Introducing Bay Day: PG&E Supports Inaugural Event to Celebrate Region’s Natural Beauty

OAKLAND — Part of what people love about the San Francisco Bay is its beauty. For many, it’s what drew them to the area and keeps them from leaving.

PG&E’s Vanessa Vergara, a gas mapping technician, and fellow employees helped kick off Bay Day by working in a nursery at the Oakland Shoreline. (Photos by David Kligman.)

But it’s more than the Golden Gate Bridge, city skylines and other manmade creations. It’s also a region literally alive with plants, animals and natural resources, as well as the largest and most ecologically important estuary on the West Coast.

On Saturday (Oct. 1), PG&E joins the environmental nonprofit Save the Bay organization for the first Bay Day. The day is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate the San Francisco Bay with the reminder that it be preserved and protected for future generations.

“A lot of people drive to work every day and we see the Bay as the backdrop of our lives,” said Save the Bay’s Kristina Watson. “It gives the region our identity. Why wouldn’t we celebrate something we already love?”

Organizers say the day is intended to be like Earth Day but for the San Francisco Bay. Beginning this year, Bay Day will occur every year on the first Saturday of October.

Some 23 cities are taking part and 40 events are planned, most free of charge or discounted, in San Francisco, the East Bay, the North Bay and the Peninsula and South Bay.

There will be a coastal cleanup in San Francisco; an opportunity to meet wild animals from the Bay at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience in Walnut Creek; free tours of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito; and a docent-led family hike at an open preserve near East Palo Alto that will show the possible impacts of climate change to the Bay.

Nance Donati, a 10-year PG&E employee, provides a perch for a small frog that jumped on her hand.

Protecting the environment is a core company value for PG&E. Earlier this year, volunteers helped repair a meadow in Santa Clara County. And PG&E annually works with bird experts to protect peregrine falcons that nest at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco.

To kick off Bay Day, about 25 PG&E employees volunteered their time today (Sept. 28) at a nursery helping to restore wetland habitat to its natural state at the Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline in Oakland. They spent several hours trimming native salt grass that will eventually be planted in Hayward.

“It shows that we’re honoring our commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Nance Donati, a 10-year PG&E employee who helps ensure the company complies with environmental regulations. “The Bay is everything.”

PG&E’s partnership with Save the Bay is mutually important, with both organizations working to make Bay Area communities clean, sustainable and resilient to climate change.

For PG&E, the project was just one of the many ways the company works every day to improve the communities where its employees work and live.

PG&E also has provided financial support to Save the Bay — begun in 1961 — whose missions include preventing pollution, restoring wetlands and stopping reckless shoreline development.

On Bay Day, Some 23 cities are taking part and 40 events are planned, most free of charge or discounted.

Earlier this year, PG&E backed Measure AA to fund critical conservation and flood protection projects. In June, the measure passed with approval from more than 70 percent of Bay Area voters.

In addition, PG&E this year committed $1 million over five years to help California cities and counties prepare for, withstand and recover from events caused by climate change.

Jessie Olson, the nursery manager for Save the Bay, said she and her team greatly appreciate PG&E’s commitment to volunteer.

“It’s everything for our staff that local organizations care about the environment and are willing to show their support,” she said.

PG&E’s Kathrine Long, who works in Oakland and helps colleges save energy, said she decided to volunteer in part because of the location. The shoreline is proof that you can find nature anywhere — even amid a bustling city.

“It’s a chance to see the beauty of Oakland,” Long said. “You don’t always hear about it but it’s here.”

 

This blog was  written by David Kligman and originally published by PG&E Currents on September 28, 2016.

Email David Kligman at David.Kligman@pge.com

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Events Around the Bay

Bay Area environmental groups are linking the increasingly popular Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service to growing concern about rising sea levels and their impact on vulnerable communities. This year’s MLK holiday coincides with this winter’s highest daytime tide. These King Tides are increasingly being used to understand and plan for the rising seas expected to result from global warming. Many groups have planned events around the Bay, including hundreds of volunteers expected at Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline in Oakland.

Outdoor Afro, Golden Gate Audubon Society, and East Bay Regional Park District
OAKLAND: Habitat restoration and celebration of Dr. King’s legacy.
At Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, near the observation tower off of Swan Way, 9 a.m. to noon
Over 50 people will be rotating through activities that include planting native plants to restore wildlife habitat; cleaning up trash; and viewing and learning about local shorebirds. The habitat we are restoring is home to the endangered Ridgway’s (former Clapper) Rail.

