The San Francisco Bay (Bay) drains water from 40 percent of
California. This includes flows originating from the Sierra
Nevada mountain range and the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers
that make their way down through Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta
through the Bay to the Pacific Ocean.
The Bay is the largest harbor on the U.S. Pacific Coast and
covers about 400 square miles with an average depth of 14 feet.
Its deepest point is 360 feet at the Golden Gate.
Every year, more than 67 million tons of cargo pass through the
Golden Gate. The Bay also supports commercial bait shrimp,
herring and Dungeness crab fisheries.
The Bay is a vital estuary and a key link in the Pacific Flyway,
and millions of waterfowl use the shallow portions of the bay as
a refuge each year.
Steelhead season is underway in the Central Valley as three
major hatcheries are set to release over 1.1 million fish into
the Feather, American and Mokelumne rivers later this month.
Steelhead are the migratory form of rainbow trout that make
their journey to the Pacific Ocean and return to freshwater
The first few months of this rainfall season were below average
across California, with drought conditions evident statewide.
Although the Golden State received a much-needed soaking in
late January, moderate drought conditions remain across Santa
Clara County. Valley Water remains focused on preparing
for future wet and dry years through various projects and
programs, including the proposed expansion of Pacheco Reservoir
in southern Santa Clara County. -Written by Valley Water Directors, Vice Chair Gary
Kremen, John L. Varela, and Richard P. Santos.
The Marin Municipal Water District is calling on customers to
voluntarily cut back on their water use for the first time
since the 2013 drought in response to meager rainfall
reminiscent of the notorious 1976-1977 drought.
A pipeline rupture that gushed hundreds of gallons of oil into
the San Francisco Bay spurred a class action filed Tuesday that
accuses a Chevron refinery of prioritizing profits over safety
and threatening the survival of herring in the area for years
to come. … On Feb. 9, a Chevron refinery in the East Bay
city of Richmond, California, discovered a pipeline leak that
oozed about 700 gallons of a substance described
interchangeably by Chevron as “a mixture of recovered oil and
gasoline”, “petroleum and water mixture” and “hydrocarbons.”
The threat of landslides is again in the news as torrential
winter storms in California threaten to undermine fire-scarred
hillsides and bring deadly debris flows crashing into homes and
The City of St. Helena has agreed to monitor local groundwater
levels and stream flows, averting a potential lawsuit from an
environmental advocacy group. Following months of negotiations,
the city and Water Audit California released a joint statement
Friday announcing the city will collect monthly water levels
and annual extraction totals for local wells and provide a
public, “scientifically useful” summary of the data. The city
will conduct a comprehensive review of its water system,
develop new protocols for using the city’s own Stonebridge
wells, and work with Water Audit on the installation of new
stream gauges along the Napa River, York Creek and Sulphur
San Francisco is challenging the EPA over conditions imposed in
a permit that allows the city to send discharge from its
combined sewer system into the Pacific Ocean, according to a
petition for review in the Ninth Circuit.
Emergency crews in Richmond, California, are rushing to clean
up an estimated 600 gallons of oil that spilled from a Chevron
refinery into the San Francisco Bay. Details on the spill are
still scant, but the emergency has reinvigorated calls from
residents and environmentalists for the city to change its
relationship with the refinery.
On December 17, 2020, the Sacramento County Superior Court
issued a ruling limiting the ability of the California State
Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) to implement its
adopted statewide wetlands and Waters of the State (“WOTS”)
The Chevron refinery in Richmond is investigating an oil spill
Tuesday afternoon, according to city and county officials. The
spill happened in what’s called the “Long Wharf” off Point
Richmond, where a sheen can be seen on the top of the water at
Marin County water districts are weighing the need for
mandatory conservation actions in the face of abnormally low
rainfall and what could be another prolonged drought. Marin’s
two largest suppliers — the Marin Municipal Water District and
the North Marin Water District — plan to begin with voluntary
conservation measures before considering more restrictive
options such as rationing and irrigation bans similar to those
of the 2014 drought.
The flood of state bills addressing sea level rise this year is
surging faster than the ocean itself, as legislators recognize
the urgent need to prepare for the consequences expected in the
Environmentalist groups aiming to stop a major controversial
housing development at the edge of Newark’s wetlands are
appealing an Alameda County court decision that would allow the
project to go forward, marking the latest volley in a
decades-long fight over the best use for the land. The Citizens
Committee to Complete the Refuge and the Center for Biological
Diversity … said the development “would contribute to
the loss of Bay wetlands and wildlife habitat,” such as the
endangered salt marsh harvest mouse, and could worsen flooding
in nearby areas.
For many Bay Area residents who live near the water’s edge,
little-publicized research indicates groundwater rising beneath
their feet could start to manifest in 10-15 years, particularly
in low-lying communities like Oakland. And that could resurface
toxic substances that have lingered for years underground.
For years, Gamble Vineyards has worked to create a more
biodiverse habitat on vineyard land, including establishing
animal sanctuaries throughout the property and donating acreage
to the Napa River Restoration project. Now the river’s growing
beaver population is chewing the trees that Gamble has planted
over the last 20 years.
A new set of winery wastewater guidelines will be imposed on a
statewide basis. The State Water Resources Control Board
recently adopted a general order regulating how wastewater will
be processed and discharged. … While the wine industry
is concerned with water quality issues, there is some concern
that a statewide mandate may not be the best approach to the
If the natural water supply doesn’t meet the water needs of an
increased population, Marin is going to have to revisit the
idea of building a desalination plant. Currently, the largest
U.S. desalination plant in San Diego produces 50 million
gallons daily at a cost of one cent per gallon. That cost is
kept low given the San Diego’s plant is adjacent to a power
station. If Marin had to draw its power from MCE or Pacific Gas
and Electric Co., the cost would rise to 1.33 cents per gallon
or $10 per billing unit over and above normal water
charges. -Written by Rick Johnson, who worked 40 years with the San
Francisco Water Department as a senior inspector and revenue
recovery project manager.
An NBC Bay Area investigation found 30 out of 39 sewage
treatment plants located around San Francisco Bay Area are at
risk of flooding as sea levels rise due to climate
change. Four of those plants could flood with as little as
9.84 inches of sea level rise. That’s an amount that state
analysts say is a possibility by 2030. If and when that
happens, toilets won’t flush, and in some cases, sewage could
back up into homes, whether residents live in the hills or
along the coast.
