A little over a year ago, California voters became the first in the United States to approve a single-use plastic bag ban. With the passage of Proposition 67, Californians took a stand to protect our state’s diverse and fragile environmental systems from being further harmed by plastic bag litter. One year later, we are proud to say that the ban has been successful in reducing the amount of plastic that reaches local waterways and harms wildlife and water quality.
Far from going unnoticed, California’s plastic bag ban set a trend. Hawaii decided to implement its own statewide bag ban, and municipalities across Massachusetts and Washington have taken the same step to protect waterways and wildlife. While many states have yet to follow our example, Californians should be proud of the fact that we have proven ourselves once again to be leaders in protecting both local and global waters from toxic plastic pollution.
This spring, Save The Bay’s Habitat Restoration team laid the groundwork of an enormous and unprecedented effort to create new habitat at a sewage treatment plant in San Lorenzo.
The 10-acre project at the Oro Loma wastewater treatment plant will eventually include a manmade wetland basin and a new type of levee. It’s all part of a giant experiment to mimic historic wetlands and address three crises that loom over San Francisco Bay’s shorelines: declining water quality, threats to wildlife habitat on the Bay, and destructive flooding caused by rising seas and increasingly powerful storm surges.
Braving long days in the hot sun at the treatment plant, our native plant specialists have already constructed the site’s giant outdoor nursery. With help from an army of our amazing corporate and community volunteers, we have already begun to propagate the 70,000 native seedlings needed to establish this new ecosystem. The site will double as an outdoor laboratory for researchers who will conduct field tests to better understand how treated wastewater and this new kind of levee can address critical issues facing the Bay. Continue reading “Going Big: Building an experimental habitat for a better Bay”→
Great news! Thanks to a groundswell of support, Bay Area voters will now have a chance to vote for a Clean and Healthy Bay this June. This is the greatest opportunity in a generation to restore our Bay for people, wildlife, and our economy. Are you in?
Tim Pine is an Environmental Protection Specialist with UC Berkeley and is the Surface Water Quality Program Manager for the University. He has more than 20 years of professional experience in the discipline of water quality protection in California.
This April, UC Berkeley resurrected a long time tradition when it held a campus-wide Cal Clean-Up Day to engage the students of Cal to take the time to spruce up the university’s grounds and creek.The theme this time was called “Gettin’ the Butts Out!” to celebrate and tie in Berkeley’s first year as a Tobacco Free Campus (as of January 2nd, 2014).
Limited edition t-shirts were given to all participants and there were prizes for the individuals and teams that collected the most cigarette butts on campus. In just a few hours, nearly a gallon of butts were picked up as well as other litter found around campus and along the banks of Strawberry Creek, which flows the length of the university and then out to San Francisco Bay.
The event was organized and staffed by members of the UC Berkeley Office of Environment, Health & Safety, the Campus Department of Refuse and Recycling, and the Grounds Department, demonstrating a campus-wide commitment to a trash- and tobacco-free UC Berkeley.
Our enthusiastic volunteers made a real dent in the number of butts on UC Berkeley grounds and sets the stage for a more robust effort coming in the 2014 Fall Semester.