Mice and Marshes: Protecting the Bay I Love

Arrowhead Marsh, taken by Jim Moyers
Arrowhead Marsh, taken by Jim Moyers

I have loved salt marshes ever since I first stepped into one during a college wetlands class in Washington. I breathed in earthy scents. I felt mud squish beneath my boots. I watched birds fly low over the water. Now, the Bay wetlands nourish my spirit, and I am truly grateful they are the place I call home.

As the Habitat Restoration Director at Save The Bay, I am proud that my work leading volunteer and education programs can directly benefit nearby wildlife. Our efforts provide critical habitat for endangered species like the salt marsh harvest mouse. But we never lose sight of the big picture.

Restoration staff and volunteers working on the Oro Loma Project
Restoration staff and volunteers working on the Oro Loma Project

Recently, we collaborated with other scientists on the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Project – an innovative levee that mimics wetland habitats. Our expert restoration team joined more than 5,000 Save The Bay volunteers to construct the site’s giant outdoor nursery and plant more than 70,000 native seedlings.

The potential benefits are profound, since wetland marshes act like sponges, soaking up water as it rises. If replicated, this horizontal levee model could provide extensive flood protection and create thousands of acres of habitat around San Francisco Bay.

Right now, our Bay faces a triple threat of pollution, sea-level rise and habitat loss. Scientists estimate it needs 100,000 acres of wetlands to be healthy and sustainable. Today, only 40,000 acres exist.

With help from our generous supporters, we can continue working with partners to make significant progress toward that 100,000 acre mark.

The Bay is the heart of my home. Together, we can protect this beautiful resource and all that it offers diverse communities, vibrant plants, and countless animals.

With sincere thanks,

Donna Ball
Habitat Restoration Director

Weekly Roundup September 14, 2012

weekly roundupThis week, we announced our 6th annual list of Bay Trash Hot Spots, creeks and shorelines that are so polluted they are in violation of the Clean Water Act. Check out the coverage below. As tens of thousands of volunteers prepare for tomorrow’s Coastal Cleanup Day, they may find tsunami debris and tiny plastic pellets present an extra challenge to clean up. Beyond plastic pollution, a strong case against a peripheral tunnel around the Delta. Finally, take a look at this reminder of the Bay that we are saving — a great place for birdwatching along the Hayward Regional Shoreline.

San Francisco Chronicle 9/12/2012
Coyote Creek tops list of dirty waterways
Forget the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We have our own version right here in the Bay Area.San Jose’s Coyote Creek is so clogged with candy wrappers, diapers, beer bottles, cigarette butts and other debris that, in some spots, one can practically walk across the waterway without getting wet. The creek, one of the two largest waterways in the South Bay, is likely the dirtiest waterway in the Bay Area and has earned the dubious distinction of making Save the Bay’s annual list of “trash hot spots,” which the group is to release Wednesday.

East Bay Express 9/12/2012
Three East Bay “Trash Hot Spots” Violate Clean Water Act
Forty years after Congress passed the Clean Water Act — a landmark law sparked in part by the work of Bay Area environmentalists — five local waterways identified by Oakland nonprofit Save the Bay are so cluttered with trash that they’re in violation of federal law.

KQED 9/13/2012
The 5 Trashiest Places Around the Bay
Save the Bay released its sixth annual list of Bay Trash Hot Spots on Wednesday. The places on the list are such major contributors to the flow of junk into San Francisco Bay that they actually violate the Clean Water Act.

Bay Citizen 9/12/2012
Nonprofit names the five trashiest Bay waterways
According to Oakland nonprofit Save the Bay, five local sites have such high levels of trash that they are in violation of the Clean Water Act.The Clean Water Act, enacted in 1972, lays out regulations for pollution in waterways and the quality of surface water nationwide. This marks the sixth year the organization has identified “Bay Trash Hot Spots” using data reported by the cities, as required by The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Oakland North 9/12/2012
Oakland’s Damon Slough named one of area’s most littered
Damon Slough, a chunk of preserved parkland in Oakland that stretches for more than eight acres along the Martin Luther King Jr. shoreline, was named one of the Bay Area’s top five most littered waterways in 2012, environmental groups said today.

NBC Bay Area 9/12/2012
‘Save the Bay’ Reveals Bay Area Trash Spots
Five Bay Area waterways top the list of “trash hot spots.” Arturo Santiago reports.
Watch >>

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

CBS5 9/12/2012
Some Bay Area Waterways ‘Hot Spots’ For Trash
Some Bay Area waterways, including Coyote Creek in San Jose and the Hayward shoreline, have made Save the Bay’s list of trash “hot spots.” Don Ford reports.
Watch >>

Oakland Tribune 9/10/2012
Will California coast clean-up volunteers find debris from tsunami?
More than a year after a tsunami struck Japan’s east coast, California beachcombers are preparing for a wave of debris expected to hit the U.S. Pacific Coast in coming months.”It’s going to be a growing issue over the coming year as more debris starts to arrive in California,” says Eben Schwartz, California Coastal Commission outreach manager. “It will be a good opportunity to educate Californians about the ongoing marine debris problem.”

Bay Nature 9/12/2012
Tiny plastics pellets a big problem in coastal cleanup
On September 15, tens of thousands of volunteers will participate in California Coastal Cleanup Day, donning work gloves to gather up the tonnage of manmade debris along California’s coastal regions and inland waterways.

Huffington Post 9/13/2012
San Francisco Plastic Bag Ban Gets Go-Ahead From Judge
Superior Court Judge Teri Jackson on Tuesday upheld a San Francisco ordinance that would ban most retail locations in the city from distributing plastic bags and begin charging customers a dime for each paper bag (or comparatively more expensive compostable plastic bag) they use.

Sonoma News 9/10/2012
The case against the peripheral tunnel
We have warned in this space repeatedly about the dangers of rushing an ill-conceived peripheral tunnel around the Delta, but no one has made the case against the tunnel more clearly than Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sport Fishing Protection Alliance, who wrote the following column in the Sept. 5 issue of Capitol Weekly.

San Francisco Chronicle 9/12/2012
Cogswell Marsh Loop: great bird watching
Just minutes from the frenzy of Hayward’s Southland Mall, you’ll find serene Cogswell Marsh, a 250-acre restored tidal saltwater marsh that is part of the Hayward Regional Shoreline. The levees along the shoreline were originally built for salt harvesting, but they were breached in the 1980s, and tidal flow returned to the land.