While wetter streets and a greener White House may offer San
Franciscans some hope for the future, the situation remains
dire for salmon in the Tuolumne River. … [I]t’s hard not to
feel that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s water
policies are partially to blame. Californians are significantly
reducing or eliminating dependence on river water. But the
SFPUC continues to side with agricultural users to fight
limitations on the water it takes from the Tuolumne. -Written by Robyn Purchia, an environmental attorney,
blogger and activist
When Palo Alto officials adopted a position in 2018 in support
of the Bay-Delta Plan, which aims to protect the Yosemite
ecosystem by restricting how much water cities can draw from
the San Joaquin River and its tributaries, they knew were
swimming against the prevalent political tide. Prompted by
water conservationists and environmentalists, the City Council
went against recommendations from the city’s Utilities
Department staff and its water supplier, the San Francisco
Public Utilities Commission, which relies on the Tuolumne River
for much of its water.
San Francisco Bay is dwarfed by the Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound
and other treasured estuaries when it comes to federal funding,
and California lawmakers want that changed. On Thursday, a
contingent of Bay Area members of Congress introduced
legislation that would boost federal money tenfold for
restoration of the region’s signature waters. Under the
proposal, $50 million a year for five years would flow to bay
projects that reduce water pollution, support wildlife, revive
wetlands and protect shoreline communities from sea level rise.
The sun shines meekly through a veil of morning fog and
wildfire smoke while several figures in orange vests, hard
hats, and face masks move slowly through a marsh on the north
shore of San Francisco Bay. …It’s early October at the mouth
of Sonoma Creek, where an unusual conservation project that
broke ground five years ago is nearing the finish line. Audubon
California and partner agencies are turning what was once a
400-acre stagnant backwater into a thriving wetland ecosystem
that will serve as a refuge from rising seas for decades to
For years, researchers have worked to solve the mysterious
cause of extreme coho salmon mortality in the Pacific
Northwest. A recent study by the San Francisco Estuary
Institute and the University of Washington has finally
identified the microscopic culprit as a highly toxic
contaminant associated with tire particles…The study focused
on water samples from the San Francisco Bay area and the Puget
Sound in Washington state, but scientists fear the contaminant
could affect coho salmon in the Eel and Klamath rivers as well.
Working with Rep. Jerry McNerney, Rep. John Garamendi
expedited completion of the Army Corps feasibility study for
the San Francisco Bay to Stockton Navigation Improvement
Project. This feasibility study examines deepening the John F.
Baldwin and Stockton Deepwater Ship Channels from their
existing depths of -35 feet mean lower low water to -40 feet
and beneficially reusing dredged sediment for marsh restoration
of subsided islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The Alameda City Council unanimously accepted a pioneering
report on the effects of sea level rise on
groundwater. The report, “The Response of the Shallow
Groundwater Layer and Contaminants to Sea Level Rise” finds
that rising groundwater levels are a hidden threat related to
sea level rise.
Seeking to overturn a federal district court determination that
the Cargill salt ponds in Redwood City are covered by federal
Clean Water Act protections, the Environmental Protection
Agency under the Trump administration and Cargill Inc.
representatives filed appeals to the ruling this week.
A four-year battle over a plan to dredge 13 miles of waterways
to clear San Francisco Bay for larger oil tankers ended Monday,
with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers announcing it was
scuttling the project.
Marin County flood planners are turning to Santa Venetia voters
to help pay for an estimated $6 million project to upgrade the
timber-reinforced berm that protects hundreds of homes from
All of Northern California is now in some kind of drought,
according to the federal Drought Monitor, with the Bay Area in
“severe” drought conditions and much of the Coast Range and
Central Valley in “extreme” conditions.
Winter is traditionally California’s wet season, when snowpack
accumulates and later melts, replenishing water supplies. But a
lot of rain and snow need to fall to make up for the dryness of
2020, a year of record-high temperatures and unusually low
precipitation in the state — a problem fueled by global
Early season storms typically sweep a slurry of debris from
streets and sidewalks into rivers, creeks and bays. This year,
the fall flush not only contains the usual gunk, waste experts
say, but a whole lot of discarded PPE — or personal protective
equipment, the detritus of the pandemic.
A new Stanford University study identifies residential water
use and conservation trends by analyzing housing information
available from the prominent real estate website Zillow. The
research … is the first to demonstrate how real estate data
platforms can be used to provide valuable water use insights
for city housing and infrastructure planning, drought
management and sustainability.
A marine construction barge that apparently became stuck in the
mud at low tide in the Petaluma River on Saturday was inundated
by the rising tide overnight, becoming partially submerged and
leaking fluids into the tidal slough… Moving the barge out of
the navigation channel was expected to be a long-term
challenge, and a problem for large boats just starting to use
the river again after its recent, long-awaited dredging.
Years in the works, Menlo Park’s first recycled water system is
up and running, carrying wastewater from local households to
the Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club, where a new treatment
facility cleans the water for irrigation use, keeping the golf
course a lush emerald green.
A 340-acre landfill facility in Richmond, Calif., is releasing
contaminated stormwater into nearby waters in violation of its
federal water pollution permit, a conservation group says in a
lawsuit filed in federal court.
A former quarry in south Santa Clara County will be humming
with fish and wildlife in the coming months as birds, frogs,
turtles and a variety of other species benefit from a newly
created wetland habitat and a restored Llagas Creek.
Over the past several months, a curious sight has arisen from
the waters surrounding South Marin. Four markers, painted in
black-and-white stripes and adorned with nautical symbols, have
been placed throughout the Bay to document the rising tides in
a new visual model created by Marin County sculptor Jeff
Though the monthly average is just over 1 inch, October is a
highly variable month, and it’s not unusual to end the month
with little or no rain in the Bay Area. It is however
exceptionally bad timing to do it twice in a row for only the
second time in the last 170 years, as the state reels from
fires, heat and smoke, on the heels of a record-breaking dry
winter and as most forecasts [for California] call for a drier
than normal winter ahead.
A clean water and flood protection measure that would extend an
existing Santa Clara Valley Water District program indefinitely
has nearly $340,000 in its campaign coffers. A bulk of
donations have come from unions, the construction and
engineering sectors and political action committees, according
to the latest financial statements filed with the state.
What geologists call vertical land motion—or subsidence and
uplift—is a key reason why local rates of sea level rise can
differ from the global rate. California offers a good example
of how much sea level can vary on a local scale. “There is no
one-size-fits-all rule that applies for California,” said Em
Blackwell, a graduate student at Arizona State University.
