Weekly Roundup | July 12, 2013

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

SF Chronicle 7/7/13
Ships urged to slow down for whales outside SF Bay
The Coast Guard is asking large ships off the Northern California coast to slow down to almost half their normal speed to avoid collisions with endangered whales feasting on an abundance of krill in the water.
A message being broadcast over marine band radio advises the vessels to approach and exit San Francisco Bay at no more than 10 knots and watch for large whales around two marine sanctuaries.
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The Atlantic Cities 7/11/13
5 Landmarks That Could Soon Be Swallowed by Rising Seas
So, you spent last weekend celebrating American independence with patriotic fervor and you’re now enthused about the preservation of American history and culture and all things awesome and bygone. Right? Keep that historical buzz going for a moment to contemplate five sites the National Trust for Historic Preservation — the country’s preservers-in-chief — thinks are most vulnerable to flooding caused by sea level rise.
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Grist 7/6/13
Can bringing wetlands back to our coasts protect us from future megastorms?
Kevin Shanley says too many cities have an outdated approach to storm protection that makes them vulnerable to the coming mega-storms. The CEO of SWA Group, an international landscape architecture, planning, and urban design firm, Shanley is an advocate of using “green infrastructure” — human-made systems that mimic natural ones — as bulwarks.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, people are taking note. Some experts believe New York City would not have sustained such severe damage had the original wetlands that lined the coasts not been uprooted by development. In fact, some parts of Staten Island remained relatively unscathed because they were protected by the massive Fresh Kills Park and its wetlands.
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The Sacramento Bee 7/12/13
Caltrans yanks anti-tunnel signs in Delta, ignites furor
State transportation officials have emboldened a protest movement in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by removing yard signs objecting to Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant water diversion tunnels.
The signs, proclaiming “Save the Delta! Stop the Tunnels!”, have proliferated in yards fronting state highways in the region in recent weeks. It is an effort by residents and activists to make their voices heard on the controversial issue.
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Contra Costa Times 7/11/13
Bald eagle chick discovered at Crystal Springs Reservoir
A bald eagle has hatched from an egg and begun learning to fly in San Mateo County for the first time in at least 98 years.
The eagle took its initial flight from the nest along Crystal Springs Reservoir sometime around the first week of July, according to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which owns the 23,000-acre Peninsula Watershed surrounding the man-made lake.
Watershed keepers first glimpsed the bird in early June in a nest about 100 feet up a tree. They estimate that by then it was already about 2 months old, with a 3-foot wingspan. The eagle has since fledged, or started flying, but will remain in the same area as its parents for up to a year, said watershed keeper Tim Sullivan.
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ABC San Francisco 6/28/13
Three river otters find new home at SF’s Aquarium of the Bay
Pier 39 in San Francisco has some playful new residents. Three river otters named Shasta, Tubbs, and Wildcat have a permanent new home at Aquarium of the Bay. Their exhibit has fresh water pools, dry land, live plants, and plenty of fish. It’s called, “Otters: Watershed Ambassadors.” Officials say they saved the three from fur traders in Louisiana.
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Weekly Roundup | June 28, 2013

