Baykeeper's Monthly Column

Baykeeper publishes a monthly column on San Francisco Bay cultural, environmental, and maritime issues.
(August 2012) The America’s Cup races give us thrilling views of the world’s fastest sailboats—and a great opportunity to put into practice our commitment to a healthy, thriving San Francisco Bay. One legacy of the America’s Cup will be less polluted storm water in the Bay. As San Francisco piers are retrofitted to accommodate visitors and racing teams, new pollution controls are being added....
(July 2012) With San Francisco Bay’s summer recreation season in full swing, let’s hear from those who love to play on and in the Bay. Ben Patton, kiteboarder: "Kiteboarding has a kind of freedom to it. It’s like sailing, but even closer to the water. When I’m out on the Bay, I enjoy seeing the mix of people, economic activity and nature, all at the same time. Mostly I kiteboard at Crissy Field....
(June 2012) In the 1960s and early 70s, San Francisco Bay just plain stank. Raw or partly treated sewage entered the Bay in 83 places. Refineries, smelters, pesticide manufacturers and other industrial facilities pumped their waste directly into the Bay. The Bay Area wasn’t alone. Across the nation, water quality was at an all-time low. A symbol was the Cuyahoga River in Ohio, so choked with...
(May 2012) Are gray whales coming into San Francisco Bay more often? Baykeeper is helping to find out, and you can help, too. We’re assisting the Oceanic Society with a new study to find out how many gray whales are coming to the Bay and what dangers they face. The public is encouraged to help by reporting all whale sightings. Gray whales can enter San Francisco Bay any time of year, but they...
(April 2012) With Opening Day on the way, and the America’s Cup around the corner, lots of folks—including Baykeeper—are busy with spring boat maintenance, all in preparation for a special boating season. After a (second) four-year stint with silicone-based epoxy hull paint, our 19’ C-Dory catamaran (with twin Hondas), The Baykeeper, is due for repainting. We’ve had her cleaned diligently every...
(March 2012) Can one boater make a difference? Consider this: A weekend boater flushing untreated sewage into San Francisco Bay produces the same bacterial pollution as 10,000 people whose sewage passes through a treatment plant. One marina operator can make a big difference, too. At Sausalito’s Galilee Harbor, a co-op affordable-housing marina owned by its tenants, every boat is connected into...
(February 2012) In the not-too-distant future, Sausalito and Marin City streets could be underwater twice a day. High tides could regularly overflow onto San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Around San Francisco Bay, storm drains will run in reverse, with salt water backing up in low-lying communities. Frequent flooding in winter will be the new normal. The more the world’s nations fail to agree...
(January 2012) As cold rain fell from the night sky, we slipped our kayaks into the dark waters off the East Bay shore. The Bay’s surface was calm. The only sound was raindrops splashing on our kayaks and the water around us. Lights from shore allowed us to find our way. Baykeeper staff scientist Ian Wren and I suspected that toxic metals were being washed into San Francisco Bay. We were...
(December 2011) Ah, the holidays. Gathering with friends and family—turkey, roasts, gravy, buttery homemade desserts, sewage . . Sewage? Yes, unfortunately. For San Francisco Bay, the holiday season comes with a surge of pollution from sewage. A major reason is the cooking and cleanup of rich holiday meals. Fortunately, there are ways we can all make sure our kitchens don’t pollute the Bay...
(November 2011) Pesticides are one of the main contaminants to Bay Area creeks and the aquatic life that forms the base of the Bay’s food web. Future columns will discuss our efforts to reduce local governments’ use of pesticide. Read on to learn what you can do to stay pesticide free—for the health of your family and the Bay. Avoid anti-bacterial soap with triclosan. Washing your hands with...

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