Weekly Roundup | May 17, 2013

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

Los Angeles Times 5/15/13newspaper
Volunteers pull tons (and tons) of trash from California waterways
The Ocean Conservancy has run the numbers, and over the course of a single day in September 2012, more than 500,000 volunteers from across the globe collected 10 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways. The top three most common items collected were cigarettes and cigarette filters (2.1 million), food wrappers (1.1 million), and plastic beverage bottles (1 million).
Read more>>

San Jose Mercury News 5/13/13
River otters are making a comeback in the Bay Area
On a cool winter evening just before sunset, birdwatcher Helen Daley spotted something entirely unexpected slithering in the waters of Los Gatos Creek.
“I turned the binoculars on it,” Daley said. “It was moving, and the water was shaped like a ‘V.’ It dived under, and its tail slipped up. It was a tapered, long tail. It wasn’t like that of a rat or beaver.”
Daley, a nurse who lives in the Cambrian Park area of San Jose, rushed home and confirmed online that the animal she saw was a North American river otter.
Read more>>

Grist 5/13/13
Green vs. green: The slimy battle for Drakes Bay
It’s springtime at the Point Reyes National Seashore, about an hour outside of San Francisco, and the cold wind whips off the sea and through the tall grass along the cliffs. Cows wander and graze along the fingers of land that reach out into the estuary’s tiny bays, an area altogether encompassing just over three square miles.
Beyond the estuary, at the outer edges of the seashore, seals sun themselves on the beaches, packed in tightly and squirming along the shoreline.
From March through June, the estuary is quiet. The seashore boasts more than 28,000 acres of agricultural land, most of it for beef and dairy production — but it’s pupping season for the seals, and the National Park Service has instated its annual ban on the motorboats that usually zip around the estuary, planting and harvesting millions of oysters for the Drakes Bay Oyster Company.
Read more>>

Marin Independent Journal 5/10/13
Environmentalists, officials turn out in Tiburon to cheer SF Bay wetlands designation
With choppy Richardson Bay as a backdrop, dozens of people gathered at the Lyford House in Tiburon on a breezy Friday afternoon to celebrate the naming of San Francisco Bay as an international Ramsar “wetland of importance.”
The designation adds the bay to a list of protected areas under an international treaty among 163 countries signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971 to limit damaging development along ecologically important waterways.
“It took more than four years to make all this happen,” said Rowan Gould, deputy director of operations for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Wetlands are not only internationally important, they are important in the communities we live in.”
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Daily Kos 5/12/13
Costa Introduces Legislation To Strip ESA Protections For Delta Fish
Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) has introduced legislation to exempt the Central Valley  and State Water projects from Delta pumping restrictions required under the Endangered Species Act to protect Central Valley salmon and Delta smelt.
Costa claimed the  “More Water and Security for Californians Act” would “significantly increase” the water supply in the Valley and growers who receive water from the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP) would see greater “water security.”
Read more>>

Grist 5/14/13
Determined kids in small California town push for plastic bag ban
You may have read about some hardworking, smart, and civic-minded students who, back in 2011 and 2012, fought to keep their local river park open. Fought and won, actually. Well, students from that same school, Grass Valley Charter in Grass Valley, Calif., are now on to another battle — with the help of students from other area schools, they want to push Nevada County to put a ban on single-use plastic bags and start charging for paper bags. These kids are unstoppable.
Read more>>


Weekly Roundup | March 8, 2013

newspaperHappy International Women’s Day. Today we honor our three founders, Sylvia McLaughlin, Esther Gulick, and Kay Kerr, without whom the Bay would not be what it is today. Check out this week’s Weekly Roundup for breaking news affecting San Francisco Bay.

Ecosalon 3/2/13
Banning Plastic Bags: It Works
Residents all over the San Francisco Bay area are stepping up and bringing their own reusable bags, elected officials around the country (and the world) are waking up to the problem of plastic pollution in our communities and waterways. And they’re passing comprehensive bans on single use plastic shopping bags. The only group that doesn’t get that plastic bags are done is the plastics industry.
Read More>>

San Francisco Chronicle 3/6/13
LED display puts Bay Bridge in new light
The Bay Bridge will never win a beauty contest against the Golden Gate, but for the next two years, it gets to set aside its inferiority complex for several hours each night while it’s lit by the glow of 25,000 twinkling LED lights.
Rain decided to get in on the act Tuesday night and made the bridge look a bit hazy when organizers of the $8 million “Bay Lights” sculpture flipped the switch on the project to trip the lights fantastic along the cables of the western span. That didn’t stop thousands of people from showing up to see fish-like shadows roll across the cables, then transform into what looked like raindrops running downstream.
Read More>>

