Spooky Creature Features

It’s almost Halloween! What better way to get into the holiday spirit than to discuss those critters that seek to disturb and horrify us. These are four species that can be found around San Francisco Bay that are noteworthy either due to their appalling eating habitats, by their grotesque appearance, or a combination thereof:

Red-Backed Jumping Spiders

Just as one does not simply walk into Mordor, one does not simply talk about the creepy crawlies without mentioning spiders. When most people think of Halloween spiders, black widows and tarantulas typically come to mind. Even though both can be found in the Bay Area, we instead will be talking about the red-backed jumping spider, or Phidippus johnsoni. This is a small jumping spider that is about a centimeter long. Its most notable feature is its bright red abdomen. Though the red-backed jumping spider may look terrifying, it is harmless to humans. The coloration acts as a disguise. The spiders mimic wasps called velvet ants in order to deter potential predators.

Saltmarsh Dodder

Saltmarsh dodders (Cuscuta  spp.) are a genus of native herbaceous plants. However, unlike most other plants, they aren’t green, don’t have leaves and don’t photosynthesize. Instead, dodder is a holometabolous parasite, meaning that it must rely on a host plant from which to obtain all of its nutrients. Dodders are easily identifiable by their orange coloration and threadlike stems that cover the surfaces of host species. They produce white flowers in the summer months.

Oyster Drill

The Atlantic Oyster Drill (Urosalpinx  cinerea) is a small predatory marine snail measuring only 20-35 mm long. A snail you say? How bad can that be? However, these little guys make up for their small stature with a voracious appetite. As the name suggests, they primarily prey on other mollusks and do so in a gruesome fashion. They use a specialized appendage called a radula to bore a hole in the shell of an unsuspecting mussel or clam. Once they finish, they then proceed to slurp the soft insides out through the hole, leaving only the shell behind!

Turkey Vulture 

Image: Arthur Morris/VIREO

Vultures are another Halloween staple.  A common species found throughout much the United States is the ever-present turkey vulture (Cathartes aura).  Chances are good you’ve seen a few circling overhead while driving on the freeway. Turkey vultures are scavengers and feed on carrion, or decaying flesh. Adult turkey vultures have an excellent sense of smell, allowing them to hone in on fresh roadkill, which they then regurgitate for their hungry brood. Still want that Halloween candy? I didn’t think so.

Save The Bay & Facebook: Bringing the Bay Area Closer Together

Facebook Interns Restoring Wetlands
Facebook Interns Service Day at Bair Island

San Francisco Bay is home to more than 7 million people and is the largest, most valuable estuary on the West Coast. Facebook’s headquarters is located right on the Bay’s beautiful shoreline, and the company has shown its commitment to protecting local habitat and ecosystems —from the innovative 9-acre green roof at its Menlo Park campus to its broader efforts in the Bay Area.

By sponsoring Bay Day 2017, Facebook is helping people all around the Bay celebrate its iconic role in our community, and inspiring us all to better protect this shared natural wonder. Bay Day is San Francisco Bay’s new regional Earth Day. This Bay Day – Saturday, October 7th – is an opportunity to inspire positive environmental actions by connecting communities with immersive, Bay-themed educational and recreational activities.

This is not the first time Facebook and Save The Bay have partnered to protect the Bay. This June, 350 enthusiastic Facebook volunteers came out for a massive Intern Service Day at Bair Island, bringing their incredible work ethic to our three-acre Inner Bair Island restoration site. Facebook’s volunteers completed 100 days of restoration work in just one day.

At Save The Bay, Facebook’s platforms are vital to everything we do, from spreading the word about the Bay-spanning events this Bay Day to engaging citizens with our vision of a clean and healthy Bay.

This Saturday, October 7th, Facebook’s sponsorship is supporting volunteer restoration events in Redwood City and Palo Alto, and a total of 70 community events around the Bay. And for people and families who can’t make it to one of these public celebrations – Facebook helped us launch My Bay Day Adventure Guide, an interactive, online guide to experience Bay Day from your mobile device. I love how the My Bay Day experience helps people to discover the Bay in a new way, through each of our senses, and hope you and your family enjoy it too.

Save The Bay is proud of our partnership with Facebook, and we are grateful for all the company does to protect San Francisco Bay and the communities that call the area home.  Together, we can ensure a healthy and resilient Bay for generations to come.

Building a Better Bay Together

Every day, I’m grateful for the privilege of living and working in the Bay Area: its stunning views, natural wonders, vibrant cities and diverse communities. San Francisco Bay connects us all in one way or the other.

While it would be easy to take our surroundings for granted, Bay Day reminds us of the beauty and uniqueness of the San Francisco Bay and the ecological imperative to take action to protect it. That’s why PG&E is excited to celebrate the second annual Bay Day on October 7, and proud to be a lead sponsor – it’s a wonderful event with an important purpose.

Climate change and rising sea levels threaten San Francisco Bay and the communities that call the Bay Area home. As the ecological and economic heart of our region, the Bay’s resiliency in the face of climate change, extreme weather and population pressures must be a priority for us all.