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

Rolling Stone 6/20/13
Rising Seas: A City-by-City Forecast
Depending on geology, vulnerability, ocean currents and political leadership, some regions will be hit harder than others. Researchers recently discovered that the Atlantic coast between North Carolina and Massachusetts is a particular hot spot, with the sea rising three to four times faster than the global average.
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The Sacramento Bee 6/24/13
Dan Walters: San Francisco basketball arena’s now a political football 
What is it about sports arenas that makes politicians bend over backward to exempt them from regulatory hurdles?
Two years ago, lawmakers passed and Gov. Jerry Brown signed a hastily drafted bill to give a proposed professional football stadium in downtown Los Angeles a fast track through the California Environmental Quality Act’s notoriously dense, time-consuming reviews.
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The Ukiah Daily Journal 6/25/13
Local residents collect cigarette butts 
According to Keep America Beautiful, 65 percent of all cigarette butts are disposed of improperly and cigarette waste accounts for 38 percent of all U.S. roadway litter. But Gail Wedding from Laytonville and Russell Minor from Potter Valley are doing their part to keep their cigarette waste out of the local landfill by sending it to recycling pioneer TerraCycle.  Russell Minor collects his cigarette butts at home and stores them in an old “oil rag” can until it is time to send them to TerraCycle.  To spread the word, he shows his friends how easy it is to collect at home.
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Marin Independent Journal 6/24/13
SMART seeks federal permit to do track work through Marin wetlands 
The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District is seeking a permit from a key federal agency to begin track work in September through sensitive wetlands in Marin.  Because the project involves building near and over waterways, such as Gallinas Creek in San Rafael, SMART must receive a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The federal agency has opened a public comment period that continues through July 7.
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San Jose Mercury News 6/24/13
Bike sharing program to include 700 bikes between San Francisco and San Jose 
Regional air quality and transit officials are planning a rental bike program that will launch later this year with 70 docking stations holding 700 Canadian-made bicycles stretching from San Francisco to San Jose.
The bike share program mirrors similar ones in Paris, London, Boston, Washington D.C., and one launched in New York City earlier this month, said Karen Schkolnick, grants program manager for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
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Bay Nature 6/26/13
Snowy Plovers nest at Stinson Beach for the first time in 30 years
This year, a tiny shorebird that lives on sandy beaches returned to some of its former breeding locales for the first time in decades – in one instance spawning a science mystery story.
The snowy plover is a year-round resident along our coast. Its western population has been federally listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1993. In Central California many scientists, resource managers, and trained volunteers monitor plovers and work to protect their nests from predation and disturbance.
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Press Democrat 6/25/13
Regional bag ordinance is the right approach
Local governments often tackle similar issues with different solutions. The result is usually a patchwork of laws in neighboring cities, increasing the difficulty and cost of compliance for businesses and confusing consumers. We applaud all 10 Sonoma County jurisdictions for addressing carryout bag regulation in unison.
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Weekly Roundup | June 20, 2013

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

NBC Southern California 6/18/13
Plastic Bag Ban Passes LA City Council
Los Angeles moved one step closer Tuesday to becoming the latest California city to ban single-use plastic bags.  The City Council voted 11-1 to tentatively approve a plan to phase out single-use plastic bags that includes a 10-cent charge for paper bags and regulations regarding the types of permitted reusable bags.
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NPR 6/19/13
To Rebuild NYC’s Beaches, A Native Plant Savings And Loan
Across the New York region, people are still working to rebuild homes and businesses after the havoc wrought by Hurricane Sandy. But the storm also devastated the dunes and native flora of New York’s beaches.
When the city replants grasses on those dunes, it will be able to draw on seeds from precisely the grasses that used to thrive there. That’s because of a very special kind of bank: a seed bank run by the Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island.
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San Jose Mercury News 6/19/13
Campbell becomes latest Bay Area city to ban single-use plastic bags
The Campbell City Council has voted to ban single-use plastic bags, making Campbell the latest Bay Area city to join in on what is becoming an almost inevitable decision by city councils across the state.
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The Sacramento Bee 6/20/13
Lawsuits hit new Delta Plan from all sides
A plan intended, at least in part, to resolve decades of water conflict in the Delta has instead spawned a flood of lawsuits, with at least five separate suits filed against the plan in recent days. The Delta Plan, as it is known, was required by 2009 state legislation, which also created the Delta Stewardship Council, the organization that adopted the plan on May 16.
Environmental groups, local organizations and water users have filed at least five lawsuits in recent days against the plan. They claim, among other things, that the plan fails to satisfy the legal requirements laid out for it and also violates the California Environmental Quality Act.
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A Mid-Week Break With Save The Bay

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Over 50 Google and Brocade employees came out to restore the Bay with us last Wednesday.

As part of its efforts to re-establish the 100,000 acres of wetlands essential for a healthy Bay, Save The Bay regularly hosts mid-week volunteer events at our native plant nurseries in the Palo Alto Baylands and on the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline in Oakland.  These events can often serve as a refreshing weekday reprieve from the typical work week.

We had a very special and successful volunteer program last Wednesday with over 50 employees from Google and Brocade joining us to restore the Bay.  This event, which was part of GoogleServe‘s global week of service campaign, was held at the Palo Alto Baylands.  These Baylands represent one of the largest pieces of undisturbed marshland left in the Bay Area.  Being a key migratory stopover on the Pacific Flyway, the Baylands provide resting, feeding and breeding grounds for a great diversity of traveling birds.  It is widely considered one of the best birding spots on the West Coast.