Working over the last year, construction crews expect to
complete a new 2-mile levee near Novato in the coming weeks. It
will allow bay waters to eventually reclaim nearly 1,600 acres,
or about 2.5 square miles, of former tidal marshes that had
been diked and drained for agriculture and development during
the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Oakland’s McClymonds High School is now safe for students and
staff to return to after a months-long closure because of a
toxic chemical found in groundwater on the campus. The school
first closed in February, just weeks before classroom
instruction was halted because of COVID-19.
Water from every toilet flush, shower and load of laundry is
treated and pumped back into the bay. San Francisco’s
wastewater management processes have kept cities going and
scientists busy for quite some time. The San Francisco Estuary
Institute researchers are committed to monitoring contamination
levels in the bay and studying the associated ecological
A federal judge ruled Monday that a sprawling collage of salt
ponds in Redwood City is subject to protection under the Clean
Water Act — going against a previous decision by the
Environmental Protection Agency that would have eased
development along the bay.
Assessments of the worst-case scenario predict the Bay may rise
a damaging 1.9 feet by 2050 and as much as nearly 7 feet by
2100. Restoring even a fraction of the Bay’s lost wetlands
would provide long-lasting benefits.
The proposed ecological wetland park at Alameda Point, known as
DePave Park, is another step closer to becoming a reality. On
Sept. 15, four members of the city council gave thumbs up to
moving forward with seeking a $2 million grant to pay for a
master planning process.
The last time Mt. Tamalpais had a major wildfire was in 1929.
In 1930, Marin’s population was 41,648. Today it’s more than
258,000. … As with many other utilities, the Marin Municipal
Water District is updating its treatment plants. It is unclear,
from a technology and science perspective, whether our
community treatment plant could handle sediment runoff from a
big rainstorm after a catastrophic, climate-driven wildfire.
The Embarcadero faces severe threats, with regionwide
repercussions from both earthquakes that could undermine the
city’s seawall and a rise in bay waters that could flood
downtown streets and inundate BART and Muni tunnels, according
to an exhaustive new study from the Port of San Francisco.
The San Francisco Bay-Delta is literally threatened from all
sides: rising sea levels from the ocean, disruptions to
sediment supply from upstream, and within the Bay-Delta itself,
development and other land use changes have left only a tiny
fraction (5%) of marshland untouched. … A recent study by
scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey used historical
streamflow and sediment data to predict what will happen to the
Bay-Delta under varying levels of climate change.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is extending its
Emergency Residential Community Assistance Program, designed to
help customers struggling to pay water, sewer and Hetch Hetchy
power bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, which
launched in May, was originally set to expire Sept. 4, but will
now be expanded through the end of the year
If current predictions hold, the entire Palo Alto Baylands
could be submerged by the middle of the century because of sea
level rise, a destructive predicament that would threaten both
the sensitive habitat and the critical infrastructure in the
nature preserve. To prepare for rising tides, the city is
moving ahead with the creation of a new Sea Level Adaptation
For the first time in years, boats will soon be able to travel
freely again down the Petaluma River. … Once a vibrant
waterway, Petaluma River is now silted in, full of mud. Lt.
Colonel John Cunningham says the river hasn’t had a full
cleaning by the Army Corps of Engineers for nearly 20 years.
Climate change could deliver more silt, sand and pollution to
the San Francisco Bay-Delta, along with a mixed bag of other
potential consequences and benefits, according to a new study
in the AGU journal Water Resources Research, which publishes
research articles and commentaries providing a broad
understanding of the role of water in Earth’s natural systems.
In the Aug. 14 outage, multiple redundant power sources failed
at the plant in West Oakland, something that hasn’t happened
since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Major flooding at the
pump station led sewage to flow from an outlet into the estuary
more than nine hours later. The incident occurred amid hot
weather when people like to swim in the estuary running between
Oakland and Alameda,
On Aug. 7, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a service
contract to Adanta, Inc. of Napa to expand and enhance an
existing wetlands on the Veterans Affairs (VA) property at
Alameda Point. The wetlands project is being implemented to
offset impacts to wetlands areas elsewhere on the VA property
where a health clinic, offices and a columbarium cemetery will
A major release of raw and partially treated sewage into the
Oakland Estuary earlier this month was triggered by a
rapid-fire series of electrical failures at the East Bay
Municipal Utility District’s main wastewater treatment plant,
the agency says in a report filed with state regulators.
Sea levels on the California coast could rise as much as seven
feet by 2100 and put tens of thousands of vulnerable San
Franciscans at risk of daily flooding, according to a new
report from the California State Legislative Analyst’s office.
Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, yet a world away from San
Francisco, in an unincorporated and oft-overlooked area known
as Marin City, sea level rise is rarely the first worry that
comes to mind. Traditional flood maps for this predominantly
Black and working-class community suggest that the area is safe
from rising water until 3 feet or more. But sea level rise is a
lot more complicated than just waves breaking over seawalls and
A stretch of concrete and asphalt that was once an aircraft
taxiway will be removed so the site along San Francisco Bay can
be converted to a wetlands park, according to a proposal the
city is considering.
The state will suffer dire long-term consequences if lawmakers
set aside concerns about rising seas to focus solely on
COVID-19, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office warned
Monday. Sea level rise will likely put at least $8 billion in
property underwater by 2050, and could affect tens of thousands
of jobs and billions in gross domestic product, according to
studies cited by the office. Sea level rise and related
flooding and erosion … also pose threats to water treatment
plants, roads, marinas, ports and railways.
When Brenda Goeden first started working on mud, silt, and sand
in the San Francisco Bay two decades ago, dredgers and
contractors couldn’t get rid of all the sediment they excavated
fast enough. … But today sediment is a hot commodity, as
restorationists and developers scramble to elevate salt marshes
and building sites before rising tides claim them. Now, a new
plan is in the works to optimize allocation of this critical
As part of Valley Water’s mission to provide flood protection
for our communities, we are continuously preparing for the
possibility of flooding. We must regularly keep our streams and
creeks well maintained to handle the rainy season and protect
the many species of wildlife that live there.
Saving our planet will require unprecedented focus and
investment from every sector of our society and all levels of
government — especially the federal government. Yet when it
comes to the San Francisco Bay — a national treasure and the
lifeblood of our region, producing over $370 billion in goods
and services annually and supporting more than 4 million jobs —
the federal government has been complicit in its deterioration.
State water regulators have issued a $285,000 penalty against
the Phillips 66 refinery for releasing millions of gallons of
industrial wastewater into San Pablo Bay early last year. The
penalty is the 11th issued in the last 17 years against the
Houston-based oil company. Its refinery sits on the bay shore
in Rodeo, just south of the Carquinez Strait and Vallejo.