Save the Bay and East Bay Regional Park District
OAKLAND: Habitat Restoration and King Tides walk
At: Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, Damon Slough
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
About 75 people signed up to go on a walk with Save The Bay’s staff scientist, Hayley Zemel, who will take them along the shoreline and teach about King Tides. Afterwards, they will participate in wetland habitat restoration by planting native plants in Damon Slough and learn about the benefits of tidal marshes.

Acterra, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, and City of Cupertino
CUPERTINO: Young Audubon Day of Service, 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
At McClellan Ranch Preserve, 22221 McClellan Rd., Cupertino.
About 65 people have signed up to work on creek and native meadow habitat restoration at the preserve.

Environmental Volunteers
PALO ALTO: King Tides Walk, 10:15 AM – 12:00 PM
At Environmental Volunteers EcoCenter, 2560 Embarcadero Rd., Palo Alto.
Please register in advance
Participants will be observing and recording the effects of a “king tide” and learning about its impact on shoreline and marshland ecology.

Friends of Five Creeks and Citizens for East Shore Parks
RICHMOND: King Tides Walk, 10 AM – noon
At S.E. entrance to Pt. Isabel Regional Shoreline, N. end of Rydin Rd.,
Shoreline walk from Point Isabel north will explore history including Native Americans and dynamite making, enjoy thriving restoration, see how rising sea levels threaten infrastructure and wildlife, and talk about possibilities for using wetlands to buffer some of the effects.

Friends of Sausal Creek
OAKLAND: King Tides Walk, Tue, Jan. 20, 10am – 12pm (NOTE: This is on Tuesday, not MLK Day.)
At Fruitvale Bridge Park, Oakland (Fruitvale and Alameda Ave., immediately S. of Fruitvale Bridge)
Local historian Dennis Evanosky leads a walking tour exploring the fascinating history of the waterway between Oakland and Alameda, where Sausal Creek now empties into the estuary via a culvert.

The Watershed Project and East Bay Regional Park District
RICHMOND: Shoreline cleanup, 9 a.m. to noon.
At Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, 5532 Giant Highway
Remove invasive plants and clean up trash.

Friends of the Richmond Greenway, The Watershed Project, Urban Tilth, Pogo Park, the City of Richmond, and others
RICHMOND: Planting gardens and Celebrating Dr. King, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
At Richmond Greenway,
 8th St and Ohio Street and 16th and Ohio St.
Plant trees and gardens along the Greenway, build a rain garden, clean up trash and celebrate Dr. King’s legacy with speakers and presentations.

Citizens for a Sustainable Point Molate and The Watershed Project
RICHMOND: Habitat Restoration, 9 a.m. to noon
Point Molate Beach Park, Richmond
Install native plants and observe King Tides.

Other events at the MLK Shoreline on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2015:

Martin Luther King Jr. Rally
99 Pardee Drive, Oakland, 9am to noon
Speeches and rally

Boy Scouts of America and East Bay Regional Parks District
Martin Luther King Grove, 8:30am to noon
Restore grove, plant shrubs, rake leaves, pick up shoreline  litter and spread mulch

East Bay Regional Parks District, Waste Management Civicorp, and Kaiser Permanente
Oak Port Fields, East Creek Slough, and Damon Marsh Trail, 9am to noon
Pick up shoreline litter, remove invasive French broom.

UC Berkeley Freedom Center and East Bay Regional Parks District 
Tidewater Boating Center, 12pm to 3pm
Pick up shoreline litter.

Coastal Cleanup Day 2014

Volunteers
Students clean up MLK Jr Shoreline on Coastal Cleanup Day.

Save The Bay marked the 30th annual International Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday with volunteer cleanups in Oakland and San Jose. In Oakland, 100 volunteers picked up 750 pounds of trash along the Martin Luther King Jr Shoreline. The 30 volunteers that joined cleanup efforts along Coyote Creek in San Jose picked up 600 pounds of trash, including several heavy items such as tires, a grocery cart, and a microwave.

