Guess Who’s Coming Back to the Bay!

I’m always stunned by what I find in my own backyard. Living near and commuting across the Bay, I keep stumbling on local treasures — an amazing view of the harbor from Noe Valley, or the Bay Bridge shimmering against the bright lights of rush hour traffic. I’m also discovering that I share a home with some surprising creatures- buffalo in Golden Gate Park, parrots in North Beach, even a river otter in the Sutro Baths.

But most surprising of all to me are the creatures that made their home here before I ever did, disappeared during World War II, stayed away for decades, and then one day, showed up under the Golden Gate Bridge.


San Francisco Bay was once home to harbor porpoises, where they dwelt happily for hundreds of years. But in the early 1940s, they fled the Bay, which had become too dangerous and polluted to call home. Since then, a whole generation of Bay Area folks has grown up here, never knowing that porpoises once lived, played, and thrived right in their backyard. Now, more than 70 years later, they’re coming back. 

Why, after all this time, are they returning? Early signs point to better water quality and the overall health of the Bay as the most important factor. So far, nearly 300 porpoises have been spotted under the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge, one of their favorite spots for fishing… and mating.

It’s exciting to think that these porpoises may be the first of many harbor porpoises that make their home in the San Francisco Bay.  But the truth is, this is a small and delicate start. There’s still much to be done to improve the water quality of the Bay. If many of us still don’t want to swim in and fish in it, why would a large mammal, sitting at the top of the food chain?

That’s why we’re asking the San Francisco Water Board to help us clean up the Bay, by standing up to the major corporations- like C&H Sugar and Tesoro Refining- who are polluting our backyard and endangering these porpoises. If you want to see even more porpoises coming home to the Bay, tell the San Francisco Regional Water Board to stand up to polluters right now. Better yet, spread the word. Help us reach our goal of 5,000 signatures by Earth Day (April 22nd).


The Bay is such a big part of what makes living here special- why we’re some of the happiest people on the planet. But after suffering years of pollution, shoreline encroachment, and neglect, the Bay is not in the shape it used to be in. And that’s why we’ve launched For The Bay: to bring people like you and me together to reclaim the treasure of our region, the San Francisco Bay –our backyard, our playground, home to diverse creatures, like the harbor porpoises.


Volunteer Spotlight: Yvonne and Jessica Cramer

Yvonne and Jessica
Yvonne and Jessica had a great time volunteering at the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Annivesary Festival on May 27, 2012.

Meet Yvonne Cramer and her daughter Jessica from Foster City. They joined us at the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary. (Check out the photos here!)

How many times have you volunteered with Save The Bay?
This was my first time volunteering with Save The Bay.

Do you have a favorite site or experience?
My daughter and I had a fun experience helping at Save The Bay’s booth during the Golden Gate 75th Anniversary Celebration at Crissy Field. I wore a seal costume while walking around entertaining the crowd. My daughter helped out in the booth. We both had a lot of fun.

How did you get involved with Save The Bay?
I heard about it through a co-worker who she and her children volunteered in the Palo Alto Baylands. She had such a great experience and recommended it.

What is the best thing about volunteering with Save The Bay?
It gives me and my daughter an opportunity to spend some of our free time having fun together while helping in the community.

What other activities or hobbies do you enjoy?
I enjoy gardening, playing volleyball and arts & crafts.

If you could be one Bay plant or animal, what would it be and why?
Sea otter. They are so cute with button eyes and beautiful thick fur.

Who is your environmental hero?
My husband. He educated me in the importance of recycling.

What is your favorite thing about the San Francisco Bay Area?
The scenic drive and many beautiful preserved historic stuctures.

What is your first/fondest memory of San Francisco Bay? 
A field trip I took in elementary school. We walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was fascinating as a child.

Volunteer with Save The Bay – sign up online!

Daily Digest

“The San Francisco Bay salt ponds in which Cargill’s proposed new city would be built was once wetlands, and could still be turned into around 1,400 acres of wetlands,” writes Henry Ruehl, as he lists many critiques of Cargill’s development in The Daily Journal. Plus, Hermosa Beach passes a polystyrene ban. And as San Francisco prepares to celebrate the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary, the Chronicle shares some favorite historical photos.

San Mateo Daily Journal 3/29/2012
OP-ED: Development on the Bay: A bad idea
I have noticed that the developers behind Cargill’s proposed “Saltworks” project in Redwood City prefer to talk about their plans without mentioning the San Francisco Bay itself. While I don’t work in the construction or real estate industries, I do know that the favorite slogan of Realtors is “Location, location, location.” I therefore believe that to talk about a development of this magnitude requires some coverage of the proposed location.

The Daily Breeze 3/28/2012
Hermosa Beach bans polystyrene food containers after boisterous debate
The Hermosa Beach City Council narrowly approved a ban on polystyrene food packaging Tuesday night after a boisterous debate that lasted more than two hours.

San Francisco Chronicle 3/29/2012
Send us your Golden Gate Bridge photos!
This week’s Let’s Go to the Morgue! comes from the Golden Gate Bridge files. I looked at several hundred archived bridge images in the Chronicle photo morgue earlier this week, and picked the 16 that carried the most emotional impact for me. Thirteen are in the gallery above and three more are below.
View photos >>