The Golden Gate, sea otters and hounding

August 24, 2012

Happy Friday!

One of the busiest waters off the California coast – the ocean west of the Golden Gate Bridge – could become a marine sanctuary if the Obama administration has its way. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has proposed expanding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which stretches from the Marin Headlands to Hearst Castle, right up to the bridge next year. Doing so could bring new rules affecting everything from fireworks shows to a ban on Jet Skis off the Marin Headlands, and would come with additional protections for wildlife. [San Jose Mercury News]

Ocean Beach in San Francisco has too much sand on the northern end, and not enough sand on the southern end. So, the city and the National Park Service have begun a massive experiment in sand relocation to stop severe erosion along the southern end of the Great Highway. They’ve begun trucking 100,000 cubic yards of sand, the equivalent of 31 Olympic sized swimming pools. [KQED Climate Watch]

As we’ve mentioned before, it’s been a good year for whales, leatherback sea turtles, and chinook salmon. Add sea otters to the list. This year’s annual survey of sea otters between San Mateo County and to Santa Barbara tallied 2,792 sea otters, including 379 pups. That’s the third-highest number of pups counted in a spring census. Scientists are calling it a “tepid recovery” for this threatened marine mammal. [Bay Citizen]

Curious about what’s behind the odd practice of hunting bears with dogs? State lawmakers are considering banning “hounding“, which is used in about half the 1,700 black bears hunted each year in California. Apparently, the dogs chase the bears into trees, making them easy targets. “There is nothing humane about chasing and harassing an animal like a bear for hours and miles on end until it’s so exhausted that it climbs a tree,” says the California director of the Humane Society, which is a leading proponent of the ban. [KQED Quest]

The UC Botanical Garden has been in the cross hairs of political conservatives recently because it’s hosting an art installation made with salvaged glass tubes from the bankrupt Fremont-based solar cell manufacturer Solyndra. “Not everyone likes every work in this exhibition,” botanical garden Director Paul Licht told Berkeleyside. “But I’ve met no one who doesn’t like this work. It’s a fascinating use of materials.” He’s hoping all the attention on Fox News, and even in Congress, will help raise money for the art collection. [Berkeleyside]

For more on the UC Botanical Garden’s amazing interplay of nature and art, check out this follow up story. [Berkeleyside]


About the Author

Alison Hawkes was a Bay Nature editor from 2011-2017. Before Bay Nature she worked in journalism for more than a decade as a former newspaper reporter turned radio producer turned web editor with each rendition bringing her closer to her dream of covering environmental issues. She co-founded Way Out West, a site dedicated to covering Bay Area environmental news.