Here at PG&E, we’re committed to leading by example when it comes to climate change. That means adapting our operations and infrastructure to changing climate conditions, as well as supporting efforts at the local level to make the communities we serve more resilient. We’re also leading the way in providing clean energy to our customers, with nearly 70% of our energy derived from sources that don’t emit greenhouse gases.

PG&E Volunteer Day

Just a few weeks ago I was pleased to lead my team on a volunteer restoration event with Save The Bay at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Shoreline in Oakland.  We were welcomed by passionate and knowledgeable Save The Bay staff, and make no mistake, staffers Kenneth and Silas put us right to work!  Not only did PG&E employee volunteers remove nearly 1,300 pounds of invasive plant species in just a few hours, we also learned about the vital role tidal wetlands play in protecting the shoreline from flooding and rising tides.  Our team was energized by our work, and we left the day feeling proud we played a part in protecting and beautifying San Francisco Bay.  A win-win for all involved!

To help everyone enjoy our amazing Bay Area, PG&E has sponsored My Bay Day Adventure Guide: an interactive, online guide that will help you take advantage of all the Bay has to offer.

The more we celebrate our beautiful Bay, the more committed we will collectively be to its healthy future. As a member of the Save The Bay Board of Directors, a Bay Area resident and a fellow advocate for the environment, I invite you to take time on October 7 to celebrate this important day and give back to the region that offers us so much. Together, we can leave a beautiful and resilient San Francisco Bay for generations to come.

$20 Million Closer to a Clean & Healthy Bay

Just after Labor Day, we asked you to join Save The Bay in the fight to secure additional funding for important Bay restoration projects in the Parks and Water Bond under consideration by the State Legislature. You responded with overwhelming support. Over 1,700 of you signed our petition that we delivered to key members of the Bay Area Legislative Caucus.

With that support, and the help of our allies from the Bay Area Council, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Operating Engineers Local 3, and the Governing Board of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, we worked hard to make our case for Bay restoration funding among competing environmental priorities throughout California.

While we are disappointed that the final Parks and Water Bond the Legislature approved does not include the level of funding we had hoped for, we are happy to report that it does include a one-time state investment of $20 million for San Francisco Bay restoration projects. Subject to the Governor’s signature and voter approval on the June 2018 statewide ballot, these funds would add to the $25 million annually for 20 years provided by 2016’s regional Measure AA.

We have already begun work to identify additional Bay funding options that we can pursue in the coming year, and as always, our success will rely on your efforts.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our beautiful Bay,

David Lewis
Executive Director, Save The Bay

Facebook Intern Service Day at Bair Island – 100 days of work in one day!

Sunny skies greeted hundreds of Facebook interns as they poured onto the pathway leading to the three-acre restoration site at Bair Island. More than 350 enthusiastic volunteers were met by equally delighted restoration scientists and fellows from Save The Bay, ready to start the day.

FB at Bair

In our second year hosting Facebook’s interns on the shoreline, we made history completing our biggest program ever. In just one day at Bair Island, volunteers accomplished what it would take one of our restoration team members more than 100 days to do! 

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Once a thriving tidal marsh, the 3,000-acre Bair Island was drained in the 1800s and later transformed into salt evaporation ponds. It was rescued from development in the 1980s by a group of concerned citizens, Friends of Redwood City. Bair Island is now home to over 150 species of birds and wildlife and is protected as part of the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge.

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A long-running rehabilitation process has been underway to restore Bair Island. Save The Bay’s project is a part of a regional effort to restore Bair Island, including restoration partners the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, among others.

Yesterday, volunteers worked on Inner Bair Island to help us prepare the site for planting by removing 3360 lbs of invasive Stinkwort and Wild Mustard. With generous support from the Bently Foundation, this three-acre site will be the future location of a leading-edge pilot project to accelerate native plant establishment in the transition zone. Our work will increase habitat for fish and wildlife, improve water quality, and contribute to crucial flood protection for local communities facing increasing risk from sea level rise.

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Building community and bringing people closer together is at the core of Facebook’s mission, and a strong synergy with Save The Bay’s mission to connect people to San Francisco Bay and the Bay Area’s sustainable future. Yesterday, 350+ interns were able to connect to each other and their environment, giving them a brand new view of the Bay only minutes away from Facebook’s campus.

Yesterday at Bair Island was a highlight of a growing partnership. We are also thrilled to announce Facebook’s lead partnership in Bay Day 2017, our Earth Day for the Bay.

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Volunteers are a huge part of achieving our restoration goals and working towards a climate-resilient Bay. With wind in their hair, 700 hands in the dirt, and 100 days of work achieved in one day, Facebook interns made critical progress towards a healthier Bay. Thank you Facebook for bringing your energy and muscle to help restore Bair Island!

Want to get involved? Explore Bair Island’s publicly accessible trails or come out on the shoreline and restore habitat with Save The Bay!

Click here to view more pictures from this event.