The 49-year-old Callender grew up in San Jose and graduated
from Santa Teresa High School. He has been with the district
for 24 years and is the first African-American to head the
agency in its 90-year history. Rick Callender is well known for
his political connections and his role as the long time former
head of the local NAACP.
More than a year after planning efforts began, municipal
officials and advocates have determined that the Islais Creek
Adaption Strategy should include a comprehensive vision for how
the watershed can best serve nearby residents, workers and
businesses, as well as address ways to manage increasing flood
The work, which begins June 29, will complete critical
improvements to the North Shore Force Main (NSFM), a
pressurized sewer pipeline that transports wastewater in
northern San Francisco to the Southeast Treatment Plant in the
Bayview, which treats 80 percent of the City’s wastewater.
San Francisco’s water department, known for sourcing some of
the best supplies in the West, is building its first nature
center to commemorate its watersheds. The $27 million facility,
which broke ground this spring, is taking shape on city-owned
land in Alameda County, near the town of Sunol. The center is
designed to extend the tribute paid by the Sunol Water Temple,
a 110-year-old monument honoring local creeks…
After an absence of many decades, Chinook salmon swim up the
Guadalupe River in San José most winters. The fish look for
places to lay eggs and often find them. If there’s enough water
left in the dry season, their offspring swim back down the
river in the spring to head out to sea. Surprisingly, given the
generally heated politics regarding fish in California, little
else is known about these salmon.
After being docked for three months due to COVID-19
restrictions, the Department of Water Resources relaunched its
research vessel monitoring program, the Sentinel. It was the
first time since the 1970s that DWR didn’t have a monitoring
vessel taking field samples in the waters of the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Estuaries.
As winter rains intensify with climate change, flooding will
worsen in Santa Clara County, the Bay Area’s largest by
population… The Coyote Creek system — 1,500 miles of
waterways that drain a 350-square-mile watershed — connects
half a dozen elements that are key to climate adaptation, from
reservoirs to creek confluences to the Bay shore.
The North Marin Water District will push off a planned water
rate hike and restructuring plan for Novato until fall in
response to economic hardships caused by the coronavirus
pandemic. After a nearly two-hour discussion, the district
board of directors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to delay changes set to
take effect July 1 to Oct. 1.
Driving on Highway 101 from the South Bay, up the Peninsula,
commuters zoom by nearly invisible infrastructure keeping the
highway and nearby communities dry. Beyond the highway, at the
edge of the San Francisco Bay, are levees and tide gates
protecting roads and neighborhoods against high tides and storm
flooding. Unless you visit the bay lands to walk the levee
trails, you might never know these important structures exist.
San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the West Coast, and
in recent years much effort has been put into restoring tidal
marsh habitat in the Bay. … FISHBIO was recently invited to
tour one such project in the North Bay, where we had the
opportunity to use our ARIS sonar camera to examine the fish
community in the restored area.
Water pollution in San Francisco Bay, California has reduced
significantly due to the reduction in traffic, according to a
recent study in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
The toxic particles emitted by cars, in fact, fall into the
surrounding waters, inlets and on the coast for miles.
The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) Board of
Directors has selected Clifford C. Chan as the District’s next
general manager, succeeding Alexander R. Coate who served in
the role for nearly ten years. Chan, a 23-year employee of
EBMUD, has served most recently as the water utility’s Director
of Operations and Maintenance.
The City of San Mateo’s Clean Water Program is progressing to
Phase 2 of the upgrade and expansion of its wastewater
treatment plant on Detroit Drive. … The wastewater treatment
plant upgrade is the largest component of the $1 billion,
decade-long Clean Water Program.
When most people think of sea otters, they picture these
charismatic creatures wrapped in kelp as they float on their
backs in the ocean. But this iconic image is only part of the
story. Sea otters also once abounded in the San Francisco Bay
and other coastal estuaries. Now, a team of sea otter experts
is raising the idea of bringing sea otters back to our bay.
The water keeps rising, shrinking the window for implementing
solutions. Sea-level rise already threatens the bay shore,
which, at about 500 miles, is half the length of the entire
California coast. The worst is yet to come: The Bay Area needs
to plan for a 2-foot rise by 2050 and up to 7 feet by 2100.
The nation’s environmental watchdog may investigate federal
enforcement of water policy in California after Democratic
lawmakers accused the Trump administration of “irregular”
interference targeting San Francisco, according to a letter
sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Though Nina Hawk cited personal considerations as the reason
for her hasty exit, Hawk had recently faced
conflict-of-interest charges related to her husband’s
employment by Valley Water’s largest customer, a contract
overseen by the division she headed.
The survey data indicated that shotgun wads, the plastic piece
inside a shotgun shell that separates the shot from the powder,
are one of the top ten most commonly found plastic items on all
surveyed beaches. These shotgun wads likely come from waterfowl
hunting, year-round shooting ranges, and target shooting fields
along the San Francisco Bay and Delta.
As part of an ongoing effort to protect San Francisco’s
homeless population from Covid-19 infection, the city’s Board
of Supervisors passed an emergency ordinance Tuesday requiring
more restrooms and hand-washing stations for those living on
Valley Water CEO Norma Camacho is set to retire July 10, but
with the coronavirus outbreak forcing so many aspects of
society online, the district’s board members have had to get a
little creative in conducting their search for a successor.
West County Wastewater and East Bay Municipal Utility District
announced a recycled water partnership that will preserve
valuable drinking water for the region and support West County
Wastewater’s ongoing mission of environmental stewardship and
protecting public health.
On a recent sunny, windy March day – just before COVID-19 sent
the [San Francisco] Bay Area into lockdown – Dave Halsing stood
on the trails at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve and
pointed out what used to be old industrial salt ponds. He noted
how they’re gradually being restored into a rich mosaic of
tidal wetlands and other ecosystems in the South Bay Salt Pond
One unintended side effect of the novel coronavirus crisis
could provide much-needed relief for the San Francisco Bay,
according to David Lewis, executive director of the
environmental group, Save the Bay. Lewis says that cars
contribute to pollution in the bay in ways that aren’t always
obvious, and the reduction in traffic from the COVID-19
shelter-in-place order could help.
