Monitoring Marshes to Managing their Restoration: Welcome Katy Zaremba

Katy Zaremba has joined Save The Bay as our new Habitat Restoration Program Manager. She is pictured here at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve Whales Tail South Marsh in Winter 2012.
Katy Zaremba has joined Save The Bay as the new Habitat Restoration Program Manager. She is pictured here at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve Whales Tail South Marsh in Winter 2012.

My introduction to estuarine and wetland conservation began in high school while slithering on my belly through cordgrass marshes on the mudflats, counting fiddler crabs while participating in an environmental education program on the Chesapeake Bay.

It was there that I gained an appreciation for estuarine environments, and learned the ecological value of estuarine and wetland habitats, and the need for conservation and stewardship of these unique habitats.

I am so pleased to have the opportunity to join Save The Bay as their new Restoration Program Manager. It is an honor to follow in the footsteps of environmental conservation heroines Esther Gulick, Sylvia McLaughlin, and Kay Kerr who created a lasting legacy for San Francisco Bay. I believe that my new position with Save The Bay perfectly marries my early career experience in environmental education and environmental advocacy, with my years of professional work as an estuarine ecologist, conservation biologist and wetland restoration practitioner on the San Francisco Bay.

Katy is pictured here during an outreach program on extent of Bay Invasion in 2004
Katy is pictured here during an outreach program on the extent of Bay Invasion in 2004.

The focus of my early career was in coastal and marine ecology, environmental education and volunteer coordination. After some years working on the coast and in the Bay as an educator, I decided to further my own education and pursue my interests in wetland and estuarine ecology and habitat conservation in graduate school.

When deciding on the focus of my graduate school studies, the San Francisco Estuary had been declared as one of the most invaded estuaries in the nation. Invasive non-native species in the Bay were a growing threat to the health of the Bay ecosystem. Given my passion for protecting the coastal and estuarine ecosystems that I cherished, my keen interest to expand on my knowledge and my life goal to actively contribute to the cause of conserving and restoring the San Francisco Bay, I developed a graduate school research project that involved monitoring the spread and control of invasive non-native cordgrass (Spartina spp.) into a newly-opened restoration site.

My graduate research project evolved into a career as the Monitoring Program Manager and eventually the Restoration Program Manager with the Invasive Spartina Project.  I started a field-based monitoring program, surveying the extent of San Francisco Bay and the outer coast marshes for five species of non-native cordgrass. The monitoring program introduced me to an incredible network of marshes around the Bay.  I surveyed by foot, by bike, by kayak and boat. I learned how to access shoreline and coordinated with land owners and introduced them to the threat of invasive cordgrass.

Katy enjoys contributing and volunteering right here in her own backyard, or watershed, and working with local conservationists.

My years surveying the Bay provided me with many unique experiences and adventures. I surveyed the expansive strip marshes and mudflats of San Pablo Bay National Wildlife. I got to know how to best access the marshes around the Bay, making the most of the miles of shoreline trails provided by numerous landowners including East Bay Regional Parks where I surveyed miles of shoreline from Pt. Pinole to Hayward. It was always a highlight when I surveyed by kayak. I was fully cognizant of the special opportunity I had to kayak the sloughs in and around Bair and Greco Islands. Even driving access was an adventure as I learned to navigate driving the levees in and around the evolving Eden Landing Ecological Reserve and South Bay Salt Pond Complex.

In the process of surveying the Bay, developing the ISP Monitoring and Restoration Programs, I worked and collaborated with remarkable community of land owners, managers, stakeholders, researchers, environmental advocates and regulators. I built an incredible network of colleagues and friends, all of whom were committed to the cause of protecting and restoring the health of the San Francisco Bay Estuary. I take great pride in having the opportunity to work with such an incredibly committed community of conservationists here in the Bay Area.

I’ve always enjoyed contributing and volunteering in my own backyard, or watershed, working with local conservationists. With the intention of working locally to acquire, protect and restore local ecologically significant wetland habitat, I joined the Board of the Bowen Island Conservancy while living in British Columbia, and then Marin Audubon Society when I returned to the Bay Area.

As the Save The Bay Restoration Program Manager I am so pleased to be able to continue to collaborate and work with existing partners, wetland restoration practitioners, and to join the committed team of Bay and wetland stewards, environmental educators, advocates and policy makers at Save The Bay.

