Bay Nature magazineApril-June 2016

The Bay

Bayview: Yes on Measure AA

May 9, 2016

write this note in late February, spring is popping out all over. Milkmaids are abundant along trails and roads. Footsteps of spring are flowering on San Bruno Mountain. And yesterday on Mount Vision, I saw my first Douglas iris of the season. Can shooting stars be far behind? The opportunity to track the arrival of these harbingers of spring—the overture to my favorite time of year—is one of the many joys of living in this area, with so many places to seek out such wild beauty.

As I’m out greeting wildflowers, I think about the many people—some recognized, most not—responsible for protecting these areas and preserving our region’s biodiversity. Recognizing some of these people is the purpose of Bay Nature’s annual Local Hero Awards dinner, a March gathering of the local conservation community, which this year also marked our 15th anniversary.

Speaking of local heroes, I’d like to take a moment to honor a true Bay Area superhero, Sylvia McLaughlin, who passed away at age 99 on January 19. McLaughlin cofounded Save the San Francisco Bay Association (Save the Bay) with Kay Kerr and Esther Gulick in 1961, spawning the movement responsible for halting the unregulated development of the Bay shoreline. Thanks to McLaughlin’s vision and organizing skills, we are now well on our way to restoring the health of the iconic natural feature that holds this region together and gives us our identity.

On June 7, we’ll have the perfect opportunity to honor and complete McLaughlin’s vision for the Bay by voting for Measure AA. It’s a parcel tax to fund the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, established by the state in 2008 to oversee efforts to restore the health of the Bay and its shoreline. Passing this measure to raise $500 million over 20 years for Bay restoration will not only be a sentimental tribute to McLaughlin. It’s also our best chance to prepare the region for the looming challenge of sea level rise, which threatens much of the human and natural infrastructure around the Bay. It would fund more of the kind of innovative projects described in this issue’s “Conservation in Action,” wherein the creative power of applied science is unleashed to create the kind of resilient infrastructure we need to withstand rising tides and storm surges while also providing essential habitat for native plants and wildlife. Passage of this measure requires a two-thirds majority of the voters in all nine Bay Area counties, so please get out and cast your vote for Sylvia and for a healthy Bay … and Bay Area!

And speaking of resilient infrastructure, in June we’re raising the subscription and newsstand prices for Bay Nature by an average of 18 percent. Our first price increase since 2007 will help us keep pace with higher costs for printing, rent, health insurance, etc. But we’d like to invite you, our loyal readers, to renew or extend your subscription at the 2007 price! Go to to take advantage of this offer. Thanks for your continuing readership and support for the future of Bay Nature and the future of the Bay.

About the Author

From 2001-2017, David Loeb served as editor and then publisher of Bay Nature magazine, and executive director of the nonprofit Bay Nature Institute. A Bay Area resident since 1973, David moved here after graduating from college in Boston. The decision was largely based on a week spent visiting friends in San Francisco the previous January, which had included a memorable day at Point Reyes National Seashore. In the late 1990s, after many years working for the Guatemala News and Information Bureau in Oakland, David had the opportunity to spend more time hiking and exploring the parks and open spaces of the Bay Area. Increasingly curious about what he was seeing, he began reading natural history books, attending naturalist-led hikes and natural history courses and lectures, and volunteering for several local conservation organizations.

This was rewarding, but he began to feel that the rich natural diversity of the Bay Area deserved a special venue and a dedicated voice for the whole region, to supplement the many publications devoted to one particular place or issue. That’s when the germ of Bay Nature magazine began to take shape. In February 1997, David contacted Malcolm Margolin, publisher of Heyday Books and News from Native California, with the idea of a magazine focused on nature in the Bay Area, and was delighted with Malcolm’s enthusiastic response. Over the course of many discussions with Malcolm, publishing professionals, potential funders, and local conservation and advocacy groups, the magazine gradually took shape and was launched in January 2001. It is still going strong, with a wider base of support than ever.

Now retired, David contributes to his Bay Nature column "Field Reports."