The diversity of the San Francisco Bay is most visible from an aerial view – from the South Bay salt ponds to the East Bay’s Arrowhead Marsh to the Sonoma Baylands. The Bay is so many things – wildlife preserve, transportation route, tranquil setting for millions of residents. Yet it is also a place threatened by pollution, rising sea levels, and development. Many do not know that one third of the San Francisco Bay had been filled in by the time Save The Bay was founded in 1961. Currently, only five percent of the Bay’s original wetlands remain.
Recently, I took flight in a small four-seater plane with Save The Bay’s CEO David Lewis and Janine Kraus to see first-hand the progress they have made in protecting our region’s most valuable asset. This flight was made possible by LightHawk, an organization that donates plane flights to nonprofits. Circling the bay from above gave me a new perspective on the beauty of our bay and the issues that continue to threaten it.
In the past 15 years, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation’s donors have provided more than $1 million in funding to Save The Bay to create a healthier bay. Their relentless conservation efforts have ensured that more than 44,000 acres of wetlands have been restored or are planning to be restored through a three-pronged approach that includes preventing development, improving water quality, and re-establishing tidal marsh.
It is our right as Bay Area residents to have a clean and healthy bay that can be enjoyed by all, and we are indebted to Save The Bay for its work over the years to fight for that right.