Fall 2015’s Fellowship Brown Bag Presentations

Group photo
Fall 2015 Save The Bay Fellows: Ethan Tucker, Morgan Jue, Alan Cai, Bridgette Haggerty

As the coordinator for Save The Bay’s Fellowship Program, I enjoy seeing the variety of interests, perspectives, and voices that our Fellows bring to the organization. We host a “Brown Bag” Presentation each session where the Fellows present a topic of their choice to each other. The ten-minute presentation can reflect their everyday work with Save The Bay or show a deeper dive into a research project of their choosing. This meeting is also an opportunity for the Fellows to get a feel for each other’s Save The Bay experience, as they often work independently of each other in their own departments.

A huge thank you goes to our Fall 2015 Fellows for their extensive work and contributions. They have conducted research, created original content for outreach, planted in the Bay’s wetlands, and much more. In their own words, here are summaries of their Brown Bag Presentations.

— Veronica, Administrative Assistant

Green Stormwater Infrastructure
Ethan Tucker, Pollution Prevention (Policy Department)

“Green Stormwater Infrastructure is way to slow down, filter, and even reuse rainwater that would otherwise flood city sewers and bring trash and pollutants to the Bay. Some of the most common Green Infrastructure techniques are bioswales, rain gardens, tree wells, and green roofs. Though the process is simple, filtering rainwater through plants and gently sloping, permeable earth, these technologies represent the future of how we will deal with stormwater runoff in the Bay Area. Green Infrastructure offers huge advantages in terms of cost and capacity over traditional gray stormwater systems. Green Infrastructure filters and slows stormwater, so that pollutants such as PCBs and Mercury are deposited in soil and taken up by plants instead of flowing to the Bay. Green Infrastructure also provides public green space and can help beautify streets and whole neighborhoods. Though these technologies have been around for a few years, cities around the Bay Area are getting serious about implementation. The new Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit includes a provision requiring cities to use Green Infrastructure to reduce the amount of Mercury and PCB they release into the Bay. This means it is time for cities to adopt these technologies in a meaningful way and begin projects to supplement their aging gray stormwater systems with Green Infrastructure.

There are exciting opportunities for these technologies to play multiple roles within larger projects as Cities around the Bay look for ways to redevelop urban areas, and promote smart growth. In many places there are opportunities to integrate green stormwater management with other projects such as transit oriented development, or affordable housing. Green Infrastructure will play a huge role in future growth that keeps the Bay healthy and clean.”

Communications in the office
Morgan Jue, Communications Department

“As a Communications Fellow I’m responsible for presenting most of Save The Bay’s blogs, photos, and relevant news articles on social media, primarily Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But during my time at Save The Bay, I also began thinking about how communications could be a frequent resource for our Policy and Restoration teams as we continue reaching new supporters to our mission. I met with my fellow Office Fellows to brainstorm ideas for our departments to share on social media, and their feedback has been especially helpful in shaping how future Fellows can contribute on a regular basis. One of those ideas involved using Instagram as a way for all teams to capture important moments and people within each of our teams.”

A policy perspective of past and future wetland restoration
Alan Cai, Advocacy and Outreach (Policy Department)

“A planned June 2016 ‘Clean and Healthy Bay Ballot Measure’ will aid long-term plans to restore tens of thousands of acres of wetlands around the Bay Area. Attention is shifting to the threat posed by climate change and sea level rise to the natural and built environment. Wetlands can offer increased flood protection, habitat, and water filtration services if we create more of them and keep the ones we already have healthy. Restoration projects often take many years or decades to complete, and can be costly and complex. Obtaining the combination of governmental and non-profit resources to execute projects is a significant challenge. Given this, securing a consistent, dependable source of funding through passage of next year’s ballot measure will greatly help accelerate Bay Area wetland restoration.”

Bay Area habitat restoration
Bridgette Haggerty, Habitat Restoration Field and Office

“In my Brown Bag presentation I wanted to portray a sense of what I have been learning since I started with Save The Bay. Because I recently moved from Colorado, I have been trying to take advantage of the incredibly extensive knowledge of the Habitat Restoration team to learn about marsh ecosystems and specifically about the plants Save The Bay’s team works with the most.

In my presentation I specifically talked about salt tolerant plants. These are known as halophytes. I gave several examples of halophytes and explained how they are adapted to their environments. I also talked about rhizomes. This is particularly interesting because the majority of the plants going in at Oro Loma [Sanitary District, Save The Bay’s partner in an experimental horizontal levee project] have rhizomes. I gave some specific examples of plants with rhizomes.

I then talked about invasive species and tried to explain the environmental detriment that these species can have on their adopted environments.”

Learn more about our Fellowship Program and apply for the Spring 2016 session!