San Anselmo-Faifax Patch 3/2/13
Ross Valley Sanitary District Reports 24K Gallon Sewage Spill Near Corte Madera Creek in Greenbrae
A blockage on a public sewer line caused raw sewage to leak unchecked from a manhole for more than 27 hours earlier this week, spilling an estimated 23,834 gallons of wastewater and human waste in a creekbed behind several homes in Greenbrae, according to the the Ross Valley Sanitary District.
District officials notified the California Emergency Management Agency, the Marin County Department of Environmental Health, and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Read More>>

Lompoc Record 3/2/13
Peninsula cities lose bid to halt high-speed rail
Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto lost a bid to block the California high-speed rail line along the Caltrain corridor south of San Francisco after a judge dismissed a five-year-old lawsuit.
The Thursday ruling in Sacramento County Superior Court means the $68 billion rail system can use the Pacheco Pass to connect the San Joaquin Valley with the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Half Moon Bay Review 3/1/13
Speier seeks greater funding to restore bay
U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier reintroduced the San Francisco Bay Restoration Act on Tuesday in an effort to help revive the bay’s historic wetlands and prevent further erosion.
“All of us who live by the bay are uniquely blessed with one of the most beautiful places to live and work in the country, and it is incumbent upon us to protect it,” said Speier in a prepared release.
Read More>>

Care2 3/7/13
Oysters Threatened by Ocean Acidification
In my last blog, I celebrated emerging efforts to restore native Olympia oysters in San Francisco Bay for their value in mitigating coastal erosion, improving water quality, and other benefits. But not long after my post went public, scientists from the University of California Davis presented new research showing that Olympia oysters may be facing a challenge that a site-scale restoration project may not be equipped to manage: ocean acidification.
Read more>>



Weekly Roundup February 15, 2013

weekly roundupSports columnist and Bay Area native Ann Killion made a strong argument against the proposed Warriors arena in the San Francisco Chronicle. Five weeks after the Overseas Reymar collision, shipping officials passed new restrictions on large ships sailing near the Bay Bridge. In San Jose, volunteers descended upon Coyote Creek as part of the city’s Clean Creeks, Healthy Communities program, collecting data as well as trash.  Styrofoam was the prize of the day because San Jose has been considering banning it for two years, and the City Council will finally put it to a vote on Feb. 26.  In coming years Cullinan Ranch in westernmost Solano County will  once again becomes tidal wetlands.  The Bay Area has uniquely positioned itself ahead of California overall, assuming a “burden of leadership” in planning beyond sustainability for global resilience.  Seeking to join many of their coastal California counterparts, members of the Sacramento City Council are advocating for a ban on plastic shopping bags.  The Watershed Project, a Richmond-based nonprofit, has plans to restore lost habitat for Olympia oysters along the Point Pinole shoreline in Richmond.  This week, the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA) issued a statement urging city governments that have not already done so to approve bans on the use of plastic bags.

San Francisco Chronicle 2/14/13
Warriors arena would block beauty of bay
After a breathtakingly fast start, the Warriors were bound to cool off. To come back to earth. I’m not talking about this season’s performance on the court. I’m talking about the organization’s proposed waterfront arena.

Contra Costa Times 2/14/13
Coast Guard, shipping officials pass new rules to restrict large ships from sailing near Bay Bridge in heavy fog
Hoping to reduce the risk of major oil spills in San Francisco Bay, the Coast Guard and top shipping officials Thursday passed new rules to restrict cargo ships, oil tankers and other large vessels from sailing near the Bay Bridge in heavy fog. The action comes five weeks after an empty oil tanker, the Overseas Reymar, sideswiped a tower of the Bay Bridge near Yerba Buena Island.

San Jose Mercury News 2/9/13
Cleanup of San Jose Creek yields squishy surprises
For nearly three hours, Brad Hunt had been squishing around in the mud and muck along Coyote Creek, stooping every few seconds to retrieve another piece of trash, shifting each sodden coffee cup or soiled diaper into one of several bags set up along the creek bank — like a forensic technician collecting clues at the scene of a crime. “I think people don’t really realize where their trash is going most of the time,” Hunt said. As he spoke, a piece of clear plastic floated down from the tree canopy behind him, settling onto the surface of the muddy water. Guessing that it was discarded from a car on the Interstate-280 overpass nearby, he watched it float slowly toward San Francisco Bay.
Read More>>

Fairfield – Suison Daily Republic 2/14/13
Cullinan Ranch will be place for wildlife – and people
Don Brubaker drove along a levee and pointed out the flat expanse of pickleweed and water in front of him and the hills of Napa and Sonoma counties miles away. “All the way to those foothills over there was an estuary,” said Brubaker, who manages the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Read More>>

