Pamper Mother Nature this Mother’s Day

Mother and daughter planting native seedlings
Show your love for Mother Nature this Mother’s Day.
Photo Credit: Dan Sullivan

For most of you, this week’s to do list includes buying chocolate, flowers, and cards for the mothers in your life.  After all, mothers deserve a special day of recognition for everything they do for us.  But what about Mother Nature?

Mother Nature provides a myriad of incredible benefits that we all enjoy and usually take for granted (sound familiar moms?).  Scientists remind us that Mother Nature regulates climate, purifies water, grows food, and provides energy without asking for much in return.  And just like our own moms, Mother Nature’s beauty is truly unparalleled.

If you are a mom, or if you know a mom, you know what it takes to provide for just one family.  Mother Nature supports an estimated 8.7 million species!  The San Francisco Bay alone supports more than 400 species of wildlife.

So while you are showing your Mom some love this week, show Mother Nature some love too:  live green and volunteer to protect and restore our own amazing bit of Mother Nature, the San Francisco Bay.

TAKE ACTION:  Sign up to volunteer to restore our wetlands or volunteer to help us spread the word!

Weekly Roundup | April 5, 2013

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

Palo Alto Patch 4/3/13
Save The Bay Welcomes Estuary Scientist Sam Luoma to Board of Directors
Save The Bay, the largest regional organization working to protect and restore San Francisco Bay, announced today that Dr. Sam Luoma has joined its Board of Directors. Dr. Luoma comes to Save The Bay with a distinguished career in Bay estuary and water science.
Read More>>

High Country News 3/21/13
Uncertain science in CA’s Bay Delta
In 2009, a reporter for CBS’s 60 Minutes asked the then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger a hard question about California’s water. The state had been battling over the fate of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta for decades, and, with the Governator’s encouragement, work was progressing on the new Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The plan was supposed to supply water to Central Valley farms and Southern California cities while also protecting Delta fish and farmers. It was a tall order, and 60 Minutes wanted to know if Schwarzenegger thought he could have it all.
Read More>>

Mercury News 4/4/13
Bay Bridge tanker collision report: Pilot committed ‘misconduct,’ made risky change in course
The pilot of a 752-foot-long oil tanker that collided in heavy fog with the Bay Bridge three months ago committed “misconduct” by making a risky last-minute change in course, state investigators concluded Thursday.
The pilot, Captain Guy Kleess, failed to effectively communicate with other members of the ship’s crew and “lost awareness of what was happening around him,” an investigative committee of the State Board of Pilot Commissioners concluded.
Read More>>

Marin Independent Journal 4/2/13
Assemblyman Levine’s bill banning plastic bags passes first committee
A plastic grocery bag ban proposed by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, has overcome its first hurdle and is headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Assembly Bill 158 was approved Monday by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata. Chesbro helped co-author Levine’s bill along with Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park, and Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.
Read More>>

National Geographic 3/29/13
RISE: Climate Change and Coastal Communities
Most of the great cities, the world over, are built along the water. So are many towns, hamlets, and villages. But sea level rise and extreme weather, both fueled by climate change, threaten to reclaim coastal lands and the communities that are built on them. The destruction of New York’s shoreline, in the wake of Super Storm Sandy, has made this all too clear. The RISE series looks at this international issue through the lens of a single place: the San Francisco Bay and the 7 million people who live and work in cities that ring its shores. Moving beyond the headlines, RISE asks hard questions — and finds some interesting answers.
Read More>>

San Jose Mercury News 4/3/13
Sickly sea lion pups come north for treatment in Marin
About 30 malnourished California sea lion pups have arrived at the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands for treatment from Southern California, where treatment centers have been overwhelmed by hundreds of the sick animals. Since January, strandings of California sea lion pups have been high in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.
Read More>>

Fairfield-Suison Daily Republic 4/3/13
The reasons why to garden with native plants
In the Bay Area’s residential areas, 20 to 50 percent of the land remains open, meaning it has not been paved over or covered by structures. All of it is potential habitat. Wherever there’s soil and air, organisms are living. Insects hunt and pollinate, plants extend their roots downward and stems upward, and winged or furry creatures eat and sleep. Habitat does not only mean undeveloped lands, it means backyards, front yards and yards with planted containers. You can create your own backyard habitat by planting native plants that invite wildlife. Everyone appreciates being in a garden that is beautiful, but a garden with bees, birds, butterflies and dragonflies is an interesting, peaceful place to spend time.
Read More>>



Notes from the Field | Rain, Rain Come and Stay

Mud SnowmanThe last few weeks have been quite soggy around the Bay. From record King Tides to winter storms that packed a punch, Bay Area residents have become well aware that the winter season is upon us. These storms have wreacked havoc on our morning commutes, created the always frustrating soggy sock dilemma, and have even flooded low lying areas around the bay.