Ecologist Jonathan Young steered his rowboat alongside a
rectangular container that was floating between two bright
orange buoys. He reached under a plastic mesh covering and
pulled out a large black and brown object the size of his fist
that looked a lot like a clam. “These are the underdogs of
water quality,” he said. “And also, unfortunately, on their way
The whole San Francisco Bay ecosystem—that enormous estuary
with its maze of bays, rich delta, and associated rivers and
streams—is in the midst of an ecological calamity. Decades of
dam building and water extraction to quench the thirst of
California’s growing population and the needs of its mighty
agriculture industry have starved the state’s waterways, as
well as the bay itself, of crucial freshwater supplies. As a
result, the entire estuary is under enormous stress.
Led by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development
Commission, the report takes study findings from throughout the
region to demonstrate the shared impacts of sea level rise
ranging from 12 to 108 inches on housing, transportation
networks, critical environmental habitat, jobs and
The effluent is hauled ashore on barges, hit with a dose of
disinfectant, then deposited into a huge East Bay Municipal
Utility District sewer main called the Alameda Interceptor.
From there, the material joins the underground river of
everything else that’s been flushed down local toilets and
flows to the agency’s wastewater treatment plant at the foot of
the Bay Bridge.
A 48-inch increase in the bay’s water level in coming decades
could cause more than 100,000 Bay Area jobs to be relocated.
Nearly 30,000 lower-income residents might be displaced, and
68,000 acres of ecologically valuable shoreline habitat could
be lost. These are among the findings in the most detailed
study yet on how sea level rise could alter the Bay Area.
The advice is simple and universal: Washing your hands with
soap and water is one of the most effective ways to stop the
spread of the coronavirus. But for millions of people across
the country, that’s not simple at all: They lack running water
in their houses due to service shutoffs prompted by overdue
Highlighting the threat that coronavirus poses to basic public
health systems around California and the nation, a worker at
San Jose’s wastewater treatment plant — a facility that treats
the sewage from 1.5 million people in San Jose and seven other
cities — has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee is a
janitor working as part of a contract company.
The return of rainbow trout to Calaveras Creek marks a
milestone in an ongoing, multi-agency restora-tion of Alameda
Creek, which drains more than 600 square miles of the East Bay.
Much of the watershed is heavily developed and modified,
especially the northern reaches in and around Pleasanton and
For decades, the discussion over flood mitigation in Petaluma
has almost exclusively centered around storm surges and heavy
rainfall events. Now, months after the city made its landmark
climate emergency proclamation, attention is shifting to focus
more on sea level rise and scientific projections that offer a
glimpse into what could be a sodden future.
An employee at Silicon Valley’s largest water district has
tested positive for coronavirus, and at least eight other
employees, including CEO Norma Camacho, were in self-quarantine
as a result. … The employee is not involved with the
treatment or delivery of drinking water, and that service
continues uninterrupted, officials at the district, also known
as Valley Water, said Monday.
Stanford’s Newsha Ajami spoke with Sonia Tagare, host of
theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio,
during the Women in Data Science conference in Stanford,
California. They discussed how Ajami is working to bridge the
gap between science and policy in water management, building
solutions for water resilient cities, and changing the
traditional top-down water management model to a more
collaborative bottom-up approach.
Spurred by a recent change in federal flood zone maps and a
desire to prepare for rising seas, Foster City is in the
process of raising its levees by 1 to 7 feet. Residents voted
in 2018 to tax themselves in order to pay for the estimated $90
million upgrade. When the project breaks ground later this
year, the city of 35,000 people will vault to the forefront of
urban adaptation in the Bay Area to rising waters.
The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is the largest
tidal wetland restoration project on the West Coast. When
complete, the Project will restore 15,100 acres of industrial
salt ponds to a rich mosaic of tidal wetlands and other
habitats. The Project is intended to restore and enhance
wetlands in South San Francisco Bay while providing for flood
management, wildlife-oriented public access, and recreation.
As sea levels rise, so do the waters in the bay, which connects
to the Pacific Ocean through the Golden Gate. That relationship
between rising ocean levels and rising bay levels is well
known. What is less obvious is that groundwater levels are
rising as well, adding another variable to the region’s
equation of increasing flood risk.
An environmental watchdog group has filed lawsuits against the
cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale alleging that the cities’
aging sewer systems are leaking bacteria from human feces into
stormwater drainage systems, contaminating local creeks and
ultimately the Bay.
The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
has created an online mapping tool known as the Bay Shoreline
Flood Explorer that allows you to see the impacts of rising
oceans if precautions aren’t taken. You can see how much of the
shoreline is inundated at 12 to 144 inches of rise, as well as
the impacts of storm surges and exceptionally high tides that
can temporarily cause water levels to rise.
An investigation by NBC Bay Area has found more than two dozen
major construction projects worth billions of dollars – either
recently completed or still in development or – located in
areas along San Francisco Bay that scientific computer models
show will be flooded or surrounded by water by 2050 or earlier.
11,000 households in San Jose’s Willow Glen and Williams Road
neighborhoods received letters in the mail beginning in late
January from the San Jose Water Company warning that the wells
that provide them with drinking water tested positive for
elevated levels of per-flouro-octane sulfonic acid, known as
Two sprawling metropolitan areas offer a glimpse of the future.
One rich, one poor, they sit on opposite sides of the Pacific
Ocean: the San Francisco Bay Area (population 7 million) and
metropolitan Manila (almost 14 million). Their history, their
wealth, and the political and personal choices they make today
will shape how they fare as the water inevitably comes to their
A Bay Area environmental group has sued the cities of Sunnyvale
and Mountain View, saying they are in violation of the federal
Clean Water Act for discharging raw sewage and polluted storm
water into creeks, sending bacteria pollution to levels more
than 50 times legal limits.