Greenbiz.com 2/8/13
Why San Francisco can lead the way on resiliency planning
If climate predictions are correct, Silicon Valley — already below sea level and estimated by the Army Corps of Engineers to have nearly 260 companies contributing over a trillion dollars to regional GDP — is at tremendous risk. In light of this, the Bay Area has both a sincere need and obligation to plan more resilient infrastructure and physical space.
Read More>>

The Sacramento Bee 2/9/13
Plastic bag ban could be in Sacramento’s future
It’s an age-old question that could be headed toward oblivion in Sacramento: paper or plastic? Seeking to join many of their coastal California counterparts, two members of the City Council are advocating for a ban on plastic shopping bags at large stores in the city that sell groceries. That might include not just grocery outlets but also big retailers such as Target, CVS and Wal-Mart.
Read More>>

KQED 2/11/13
Bringing Oysters Back to the Bay
During the Gold Rush, the San Francisco Bay’s native oyster habitat was all but wiped out due to overharvesting and hydraulic mining washing sediment onto the bay floor. But a Richmond-based nonprofit has plans to restore the shellfish’s lost habitat along the Point Pinole shoreline.
Read More>>

Belmont Patch 2/14/13
Stormwater Management Agency: Plastic Bags Clog Drains, Pollute Water
Though the counties of San Mateo and Santa Clara have both banned the use of plastic bags in unincorporated areas, there are still some cities in the South Bay and Peninsula that have not done so at the city level. This week, the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA) issued a statement urging city governments that have not already done so to approve such bans.
Read More>>




Weekly Roundup October 19, 2012

weekly roundupThis week, the Clean Water Act celebrates 40 years. Former Save The Bay Executive Director Barry Nelson applauds its impact on the Bay on NRDC’s blog. We continue to advocate for strong policies to keep trash out of the Bay. Our current Executive Director David Lewis writes about the effectiveness of plastic bag bans. KALW interviews SF Environment Department Chief Melanie Nutter about the city’s policies and goals. San Mateo County supervisors vote on banning plastic bags next week, providing 24 cities with an opportunity to jump on the “ban wagon”. The UN released a report emphasizing the economic importance of wetlands worldwide. As we know, wetlands protect communities from floods and sea level rise, a growing concern for our region. KQED reporter Molly Samuel’s aerial photos provide compelling perspective on sea level rise around the Bay. Finally, oysters are making a comeback to the Bay.

NRDC Switchboard 10/18/2012
A Transformed San Francisco Bay – The Legacy of the Clean Water Act
It’s easy to see the Clean Water Act as an abstraction. I mean, who isn’t for clean water? And it’s easy to overlook how this visionary bill touches us every day. From our kitchen faucets to a summer day at a beach, the Clean Water Act improves the lives of all Americans. Today is the 40th anniversary of the Act, making this an appropriate moment to reflect on progress made and challenges remaining.

Take Part 10/18/2012
Op-Ed: Plastic Bag Bans Work to Curb Pollution
Plastic bag bans combined with fees for paper bags are potent tools for reducing plastic trash.

KALW 10/15/2012
Conversation with SF Environment Department chief Melanie Nutter
City Visions speaks with Melanie Nutter, head of San Francisco’s Department of the Environment. Hear about the Department’s current initiatives — from the bag ban to climate change adaptation measures to new rules for nail salons — and how they could affect you and influence statewide policy.
Listen here >>

Palo Alto Daily News 10/18/2012
If San Mateo County supervisors approve plastic bags ban Tuesday, 24 cities may follow
San Mateo County supervisors on Tuesday will consider banning plastic carryout bags in unincorporated communities, a move that could spur as many as two dozen Peninsula cities to follow its lead.

UN News Centre 10/16/2012
Policies to protect wetlands necessary for sustainable economies – UN-backed report
Governments must recognize the vital economic and environmental role that wetlands play in supporting human life and biodiversity, according to a United Nations-backed report released today, which also stresses that their protection is essential for countries to transition into resource-efficient and sustainable economies.

Palo Alto Patch 10/12/2012
Rising sea level to have detrimental impact on Bay Area coast
Bay Area cities are attempting to adapt and innovate local infrastructure in order to prepare for the consequences of climate change.

KQED Quest 10/5/2012
Slideshow: An Early Fall Flight Around the Bay
Last week I went on an aerial tour of the San Francisco Bay. David Lewis, the executive director of Save the Bay, narrated. Bill Rush, a volunteer pilot with LightHawk, flew the plane. We saw tidal marsh and salt ponds; the cities, highways and industry that ring the Bay; and a good amount of fog.
View photos and

Richmond Confidential 10/15/2012
Oysters in for a comeback at Point Pinole
Olympia oysters, whose slender, two-inch shells can be found in historic Native American sites across the Bay Area, are believed to thrive in the shallow water below the tide. But more than a century after nearly disappearing, the Olys could make a comeback at Point Pinole.