Did you know that San Francisco Bay is an estuary of international importance due to the rich ecosystem it supports and its central role in the economy and quality of life of the Bay Area?
September 20-27 is National Estuaries Week, which kicked off on International Coastal Cleanup Day. Coastal Cleanup Day is a day-long event during which volunteers come together to clean up beaches, rivers, and creeks. It’s a great way to raise awareness about the trash in our waterways, as every year volunteers remove tons of trash. With our oceans full of swirling patches of discarded plastic trash, it’s important to try to stem the flow. Cleanups are one way to do that. But the wetlands that surround our beloved estuary clean up the coastline every day of the year.
Most of the pollution and trash in the Bay come from land through polluted runoff. Wetland plants work to filter polluted runoff and trash from the land and prevent it from reaching open Bay waters. Some plants can even remove heavy metals and other toxins from the water after it’s been polluted.
This is just one of the reasons why Save The Bay works with community volunteers to restore wetlands at seven different sites around the Bay shoreline, advocates for preserving open land around the Bay, and creates sources of funding and political support for restoring 100,000 acres of Bay wetlands that scientists say the Bay needs to be healthy.
Even if you didn’t volunteer on Coastal Cleanup Day, here are five ways you can celebrate your beloved local estuary:
1. Learn what inspires our nearly 7,000 yearly volunteers to get their hands dirty along the shoreline by watching this video in which they tell their stories.
2. Sign up to volunteer for one of our ongoing restoration programs. Depending on the time of year, you’ll work alongside our restoration scientists germinating and planting native seedlings, gathering seeds, removing invasive weeds, or cleaning up trash.
3. Donate to support our work including our education programs, which bring 5,000 middle and high school students out on the marsh each year to perform citizen science and learn how to be the next generation of Bay Stewards.
4. Learn about the impact of trash on our Bay and find out why banning single use plastics at the source is the best way to keep our waterways clean.
5. Cigarette butts are toxic, plastic trash that spoils water quality and kills wildlife. Not to mention being gross. Check out our interactive map of some of the worst cigarette butt litter in the region.