We were joined at both sites by REI, which presented a $25,000 grant to support our Habitat Restoration work. Volunteers enjoyed free t-shirts and water bottles from REI, as well as food and coffee donated by Safeway, Trader Joe’s, and Starbucks.

Coastal Cleanup Day is a great opportunity for local residents to witness the impact of toxic trash on our region. Not only do you get to help clean up our creeks and our Bay shoreline, but you can see just how difficult it can be to remove trash once it enters our waterways. That’s why Save The Bay continues to work with local governments to pass strong policies to stop toxic trash at the source.

Want to learn more about the most collected litter item? Check out our interactive map of some of the worst cigarette butt litter hot spots, based on data collected at Coastal Cleanup Day 2013.

Thanks to all of the volunteers who joined us on Saturday! Check out these photos from Coastal Cleanup Day 2014.

Volunteer Spotlight | Meet Carole Robic and Alexandre Best

Carole and Alexandre
Carole and Alexandre enjoy volunteering at the MLK Jr. Shoreline in Oakland.

Meet Carole Robic and Alexandre Best from San Leandro, CA!

How many times have you volunteered with Save The Bay?
Four times in the last year.

Do you have a favorite site or experience?
I enjoy planting native seedlings and Alex has really enjoyed working in the nursery.

How did you get involved with Save The Bay?
Alex has service hours required for school. We first helped with the Bay Cleanup event and learned about the other ways we can help.

What is your favorite thing about the San Francisco Bay Area?
It’s variety and diversity, and the large number of sites to hike and bike in.

What is one thing you do each day to protect the environment?
We recycle and take public transportation as often as possible. I commute to work via Bart each day.

Anything else you want to tell us?
We really appreciate the work that Save The Bay does and inspires others, like us, to protect the environment.

Volunteer opportunities are available throughout the Bay Area. Sign up here.

Volunteering to Restore Critical Wetlands

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Save The Bay is committed to re-establishing the 100,000 acres of wetlands essential for a healthy Bay.

As the heart and lungs of San Francisco Bay, wetlands fulfill a central role in community and environmental health.  They provide vital habitat, supporting over 500 species of fish and wildlife, from the smallest microorganisms to the largest of seals.  Scientists agree that the Bay needs 100,000 acres of tidal wetlands to thrive, but as of today less than half that number exists.  It is to that end that Save The Bay is working tirelessly, hosting weekly volunteer based community restoration events, to re-establish the 100,000 acres of wetlands essential for a healthy Bay.

I recently attended one of Save The Bay’s volunteer events, which offer local residents the opportunity to have a direct impact on the health of their Bay and community.  This particular event occurred at Save The Bay’s native plant nursery on the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Regional Shoreline, a part of the East Bay Regional Park District, located in Oakland.  The Shoreline includes the mouths of five major creek systems and protects some of the last remaining wetland habitat in the East Bay, including Damon Slough and beautiful Arrowhead Marsh. This 50-acre marsh provides habitat to a host of species, including the burrowing owl and the endangered California clapper rail, and is a stopover on the Pacific Flyway.  The only sounds to be heard during the volunteer event that day came from an assemblage of gulls and terns nearby.  There were intermittent bird calls as well as the occasional splash of a tern diving into the water looking to catch its next meal.  It was an otherwise very quiet and peaceful day, with a soft breeze coming off the Bay.  It was like a scene straight out of Henry Beston’s The Outermost House.

Over the course of the afternoon the team of 15 volunteers planted 75 native seedlings along the shoreline, including Blue Eyed Grass, California Poppy, Naked Buckwheat, and Mugwort, and we transplanted approximately 200 stems of the Alkali Bulrush plant.  We removed invasive weeds to give native plants like the California Sagebrush, Western Goldenrod, and Marsh Baccharis more space to grow and thrive.  We also made sure that all of the flowers and plants received plenty of water, which was especially important considering the lack of rain over the winter.  Not too bad for an afternoon’s work. Each of the activities we completed that day was an invaluable part of achieving Save The Bay’s goals for restoring the Bay.

As the day came to a close I thought to myself how great it was to see a group of volunteers, consisting of strangers of various ages and ethnicities, coming together to work on such a critical project.  It was also very satisfying, personally, getting outside on a beautiful sunny day by the water, gaining some extra knowledge about wetland habitats, and helping in a tangible way to restore and protect the Bay.

Join us for one of our weekly volunteer events!