But, the Bay needs this super soaking! As a Restoration Project Specialist, I see first-hand how much Save The Bay’s work is dependent on wet weather. The rain means planting season has begun! Volunteers from around the bay have been diligently working to plant native plants in our baylands.

This holiday season is an exciting time to be by the Bay! Volunteers are completing the restoration process that community volunteers, schools, and local businesses have been a part of since the early spring. Volunteers have been there every step of the way–from collecting and sowing seeds, to transplanting and caring for the little seedlings in Save The Bay’s two native plant nurseries.

So as you and your family and friends are coming together during this special time of year, all bundled up next to a nice warm fire and with a cup of hot chocolate, think about how much more you will appreciate the warmth after you come out to one of Save The Bay’s six restoration sites and brave the wintery weather to help us plant a few of the 30,000 seedlings that are just itching to go in the ground. Bring out your family and give back to the Bay! Sign up now and get in on the fun.

–Jack States, Restoration Project Specialist

From a Creek to the Bay: Restoring Local Waterways

Strawberry Creek on the UC Berkeley campus. Credit:

While studying in Berkeley for the past four years, I was far enough removed from the shoreline that the Bay seemed to be nothing but a distant thought: what lay under the Bay Bridge when I occasionally headed into the City in my Tina Turner gold sequined dress. It turns out there was a little piece of the Bay right under my nose, quite literally.

Strawberry Canyon Creek runs right through the UC campus, as well as under many Berkeley neighborhoods. As an Environmental Science student I participated in numerous creek clean-ups, removing invasive ivy. The creek winds its way down through Berkeley and enters the Bay at the Berkeley Marina where it becomes part of the larger Bay estuary.

The Strawberry Creek Restoration Program began in 1987 with the goal of reintroducing native fish species after decades of sewage pollution. Within three years the goal was met, yet efforts to improve the creek quality continue today. There are several public restoration events each season devoted to tearing out the invasive ivy, which quickly dominates the landscape if left unattended.

Restoring this little water way sufficed as my connection to the Bay for 4 years, although I didn’t realize it. Many of us picture the Bay as the large body of water that we ride under or drive over. But the entire Bay area is full of little waterways that serve as reminders that we are never very far from San Francisco Bay.

The work done at Strawberry Creek mirrors the work done at Save The Bay restoration sites. Removing invasive species and trash, and helping the return of native flora and fauna are at the heart of both efforts. Whether removing English Ivy near the Eucalyptus Grove on the UC campus or Wild Mustard along the MLK shoreline, the Bay is slowly being returned to the way it once was.

Do you want to reconnect with the Bay? Volunteer with us.

Notes from the Field | Waiting for Rain

Nursery MLK
Our native plant nurseries are filled to the brim with native seedlings waiting for planting season to begin.

I spent most of my life in Washington State before moving to the Bay area 7 years ago and I am used to the stormy winter weather of the Pacific Northwest. The people who know me best are aware that I love winter in the Bay area because I miss the rain and gray skies that have been so much a part of my life, and that I look forward to the first really big storm of the year with great anticipation and excitement.

This is also a time of year for great anticipation and excitement at Save The Bay. The Habitat Restoration Team has spent much of the spring, summer, and fall seasons collecting local native plant seeds, propagating plants, and carefully nurturing seedlings in our two native plant nurseries under the guidance of our Nursery Manager Doug Serrill. With the help of thousands of volunteers we currently have over 30,000 plants ready to go in the ground as soon as the first raindrops start falling in earnest. We have carefully watered our plantings throughout the year in our nursery and by installing the plants in tandem with the rains we give them the best opportunity to establish and grow and minimize the stress due to transplanting. With an adequate water supply during transplanting and during the first winter, the plants develop roots that are better able to survive the warm summers that are characteristic of our Bay area Mediterranean climate.

Our restoration staff and dedicated volunteers have diligently prepared our planting sites by removing non-native and invasive plant species, and our Senior Scientist, Laura Wainer has developed a planting strategy for each of our restoration sites to maximize native plant cover and diversity and to create valuable transition zone habitat at the edge of salt marshes around San Francisco Bay.

Planting at SFQ
Don’t miss out on the joys of winter — come plant with us!

In other words – we are ready to go! Planting season at Save The Bay officially begins when the first significant storms of the year start rolling into the Bay area. This is my first planting season as the Habitat Restoration Director at Save The Bay, and I can’t wait to share in the excitement of installing the first plants of the season into the ground. Don’t be left out of the fun and excitement. With rains predicted for the coming weekend our planting season is upon us. We have 30,000 plants to install over the next 3-4 months. Come join us for a planting event and together we can celebrate the start of the rainy season!