Shoreline and San Pablo Marsh, projects could  include improvement of endangered California Ridgway’s Rail habitat, removal of imported fill, establishment of transitional habitats between the marsh and upland areas, and development of public access for wildlife viewing and education.

Marin County: At Richardson Bay, funds could go to sand and gravel bay beach designs to combat shoreline erosion due to sea level rise. Funds could also go to protecting one of San Francisco Bay’s largest eelgrass beds, which provide food and shelter for fish and invertebrates and feeding grounds for migratory water birds.

Napa County: Funds could go toward implementation of the Napa County Youth Ecology Corps, which aims to train young adults in natural resource management. Crews would work on invasive species management and habitat enhancement projects to improve the resilience of tidal wetlands and buffer against sea level rise.

San Francisco: At China Basin Park, just across from the Giants’ AT&T Park, funding could be used for design and construction of a new, more natural shoreline to replace the current rip-rap. This would create habitat, improve public access and protect the park from sea level rise.

San Mateo County: At the popular Coyote Point Recreation Area, funding could be provided for the Eastern Promenade Project including a beach restoration project designed to protect the shoreline against  future sea level rise as well as against high winds and constant wave action. Projects could also include a trail from the Western Promenade to the Bluff trail on the Coyote Point knoll, along with visitor amenities, such as a new restroom and picnic areas.

Santa Clara County: The Alviso Ponds, part of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, could include over 700 acres of wetland restoration in the Mountain View area, restoration of over 1,400 acres of wetlands in Alviso to improve fish habitat and water quality, enhancements to over 250 acres of wetlands in the Milpitas area, and new trails and interpretive features.

Sonoma County: At Sears Point, funds could go toward completion of tidal marsh restoration, improving habitat at newly restored wetlands to encourage the return of rare and endangered species  such as the Ridgway’s rail and the salt marsh harvest mouse, and development of a visitor center at the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Solano County: At the Benicia shoreline, funds would go to restoration of wetlands and beach habitats, protection of adjacent infrastructure, installation, and management of public trails and protection of wetlands and Bay from urban stormwater.

These restoration projects represent examples of the unprecedented opportunity for Bay Area residents to accelerate improvements all around the region, but the missing piece is funding. To   generate badly needed funding for large-scale Bay restoration, your YES vote is needed on Measure AA on June 7.

Mother’s Day by the Bay

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Save The Bay moms Kyung Hee Egoian, Robin Erickson, and Maria Boerner spent the morning volunteering with their children at Oro Loma.

This Mother’s Day we want to celebrate our Save the Bay Moms and the work they put in not only in saving the Bay, but in raising their children in this wonderful place.

Ever since I became a Mom I wanted to do something to leave this world a better place for my children. I am fortunate enough to live by the San Francisco Bay and work with Save The Bay. For me, there is hardly a better way to make this world a better place than to start in my own backyard. At least once a year I take my children to one of Save The Bay’s Restoration events. I want them to appreciate the San Francisco Bay in a way that goes beyond what they see. In honor of Mother’s Day, some of Save The Bay’s Mothers were able to join me with their kids and we spent a Saturday morning pulling weeds. This took place at our restoration site Oro Loma guided by one of our Restoration Project Specialists, Jack States.

Weeding may not sound like a lot until you learn that the native plants these weeds are forcing out are crucial to the environment and the wildlife in that area. Weeds covering these native plants are taking away water and nutrients, making it impossible for the native plants to survive if the weeds aren’t removed. Save The Bay relies on our numerous volunteers who show up every weekend to help with some of these challenges. It was truly satisfying to watch these Moms and kids work side by side and enjoy themselves at the same time.

We asked Save The Bay’s Moms, “What does it mean to you to be a Mom raising your kids by the San Francisco Bay?”

“It means teaching my son that he has a role to play in making this beautiful place we live better than it is now.  From recycling and putting trash in its place so it stays out of storm drains, to recreating by the Bay, to the importance of wetlands; I want him to have an appreciation of how much the bay gives to us and the animals that call it home.” – Kate Berry, Associate Director of Development

“The San Francisco Bay is our playground, our science lab, and our church. I can’t imagine raising my son anywhere else.” – Robin Erickson, Director of Finance & Administration

Lastly, we would like to especially honor and remember the mothers of our movement: our founders Esther Gulick, Kay Kerr and Sylvia McLaughlin. Without their dedication and persistence there may not be a San Francisco Bay for Moms to enjoy with their children today.

From all of us here at Save The Bay, Happy Mother’s Day!

Join us in voting YES on Measure AA this June 7th to ensure that our children and our children’s children will have a clean and healthy Bay to enjoy. 

Take Action Now: Pledge to vote YES on Measure AA for a Clean and Healthy Bay.