Scott Pruitt is terrible news for the Bay

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President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an ardent foe of environmental protection who has attacked the laws that protect our water, air and land. In short—he poses a big threat to the Bay.

Trump selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the federal agency that protects public health and the environment. It’s a frightening choice. Pruitt led attacks against the EPA’s regulations and challenged the legitimacy of the agency itself through lawsuits.  He is unapologetically anti-science and anti-environment, with close ties to the very corporations and industries he would be regulating.

For years Pruitt has attacked the EPA and the Clean Water Act – the cornerstone of pollution prevention and wetlands protection here in the Bay and throughout the nation. He has fought EPA action against climate change, and sued to dismantle crucial laws and regulations that protect all of us.

Pruitt was one of the first to sue the Obama administration to block EPA from protecting the drinking water sources of 117 million Americans, and attacked the rules that prevent development in “waters of the U.S.,” which protect Bay wetlands against filling. He led other state attorney generals in trying to block restoration of Chesapeake Bay by filing an amicus brief on supporting draconian litigation, even though that Bay is more than 1,000 miles from Oklahoma.

He also crusaded against the EPA’s standards for reducing soot and smog pollution, its protections against toxic pollutants from power plants, and its authority to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas.

Pruitt proudly touts himself as a fan of fossil fuels.  And he supported fracking throughout Oklahoma with minimal regulation to protect groundwater.

I have no doubt that he would lead the Trump Administration’s effort to defund the EPA and cripple its enforcement against polluters. So to save the Bay, we must fight to stop Scott Pruitt’s nomination, and we need your help now.

For the Bay we love, the air we breathe and the water we drink, we call on the U.S. Senate to oppose Scott Pruitt’s nomination.

With the help of our thousands of members and supporters, Save The Bay will:

  • Demand that the U.S. Senate oppose Scott Pruitt’s nomination. We need help from our supporters to mobilize California’s Senators and others throughout the nation to block Scott Pruitt from becoming EPA Administrator.
  • Support our elected officials here in California to pursue strong state protections for the Bay, to counter the Trump Administration’s anti-environment policies.
  • Continue our leadership to protect and improve our environment, right here in the Bay Area. In the Trump era, effective local organizing and action is more important than ever.

We will stand up and fight for the health of our Bay and our environment. But we can’t do this important work without help from our supporters.

I’ve seen anti-environment Presidents before. They come to Washington, DC, and try to destroy protections for water, air and land that are essential for public health, wildlife, and the planet.  It takes strong, coordinated advocacy from people and organizations at the local, state and federal level to block them, and Save The Bay will join that effort with our colleagues and environmental champions in government.

We’ve also proven how much we can accomplish for the Bay without relying on the federal government for help.  New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has observed:

“If you want to be an optimist about America, stand on your head — the country looks so much better from the bottom up. What you see are towns and regions not waiting for Washington, D.C., but coming together themselves to fix infrastructure, education and governance.”

The Bay Area is a shining example of that, and Save The Bay has been a leading force for regional progress:

  • We worked for over a decade to create a new Bay Area funding source to accelerate Bay marsh restoration, building a broad coalition that ultimately won 70% voter support for the Measure AA parcel tax in the nine counties this June.
  • We endorsed nine successful local bond and tax measures for transportation, housing and infrastructure that can help the Bay Area grow sustainably, to be healthy and resilient.
  • We’re convening mayors and city staff from all nine counties to promote green infrastructure that adapts our communities to climate change, reduces Bay pollution and improves natural resources.

In Save The Bay’s 2020 Strategic Plan we set ambitious goals for improving the Bay and the Bay Area, and most of that is within our power as a region and a state.

We will combat the Trump Administration’s anti-environment agenda, and we will continue to make more progress—for the planet, and right here at home for San Francisco Bay.


Please consider supporting Save The Bay as we fight Scott Pruitt’s nomination and Donald Trump’s dangerous attacks on our environment.

A #GivingTuesday message from Jaime Redford

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As a documentary filmmaker, conservationist, and proud Bay Area resident, experience has taught me that when we focus on hope and solutions, our society is capable of great things. You and the Save The Bay community are proof of that.