The fate of Foster City and the rest of the Bay Area was front
and center last week as state lawmakers grappled with the many
threats California must confront as the ocean pushes farther
inland. A special committee of state lawmakers gathered — for
the second time in two months after years without meeting — to
reignite a much-needed discussion on how to better prepare
communities up and down the coast…
To adequately prepare for the impacts of sea level rise,
regional collaboration must be enhanced and a considerable
investment by the state is needed and soon, according to the
experts and officials who spoke at a hearing on sea level rise
Friday in Foster City.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission recently
purchased nearly 800 acres of verdant, rolling hills and
expansive bay area views east of Milpitas, a property known as
Wool Ranch, adding cohesion to its collection of protected
lands that surround the watershed feeding the Calaveras
This week the California Regional Water Quality Control Board
and the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District agreed to the
financial settlement over one of the district’s largest sewage
spills in recent memory.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s top official in
California was abruptly removed from office Wednesday. No
reason has yet been given for Mike Stoker’s dismissal. …
Stoker’s tenure was mired in controversy. In 2018, a few months
after he was appointed regional administrator, a “hotline”
complaint was filed with the EPA’s inspector general regarding
his infrequent visits to the region’s main office, in San
When the now-historic finger piers along San Francisco’s
Embarcadero were built, you can bet the builders never expected
that a century later, there would be engineering studies on how
to prepare the gaunt sheds for seas that could rise nearly 7
Researchers at Virginia Institute of Marine Science issued
their annual report card which looked at tide-gauge records for
32 coastal locations, stretching from Maine to Alaska. … The
Bay Area was home to two of those stations: one in Alameda and
one in San Francisco, which both recorded a year-over-year
“A lot of cities not at risk of sea of level rise will
experience the effect of it,” says Bistra Dilkina, a computer
scientist at the University of Southern California, who led the
study. “This will require an adjustment in terms of the
[increased] demand on the cities’ infrastructure.”
In the South Bay, Santa Clara County’s 10 reservoirs combined
are at about two-thirds of their normal levels at this point in
the year. Lexington Reservoir, near Los Gatos is just half
full. Water managers say local groundwater supplies remain
strong so the reduced Sierra snowpack is not yet of critical
Fracta combines artificial intelligence with machine learning
and measures everything from soil quality to population density
of an area, along with historical information on when pipes
were installed and what they are made of. The startup says it
has already won contracts in 23 states, including cities such
as San Francisco and Oakland, which have faced water shortages.
Since the 19th century, close to 90 percent of the marshland
that historically ringed San Francisco Bay has been lost to
development. The effects include diminished wildlife habitat,
increased flood risk, degraded water quality, and far fewer
opportunities for nature-based recreation. In 2016, more than
two-thirds of voters across nine counties supported ballot
Measure AA, a $12 per year parcel tax over 20 years to provide
$500 million in restoration funding to reverse some of those
Doug Ridley and Sherry Shen figured their condominium in Santa
Clara would serve as a retirement nest egg, drawing enough
rental income so they could comfortably travel to the United
Kingdom and Asia visiting relatives. Instead, the last two
years have turned into a homeowner’s nightmare, thanks to an
old artesian well
San Francisco homeowner Carmen Hermida was suspicious when she
got a postcard in the mail this month bearing the logo of the
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission from a private
company selling “protection programs” for water and sewer lines
on their property.
In an effort to aggressively combat the impacts of climate
change on low-lying areas of the Bay Area, the San Francisco
Regional Water Quality Control Board today proposed changes to
the region’s Water Quality Control Plan to better protect
shorelines from sea level rise, storm surges and flooding.
Last month, high tides in San Francisco Bay washed up onto the
shoreline of a large former pharmaceutical company in Richmond.
A few hours later, the outgoing tide pulled
contamination—including pesticides, toxic chemicals and
radioactive waste—off the industrial land and into the Bay.
Although water purified at the Silicon Valley Advanced
Purification Center is not currently part of Santa Clara
County’s supply of drinking water, the goal is to make that a
reality within the next decade or so.
Construction projects aimed at providing flood protection to
thousands of Mountain View properties is over budget and more
than a year behind schedule. The Santa Clara Valley Water
District’s board of directors signed off on another round of
funding in November for $4.7 million, aimed at offsetting cost
overruns that ate through most of the project’s contingency
Inside the dome on top of the Penitencia Water Treatment plant
in San Jose is the first permanent x-band weather radar system
in the Bay Area. “The radar system that you see up there is
collecting crucial data as we speak,” said Norma Camacho, CEO
of Valley Water.“ Camacho joined the San Francisco P.U.C.,
Sonoma Water and other partners in unveiling the new system,
which will improve weather forecasting across the region.
San Francisco city officials and employees will no longer be
sipping bottled water, but instead tap water provided by the
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission under a new pilot
program announced Thursday. The program aims to install new
reusable five-gallon containers at nine departments with
offices within City Hall, filled with tap water from the city’s
Slogging through thick mud may not be everybody’s idea of a
rewarding morning, but for a handful of dedicated volunteers,
it meant helping Mother Nature thrive. The Solano Land Trust’s
“Citizen Science Volunteer” program was at Rush Ranch Friday to
plant native plants around an area that has undergone major
tidal marsh restoration project…
When most think of the possible impacts of sea level rise, they
think of coastal flooding and the growing risks to shore-based
infrastructure — but there’s another sea level rise-related
threat that is much less talked about. As sea level rises, so
too will groundwater levels in coastal aquifers, and some
recent studies have concluded that in some coastal areas, as
much or more land could flood as a result of rising groundwater
tables than will flood directly from rising tides.
King tides, a naturally occurring phenomenon that received a
common name only a decade ago, are heading to California
shorelines this weekend — and with them, a series of public
events intended to show people the dangers posed by sea level
Hailing it as a “historic” agreement, Santa Clara County’s
primary water supplier, Valley Water, enthusiastically approved
on Dec. 10 a 76-year deal with Palo and Mountain View to
construct a water purification plant in the Baylands with the
intent of greatly expanding use of recycled water.
Those who are the most politically correct among those that
lecture the rest of the state from their perches atop the 40
plus hills of San Francisco about the environmental
shortcomings of the rest of California should take a long hard
look in the mirror. They thrive on some of the original — and
most hideous — environmental sins ever committed in the Golden
The low-lying island, as well as neighboring Yerba Buena
island, are also the site of a multibillion-dollar neighborhood
development. The project calls for 8,000 new homes and condos
that could house more than 20,000 people, 500 new hotel rooms,
and over 550,000 square feet of commercial space. But how will
climate change affect these plans?
The House has torpedoed a proposal to allow limited boating on
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park. Critics
feared the plan could introduce contaminants to the reservoir
that supplies famously pure drinking water for 2.7 million
people in the Bay Area. Boating on its waters has been banned
for nearly a century.
The company, Watsonville-based Monterey Mushrooms Inc., was
accused of polluting a South Bay creek with manure for years,
despite orders and warnings dating back to the 1980s. The
judgment, the largest for a water pollution lawsuit in county
history, will be used in part to restore the damaged Fisher
California’s coastal waters are acidifying twice as fast as the
rest of the oceans, a study published Monday shows. And some of
California’s most important seafood — including the spiny
lobster, the market squid and the Dungeness crab — are becoming
During its 10 years, the Ellis Wastewater Treatment Facility
has reshaped itself to take in waste produced by a rapidly
changing city, factoring in an increased population and new
industries like large-scale beer production. Recently-completed
projects costing roughly $9 million have changed the face of
the wastewater facility by expanding treatment capacity,
tackling hard-to-process industry waste and building a system
that will provide biofuel to city vehicles.
