Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for June 2011

San Francisco Baykeeper E-News
E-News Update for June 2011
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San Francisco Bay

Federal Court Victory: West Bay Liable for Sewage Spills

Bayfront ParkOn May 24, a U.S. District Court found the West Bay Sanitary District to be liable for 21 illegal sewage spills that flowed directly into area creeks and sloughs over the past five years. The District could incur Clean Water Act penalties of up to $975,000.

Baykeeper brought suit against West Bay – which serves Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, East Palo Alto and Woodside – in December 2009 for systemic sewage spill problems. West Bay is attempting to fight our lawsuit, despite the District's clear liability for its own self-reported spills. If West Bay presses forward with trial, it could face penalties of $37,500 per day of violation of the Clean Water Act for an additional 68 spills.

Read more about this major victory for cleaning up sewage spills in the Bay.

Progress on Protecting Waterways from Pesticides

Take action to protect waterways from pesticidesOur advocacy to defeat a Clean Water Act pesticide exemption is working! U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer has joined talks between the Senate agricultural committee and the Environmental Protection Agency, giving her a role overseeing a bill in the U.S. Senate that would exempt pesticides from the Clean Water Act.

Thank you to all of our members who took action urging California Senators Boxer and Feinstein, as well as Senator Stabenow, Chair of the Agricultural Committee, to fight this attempt by the agriculture and chemical industries to undermine the power of the Clean Water Act. Your advocacy has made a difference.

If you haven't already done so, please take action today to help defend critical pesticide regulations.


Debate Continues on Bay Climate Change Plan

Bay Shoreline by Francois D (Flickr/CC)The debate continues between private developers and environmentalists over a proposal by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission that calls for development around the Bay to recognize sea level rise and plan accordingly. The Commission has postponed a final vote until October, pending further public comment.

Baykeeper will continue to advocate in support of protecting sensitive shorelines from irresponsible development. The Bay Citizen reported earlier this month that development interests have spent $350,000 on lobbyists over the last year to influence sea level rise plans around the state.

To find out how you can help speak up in support sensible climate change planning for the Bay, please contact Ian Wren, Baykeeper Staff Scientist, at or (415) 856-0444 x108.


A Successful Downwinder for the Bay

Kiteboarders by Longbr (Flickr/CC) On Saturday, June 11, nearly 100 kiteboarders came together to raise funds for Baykeeper and increase awareness of how Bay pollution impacts kiteboarders. They sailed 10 miles across the Bay from Crissy Field to Berkeley and raised more than $3,000 for Baykeeper.

Thank you to all the organizers and participants!


Join the TransBay Relay Swim on September 10

TransBay RelayTake the cross-Bay plunge! On September 10, join Baykeeper for the second annual TransBay Relay benefit swim for San Francisco Bay.

The TransBay Relay is a 9-mile swim from the Golden Gate to the East Bay; swimmers participate on a relay team or as a solo swimmer. Each swimmer is asked to raise $400 to support Baykeeper's work. Learn more and register for the TransBay Relay.


Volunteer Opportunity: Help Fight Invasive Kelp

Undaria VolunteersHelp remove invasive kelp in local waterways by volunteering with Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) at these upcoming events in June and July:

Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay
Sunday, June 19 at 9 AM
Saturday, July 23 at 9 AM

San Francisco Marina (Gas House Cove)
Monday, June 20 at 9 AM
Friday, July 22 at 9 AM

And, if you're a boater, please keep an eye out for this invader at local marinas and report suspected sightings to SERC. Contact them at or call (415) 435-3528. Read more information from SERC about the spread of Undaria in San Francisco Bay.

Federal Court Victory: West Bay Liable for Sewage Spills