The volunteers worked together transplanting and sowing 6,543 native seedlings, including Creeping Wild Rye and Pacific Aster.  The day’s efforts helped bring Save The Bay closer to reaching its goal of 55,000 native plants in the ground for this upcoming winter.  These native plants will provide critical habitat to a host of species, including the endangered California clapper rail and the salt marsh harvest mouse.  The volunteers completed several other essential tasks, including: watering 600+ seedlings along the shoreline, weeding invasive mustard, digging a 25-foot trench and installing a drain for Save The Bay’s new nursery workshed, and painting 35 bench legs.

The work done over the course of the day is certain to have a significant impact on Save The Bay’s efforts to restore the Bay for years to come.  It also had a significant impact in strengthening relationships among coworkers as the participating volunteers were having fun, bonding, and working together in a common goal, outside of their normal working environment.  There was even some playful taunting from the volunteers digging the new trench (with pickaxes and shovels) toward their colleagues handling the less extreme task of transplanting seedlings.  It was clear to see that all volunteers, trench-diggers and seedling-transplanters alike, enjoyed spending a beautiful sunny Wednesday afternoon out of their offices, helping to restore their Bay in a real and tangible way.

For more information or to sign up for one of our on-the-Bay restoration programs please check out our volunteer opportunities here!

Weekly Roundup | June 14, 2013

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

San Francisco Chronicle 6/9/13
Restoring the shore on World Oceans Day
To the person who tossed the Burger King action hero cup somewhere in Oakland – yes, you – here’s what happened to it: After tumbling into a drain, it floated down the culvert beneath city streets, surfaced in the East Creek Slough and landed on a shore near the airport.
There your cup met a Lay’s barbecue potato chip bag, a hot sauce wrapper, a Quickly Market cup, assorted plastic forks and spoons, and plenty of other garbage caught in patches of western goldenrod and sticky monkey flower along the slough’s south bank. Those native plants capture much of the junk before it can drift farther into San Francisco Bay, and are planted there not to ease your conscience, should it exist, but to protect the Pacific Ocean.
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SF Examiner 6/11/13
Bayfront Trail gaps not going anywhere
The Burlingame Bayfront Shoreline Trail, part of the San Francisco Bay Trail system, is 5.5 miles of scenic hiking and biking trail that runs alongside the Bay. Its views are beautiful, but two noticeable gaps divide the trail. Walkers and bikers must retire to the street or forge ahead through nonpaths that may be littered with detritus such as old mattresses.
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ONEARTH 5/29/13
Could California’s Salmon Make a Comeback?
Jon Rosenfield and I bushwhack through the scrubby willows that line the American River east of Sacramento. The air is crisp this October morning, and the timing of our visit should be just right to watch California’s Chinook salmon as they return to where their lives began and spawn the next generation. Rosenfield, a biologist, works for a conservation group called the Bay Institute, and he wants me to witness an annual ritual that future generations might not have the opportunity to see.
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Mercury News 6/12/13
Bay Trail to add scenic segment along Carquinez Strait bluffs
A washed-out and washed-up county road is about to be remade into a new, $5.5 million regional shoreline trail along the scenic Carquinez Strait, linking Central and West Contra Costa County.
On or before July 5, East Bay Regional Park District contractors will be begin rebuilding and converting 1.7 miles of Carquinez Scenic Drive into a hiking and riding trail between Martinez and the town of Port Costa.
The trail segment — expected to open in fall 2014 — will improve access to an often-overlooked area of hills, shoreline, natural parks and preserve south of the strait between San Francisco Bay and the Delta.
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The Sacramento Bee 6/10/13
Delta could get saltier if tunnels are built
The two giant water diversion tunnels Gov. Jerry Brown proposes building in the Delta would be large enough to meet annual water needs for a city such as Newport Beach in a single day’s gulp from the Sacramento River.
That gulp, however, would also prevent a lot of fresh water from flowing through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This would likely make water saltier for farms near Isleton and cities such as Antioch, which draws some of its drinking water from the Delta.
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