The top Democratic and Republican leaders in the House are
pushing for their own home-state projects in this year’s final
spending bills — a spectacular park overlooking San Francisco
Bay and a dam across the largest reservoir in California — but
without agreement from each other in the negotiations’ final
Urban flooding is increasing in the Bay Area for four main
reasons: California’s naturally variable precipitation
patterns, climate change increasing precipitation extremes,
population growth, and aging and insufficient infrastructure.
Homeless volunteers collect so much trash in the Russian River
watershed — 150,000 pounds as of October this year — that the
state Water Resources Control Board sees it as a model for the
rest of California.
The City Council will certify the Water Quality and Flood
Protection Initiative at its Dec. 17 meeting after Alameda
property owners voted in favor of a fee hike. … The increased
fee will fund repairs and new pump stations, which is vital to
combat potential flooding as sea levels rise; improve lagoon
systems, enhance street sweeping procedures and maintain and
install new trash capture devices. These devices are key to
keeping the shoreline free of trash and other debris.
As land around the Bay was developed, creeks were rerouted
underground through pipes called culverts for flood protection.
But in some spots, these hidden waterways can be brought back
up to the surface to provide habitat for wildlife and respite
for people. The Bay Area is a national leader in this type of
restoration, which is aptly called daylighting. And now we’re
undertaking our most ambitious such project yet.
Over the past three decades, a shoreline lagoon and a historic,
natural lake have been restored. Hundreds of thousands of
native plants — some of them endangered — have been planted.
Indigenous wildlife has returned, and an ancient creek
ecosystem was freed from underground pipes, exposing hidden
streams and ponds that once quenched the thirst of American
Studies suggest that in the US alone, the introduction of
invasive mollusks into local ecosystems costs more that USD 6
billion per year. In an attempt to respond to this problem, the
state of California (which is perhaps one of America’s most
environmentally conscious states) has introduced the ‘Marine
Invasive Species Act’.
A group of California Democrats on Monday pressed the EPA’s
internal watchdog to investigate whether the agency has
retaliated against their state for political reasons, including
by threatening to withhold federal funds for multiple
The Environmental Protection Agency fanned the flames of an
ongoing dispute with San Francisco on Thursday, reaffirming its
stance that the city’s water agency improperly discharges
wastewater into the ocean. In a letter to the San Francisco
Public Utilities Commission, EPA officials reiterated their
assessment that the city was out of step with its wastewater
discharge permit, which regulates water quality standards.
San Francisco Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously declared a
State of Urgency, calling on the city to expand its Emergency
Firefighting Water System to ensure the entire city is
protected in the event of a major earthquake or fire.
Currently, the water system only covers about one third of the
city, leaving neighborhoods in the city’s west and south sides
With drone photography, “we can track all of the trash in a
creek, river, or stream, examine how it’s distributed, and then
apply machine-learning algorithms to analyze those images as
often as we want,” says Tony Hale, program director for
environmental informatics at the nonprofit San Francisco
Estuary Institute. The drone research is part of a new project
by SFEI and its sister organization Southern California Coastal
Water Research Project, through funding from the Ocean
The start of work on the restoration of the Bel Marin Keys
wetlands is another example of efforts to bring back the miles
of wetlands that, over the past century, have been lost to
development, other encroachments and years of sedimentation
State transportation crews are wrapping up paving and drainage
improvement work along Highway 37 ahead of winter rains in an
attempt to avert flooding, which in two of the past three years
led to multiday closures of the critical North Bay commuter
Lew Stringer is leading a tour of the massive renovation
of the entire watershed on the Presidio’s waterfront. The
next string of pearls to be unearthed is Quartermaster Reach, a
7-acre salt marsh on the south side of Mason Street. … The
$118 million park project, opening in late Spring of 2020, is
part of a wetlands restoration movement across the Bay Area
that will benefit all species – including us – facing the
uncertain future of climate change.
Seeking to fortify the city against future droughts, the Palo
Alto City Council endorsed on Monday a long-term agreement with
Santa Clara Valley Water District and Mountain View to build a
salt-removal plant in the Baylands and then transfer the
treated wastewater south.
The board charged with overseeing the water quality in much of
the San Francisco Bay Area unanimously approved a plan
requiring local businesses, residents and government agencies
to reduce the amount of fecal bacteria they put into the
Petaluma River watershed, including San Antonio Creek.
Even today, with all we know about the challenges posed by
climate change and sea-level rise, some cities seem determined
to continue to fill and develop their shorelines. One of the
most flagrant examples is taking place in the city of Newark…
On Thursday, the East Bay city of Newark will consider
approving 469 single family homes and 2,739 parking spaces at
the edge of the San Francisco Bay shoreline, on a 430-acre
parcel where conservation groups and state and federal agencies
have for decades hoped to restore wetlands. … The proposal
illustrates one way even straightforward and widely agreed-upon
regional climate solutions can fall apart at the local level…
Instead of pushing efforts to restore wetlands and wildlife
habitat to help our region become more climate resilient,
developers and city leaders are pushing to advance plans to
fill in Newark’s Bay shoreline. The proposed “Sanctuary West
Residential Project,” would build 469 luxury units along the
City of Newark’s shoreline on a 559-acre site…
While breaking this levee would seem like a catastrophe, state
and federal agencies intend to do just that. The purpose is not
to unleash some biblical, punishing flood, but rather to allow
nature to reclaim nearly 1,600 acres of wetland habitat.
A state agency cannot make the federal government dredge two
vital San Francisco Bay channels more frequently, a federal
judge ruled Monday, despite arguments that less dredging could
increase the risk of a container ship accident or oil spill.
In order to take care of environmental concerns and maintain
our facilities in a safe and effective manner, we have
identified about 900 encroachments on public lands managed by
Valley Water that require resolution. … Valley Water has
implemented a new process to resolve these encroachments by
working with our community.
Working with the East Bay Regional Park District,
Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan has secured $4 million in
state funding to daylight and restore an over 2,000-foot
culverted section of creek in the upper San Leandro watershed.
The health of North America’s largest estuary, the San
Francisco Estuary, is showing some signs of improvement, but
much of the historic damage caused to the massive watershed has
either not improved or worsened, according to a new report.
