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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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