Measure AA passed earlier this year because more than 70 percent of us here in the Bay Area stood up to restore our wetlands, and to make it better and healthier for everyone. And just weeks ago, Californians stood together to ban the plastic bag in our state once and for all by passing Prop. 67. Save The Bay and supporters like you are making climate change and other environmental issues personal — by talking about what’s happening in your backyards, by meeting people where they are, and by bringing people together to protect this magical place. And that’s inspiring to see.

As we travel to see our loved ones for the holidays and with #GivingTuesday right around the corner, I put this video together to share why I believe our Bay community is so important. The inspiring work of Save The Bay, and the hope and optimism of supporters like you, is more critical now than ever.

I hope you’ll take a minute to watch my video. Thank you for being a part of this movement, giving all you can as we work toward solutions for people, wildlife and the planet.

Sincerely,

JRedford

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Jamie Redford

Save The Bay Supporter and Fairfax Resident

Humans of the Bay for Measure AA

On Tuesday, June 7th, Bay Area voters will have an historic opportunity to protect our region’s wetlands by voting Yes on Measure AA for a Clean and Healthy Bay. We know that Measure AA has many benefits: cleaner water, increased wildlife habitat, improved public access to the Bay, and a healthier San Francisco Bay for future generations. But who exactly are the Bay Area residents who will benefit from the many ways Measure AA will help us?

Come meet some of these Humans of the Bay who want to share their own reasons for why Measure AA is important to them. Everyone has their own reason to support. Tell us yours in the comments!

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How Measure AA could benefit your county

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Examples of projects that could be eligible for funds generated by Measure AA. Map courtesy of San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority

Measure AA for a Clean and Healthy Bay on the June ballot would generate, via a modest $12 parcel tax, badly needed funding for restoration of San Francisco Bay wetlands to benefit people, wildlife and the Bay Area economy.  Here are some examples of specific projects throughout the Bay Area that could be funded by Measure AA:

Alameda County: At the Alameda Point Seaplane Lagoon, vast paved areas could be transformed into ecologically rich habitats and wetlands with visitor amenities, including picnic and camping areas, a pedestrian and bicycle promenade, and water access points for boats.

Contra Costa County: At the North Richmond Shoreline and San Pablo Marsh, projects could  include improvement of endangered California Ridgway’s Rail habitat, removal of imported fill, establishment of transitional habitats between the marsh and upland areas, and development of public access for wildlife viewing and education.

Marin County: At Richardson Bay, funds could go to sand and gravel bay beach designs to combat shoreline erosion due to sea level rise. Funds could also go to protecting one of San Francisco Bay’s largest eelgrass beds, which provide food and shelter for fish and invertebrates and feeding grounds for migratory water birds.

Napa County: Funds could go toward implementation of the Napa County Youth Ecology Corps, which aims to train young adults in natural resource management. Crews would work on invasive species management and habitat enhancement projects to improve the resilience of tidal wetlands and buffer against sea level rise.

San Francisco: At China Basin Park, just across from the Giants’ AT&T Park, funding could be used for design and construction of a new, more natural shoreline to replace the current rip-rap. This would create habitat, improve public access and protect the park from sea level rise.

San Mateo County: At the popular Coyote Point Recreation Area, funding could be provided for the Eastern Promenade Project including a beach restoration project designed to protect the shoreline against  future sea level rise as well as against high winds and constant wave action. Projects could also include a trail from the Western Promenade to the Bluff trail on the Coyote Point knoll, along with visitor amenities, such as a new restroom and picnic areas.

Santa Clara County: The Alviso Ponds, part of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, could include over 700 acres of wetland restoration in the Mountain View area, restoration of over 1,400 acres of wetlands in Alviso to improve fish habitat and water quality, enhancements to over 250 acres of wetlands in the Milpitas area, and new trails and interpretive features.

Sonoma County: At Sears Point, funds could go toward completion of tidal marsh restoration, improving habitat at newly restored wetlands to encourage the return of rare and endangered species  such as the Ridgway’s rail and the salt marsh harvest mouse, and development of a visitor center at the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Solano County: At the Benicia shoreline, funds would go to restoration of wetlands and beach habitats, protection of adjacent infrastructure, installation, and management of public trails and protection of wetlands and Bay from urban stormwater.

These restoration projects represent examples of the unprecedented opportunity for Bay Area residents to accelerate improvements all around the region, but the missing piece is funding. To   generate badly needed funding for large-scale Bay restoration, your YES vote is needed on Measure AA on June 7.