Alameda property owners are being asked whether they are
willing to pay more to maintain and upgrade the city’s aging
stormwater system. … The reason? The city’s stormwater fund
is running a $1 million annual deficit and the system needs
about $30 million in upgrades, including at its pipe stations,
some of which date to the 1940s…
The Trump Administration’s EPA takeover, with its race to the
bottom rollbacks of the environmental and public health
protections that Americans have relied upon for decades, is
low; so low that even some of the industries the Administration
seeks to support are pushing back. But what the Trump
Administration has been up to lately in California–
weaponizing the Clean Water Act to serve a political
vendetta…well, can it get any lower than that?
When the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Andrew
Wheeler, accused California of allowing “piles of human feces”
on city streets to contaminate sewer systems … the
accusations, contained in a Sept. 26 oversight letter, had been
developed without the knowledge of the California-based staff,
which would normally issue such notices. Instead, it was put
together by a small group of political appointees in Washington
assigned specifically to target California, according to three
current E.P.A. officials.
The Alameda County Water District is considering shelling out
$72 million for a fourth-generation, 50,500-acre cattle ranch —
touted as the largest potential land sale in the state — to
preserve water quality, officials say. … The N3 Cattle Co.
ranch is roughly the size of Fremont. It’s located east of
Fremont, Milpitas and San Jose, south of Livermore, and
stretches into parts of Alameda, Santa Clara, San Joaquin and
A tiny fiberglass island is bobbing up and down in the San
Francisco Bay right now. From far away, it looks like a beluga
whale poking through the water. Up close, it looks like a
misshapen raft. In reality, it’s a buoyant structure known as
the “Float Lab,” which is designed to foster a floating
Concerned that rising waves will flood runways and buildings in
the coming years, officials at San Francisco International
Airport are moving ahead with a $587 million plan to build a
major new sea wall around the entire airport.
Areas under Clean Water Act, or CWA, jurisdiction are not
prohibited from being filled for development, but if developed,
the act does require federal oversight, permitting and full
mitigation for any loss of wetlands and wildlife habitat.
Removing CWA protections would likely make the 1,400-acre salt
pond site more profitable to develop, and thus more difficult
to purchase for tidal marsh restoration.
The loss of oyster reefs in the bay has affected its entire
ecosystem. Oysters are natural filter feeders, filtering out
small sediments and contaminants in the water. The unclean
water has made it difficult for underwater grass to grow,
reducing habitats for fish. The California Shellfish Initiative
… works to advance local restoration plans for the bay,
partnering with the California Coastal Conservancy to rebuild
its native oyster reefs and wetlands.
On a biological scale, 20 years is like the blink of an eye —
if not faster. But for San Francisco marine biology
researchers, 20 years is priceless in what it can tell about
the changing nature of the bay’s wildlife, especially in the
face of a changing climate.
California’s senators have asked the Environmental Protection
Agency’s watchdog to investigate whether the agency abused its
enforcement powers when it accused San Francisco of improperly
dumping waste into the ocean.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of
violation to San Francisco on Wednesday, accusing the city of
improperly discharging waste into the ocean and bay and
following through on President Trump’s recent pledge to cite
San Francisco for water pollution.
To optimize mitigation for impacts to wetlands, other
wildlands, and at-risk species, the California Department of
Fish and Wildlife is developing a program called the Regional
Conservation Investment Strategy (RCIS). … Each RCIS
identifies top conservation needs, such as habitat for
A new “green infrastructure” project under construction along
the western side of the block is designed to slow down that
process by detoxing the water through soil and plants and
pumping a purified product back out to the creek. The project,
a whopping seven years in the making, is part of a $4 million,
Now that the San Francisco Giants’ underwhelming season is
over, the team has big off-season plans — at least in terms of
real estate. Construction should begin this winter on the first
phase of the remake of the team’s parking lot south of McCovey
Cove along Third Street, including a 5-acre waterfront park
with tide pools open to waders and a bayside lawn capable of
holding 5,000 people.
In an effort to widen the use of a nearly limitless — but
expensive — source of water for California and other places
worldwide that are prone to shortages, Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory has been selected to lead a $100 million
project aimed at bringing down the cost of desalination.
Jaime Jahncke, a marine biologist with Point Blue Conservation
Science, which is headquartered in Petaluma, said the concern
is that another long-lasting warm water episode could do
serious harm to an already fragile ecosystem. “We’re going into
a blob and we don’t know what’s happening next,” said
If the battle against climate change has a front line, the
shore of San Francisco Bay might be it. At the County Parks
Marina in Alviso, trucks rolled in like an armored column,
delivering tons of dirt that will eventually be used to build a
4-mile-long sea wall.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Bay Area
conservation groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency
Tuesday for failing to protect Redwood City’s salt ponds under
the Clean Water Act, a decision they say will harm the San
Francisco Bay ecosystem.
Santa Clara County has 23 active Superfund sites, more than any
other county in the United States. … The sites came to the
attention of the EPA after groundwater testing in the area
revealed that toxic chemicals—notably, a solvent called
trichloroethylene—were present, possibly from leaking pipes or
underground storage tanks.
In an effort to open the spigot on recycled water in the
region, Palo Alto and Santa Clara Valley Water are exploring a
deal that would send the city’s wastewater to a treatment plant
elsewhere in the county, where it would be treated, transformed
into potable water and potentially resold to the city for its
residents and businesses.
It’s a big feat to get 65,000 people to do anything, let alone
spend three hours picking up soiled trash. Yet, state officials
are expecting around that number to turn out Saturday for the
35th annual Coastal Cleanup Day.
Two bills to ban smoking at all state beaches — with a $25 fine
for violators — have reached Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk and await
his signature. Former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed similar bills
three times, saying people should be allowed to smoke outdoors
in parks. But this year there’s a new governor.
Claims by President Donald Trump on Wednesday that discarded
drug needles in San Francisco are making their way through the
city’s sewage system and into San Francisco Bay and the Pacific
Ocean were widely blasted the following day by experts who say
he has no idea what he’s talking about.
Dr. Jim Cloern is a recently retired senior scientist emeritus
at the US Geological Survey who has spent his career learning
how estuaries respond to human activities and variability of
the climate system. In this brown bag seminar, Dr. Cloern gives
specific examples of how local, regional, and global scale
processes affect the San Francisco Bay and Delta.
“There’s tremendous pollution being put into the ocean because
they’re going through what’s called the storm sewer that’s for
rainwater,” Trump said. “And we have tremendous things that we
don’t have to discuss pouring into the ocean. You know there
are needles, there are other things.”