News of the Bay: January 31, 2014

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

San Francisco Chronicle 1/28/14
Kicking cigarette butts out of California is aim of bill
Walk along any beach or through any park and chances are they’ll be there by the dozens: the tan, discarded remains of a cigarette.
Cigarettes aren’t healthy for people. But when the butts, also known as filters, are thrown on the ground, they too are harmful – to humans, wildlife and the environment. Studies show that their non-biodegradable nature and toxic chemical makeup can contaminate waterways, poison fish and birds, and be a health danger to children who try to eat them.
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News of the Bay
San Francisco Chronicle 1/28/14
Snowy plovers a welcome surprise at Alameda beach
It’s not just joggers, dogs and kite-flyers who love the new sand at Crown Beach in Alameda.
A few surprise guests – of the nearly endangered variety – apparently love the new beach as well.
To the shock of naturalists and bird watchers, a flock of threatened western snowy plovers has taken up residence on one of the Bay Area’s busiest beaches. For the past few months, since the East Bay Regional Park District dumped 82,000 cubic yards of new sand on the beach, the fist-size shorebirds have been skittering across the dunes and pecking at bugs, oblivious to the frolicking hordes around them.
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Environmental Health News 1/30/14
Banned Scotchguard chemical still contaminating San Francisco seals
In a shallow arm of the bay, where Pacific tides cause hardly a ripple, hundreds of harbor seals lounge, mate and bear young. With placid expressions on bewhiskered faces and bulky bodies reclining on shorelines, the seals belie a disturbing burden they carry.
Living on the edge of a metropolitan hub, these seals are under scrutiny by scientists. There’s a mystery afoot in San Francisco Bay: A manmade chemical, pulled from production 12 years ago, is still turning up at high levels in the seals. Once the prime ingredient in Scotchgard, a chemical known as PFOS has remained elevated in these harbor seals even though it has declined in sea birds that share their fish diet.
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KCET 1/23/14
Fish and Wildlife Service drops $3 million on California wetlands
Four coastal wetlands in California will benefit from $3 million in grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will go toward preserving and restoring wildlife habitat, the agency announced Thursday. The grants will be added to another $2.3 million in matching funds from state and local governments, private land owners, and conservation groups.
The money will be used to buy unprotected wetlands and adjoining uplands, as well as working to heal damage to already protected land. Two of the wetland areas are in the southern end of San Francisco Bay, with the others in San Luis Obispo and Humboldt counties.
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