Weekly Roundup October 18, 2013

Check out this week’s roundup for breaking news affecting San Francisco Bay

Bay Nature 10/15/13
Keeping Cigarette Butt Litter out of the Bay
Save the Bay estimates that each year, over three billion cigarette butts are littered in the Bay Area. Tossed onto the road or flicked onto the sidewalk, they will eventually make their way into our creeks and waterways, ending their journey in the Bay.  While cities and counties have begun tackling the problem of single-use plastic bags, cigarette butt litter remains a pervasive problem.
“Three billion is really a staggering number of cigarette butts that are littered every year,” said Allison Chan who manages Save The Bay’s pollution prevention program. “And they’re not just your average litter—they’re toxic, plastic litter.”
Read more>>

weekly roundup

Contra Costa Times 10/14/13
Richmond reopens Point Molate Beach for first time in more than a decade
Tarnel Abbott sat on a hunk of knotty driftwood Monday morning and listened to the water gently lap at the shore.
It was the first time in more than a decade the Richmond resident could enjoy the sights and sounds of Point Molate Beach Park.
“Being here takes me back to when I was a kid and we’d have picnics here,” Abbott said, her dog pawing at the wet sand near her feet. “To reopen the beach today, after all the city went through…I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.”
Read more>>

San Francisco Chronicle 10/14/13
Who Knew? S.F. arena will be a wonder
I had serious reservations about the Warriors’ plan for a new arena on the San Francisco waterfront.
Mayor Ed Lee made me see the light. Or the torch.
Lee, trying to help small-minded people like me expand our vision, recently said, “New York has the Statue of Liberty, now we’re going to have our arena. It’s going to have the same kind of impact, drawing in hundreds of thousands of people to appreciate the waterfront.”
About time! Right now the only stuff the San Francisco waterfront has for visual impact is a red bridge, a gray bridge, a fixer-upper prison and the ho-hum backdrop of the city’s 49 square miles of hills, with Victorian mansions and a pyramid.
Read more>>

Weekly Roundup | May 31, 2013

newspaperCheck out this week’s Weekly Roundup for breaking news affecting San Francisco Bay.

San Jose Mercury News 5/28/13
Chinook salmon study breaks ground in bay, Delta
On a sunny morning in the state capital, Mike McHenry, a fisherman out of Pillar Point Harbor in San Mateo County, guided his boat to a dock on the Sacramento River and readied its 10,000-gallon hold for some special cargo.
In about 10 minutes the vessel was teeming with fish, their speckled backs presenting various shades of greens, browns and yellows. Soon after, McHenry would steer his boat 109 miles to Fort Baker, just east of the Golden Gate Bridge, completing the latest phase of a groundbreaking experiment involving one of California’s most vital and popular fish, the Chinook salmon.
Read more>>

Marietta Daily Journal 5/24/13
Plastic ocean debris the target of new California bill
It’s a common sight on the nation’s beaches: among the sand, sea foam and gnarled kelp lay plastic bottles, bags and other garbage.
Each year cleanup crews throughout the U.S. collect millions of pounds of plastic trash from beaches and coastal waterways, with the biggest numbers coming from California’s 1,100-mile coastline.
Read more>>

The Sacramento Bee 5/27/13
California beaches brace for Japanese tsunami debris
It’s an unseasonably warm day, and Avila Beach is packed with sunbathers and tourists. Scott Milner attracts more than a few curious glances as he steps onto the beach holding a Ludlum radiation scanner and proceeds to take background readings next to the pier.
Read more>>

Pressdemocrat.com 5/29/13
High mercury levels in fish caught at popular Laguna de Santa Rosa spot
Fish caught at a popular fishing spot in the Laguna de Santa Rosa between Sebastopol and Santa Rosa had unacceptably high levels of mercury, well above the threshold where health officials normally recommend against eating them, according to a new state survey.
Read more>>

Daily Kos 5/7/13
Sierra Club California Condemns Governor’s Delta Policy
The campaign by Delta advocates to stop the construction of twin peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta received a big boost today when Sierra Club California called on Governor Jerry Brown to abandon his “out-of-step position” on the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.
Read more>>

Wonky Wednesday | Wetlands, Barrier Islands, and Oyster Reefs: Buffering the Next Superstorm

Long Island Barrier Island
This image was taken crossing over Fire Island from the Atlantic Ocean and approaching MacArthur Airport, Long Island, NY. Photo: Ken Konrad bluesguy682000@yahoo.com

Less than a day after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, Gov. Chris Christie tweeted to his fellow New Jersey residents, “We will rebuild the Shore. It may not be the same, but we will rebuild.” Reality TV icon Snooki and her fellow cast members from “Jersey Shore” followed suit, joining a large fundraising effort to rebuild the boardwalks and amusement parks that define New Jersey’s coastal communities. Christie’s firm pledge and Snooki’s fundraising efforts are evidence of the human capacity to be resilient in the wake of Sandy.

Yet we must look to the causes of the disaster and adapt to the changing conditions of our climate and our rising oceans. Are there places that just don’t make sense for development?

Rewind human history a couple hundred years and we find that the New Jersey shoreline, now filled to the ocean’s edge with beach bungalows, theme parks, and mansions with oceanfront views, was once void of development and rimmed with vast acres of wetlands, strings of small barrier islands, and offshore oyster reefs. These ecological gems are nature’s solution to storm events, protecting the mainland from erosion and flooding.

Wetlands are the lungs of the ocean, absorbing large volumes of water runoff during rainstorms and tidal inflow. Barrier islands act as flexible walls that separate the mainland from the sea, changing shape in response to storms, tides, and winds as they minimize the force of these natural events. Oyster reefs attenuate storm energy, slowing down waves before they hit land. While these ecological barriers have slowly disappeared over the past two centuries due to fill, water pollutants, and large-scale developments, their value has only increased.

In New Jersey, along with so many heavily-urbanized coastal regions – such as the San Francisco Bay Area – the lack of sufficient natural barriers to storm surges is in need of serious attention.  New Jersey is the country’s most densely populated state, with 60% of its 8.6 million residents living along its coastline – including more than 236,000 people within 5 feet of the high-tide line. With sea levels expected to rise by 15 inches by 2050, the number of people that are impacted by heavy storms – not to mention large scale disasters like Sandy – will increase exponentially.

Hurricane Sandy is our second loud wake-up call, coming only 7 years after Hurricane Katrina. If we are to survive the future of rising seas and intense storms, our relationship to Mother Nature must change from coercion and command to adaption and flexibility. Preserving and restoring our natural buffers – wetlands, barrier islands, coral reefs and more – is one of the best tools we have available.