The San Francisco Bay is our region's dominant geographic feature.

Plastics in the Ocean

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Nurdles bobble but they don’t go down. Nurdles are industrial-grade plastic pellets that get melted to make all manner of plastic products, but in the process of packaging and transportation, the nurdles often escape and make their way through storm … Read more

Artificial Reefs for Oysters

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In our October-December 2004 issue, Bay Nature reported on efforts to restore once-thriving Bay populations of the West Coast oyster, Ostrea conchaphila, which were devastated by a complex mix of Gold Rush-era sedimentation, Bay fill, pollution, and over-harvesting. In the … Read more

Mercury Clean-Up in San Francisco Bay

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In July, the State Water Resources Control Board approved a plan to clean up mercury in San Francisco Bay, fulfilling a mandate set in 2002 when the Bay was placed on the impaired list under the Clean Water Act. According … Read more

San Francisco Bay Oil Spill Resources

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The November 7 oil spill in San Francisco Bay has us all looking for information on how to help. At this point, most of the immediate clean-up work is done, but there are still a number of reources available online, … Read more

A Shore Thing

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The East Bay shoreline is strung like a necklace with more than a dozen parks, from the bluffs of Point Pinole near Richmond to the sandy beach and shallow waters of Alameda’s Crown Beach to the salt marshes near Coyote Hills. The place where water meets land is a magnet for life of many kinds, and these parks are no exception: recreational destination for joggers, swimmers, and windsurfers; home for leopard sharks, bat rays, and crabs; wintertime smorgasbord for thousands of shorebirds. Turn back the clock a few decades, and you would have found garbage dumps or dynamite factories here. Skip back a few more decades, and you would find thriving aquatic ecosystems. You can still see traces of all of this and more at the shoreline parks of the East Bay Regional Park District.

Marsh Gumplant

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Defining the edge of a shifting body of water like San Francisco Bay, whose exact extent changes with every tide, every season, every storm, can be tricky business. In our region the regulators sometimes fall back on a botanical criterion. … Read more

Napa-Sonoma Marshes

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We are somewhere west of the Napa River, nosing in a small boat along a slough between hollow islands known as Pond 2 and Pond 5, trying to grasp just how much has changed hereabouts in the last 24 months. … Read more

Sears Point

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The southernmost hump of the Sears Point ridge, known locally as Cougar Mountain, looms over Highway 37. Not its height but its isolated station makes it visible from highways and byways all over the North Bay. Now its windswept slopes … Read more

Islands in a Sea of Grass

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The East Bay hills are dotted with hundreds of ponds, many of which offer welcome habitat and shelter to native wildlife, from threatened California red-legged frogs and tiger salamanders to toxic newts, voracious water bugs, and migrating waterfowl. Just about any pond, from a verdant clear blue pool to the merest muddy puddle, has something interesting going on beneath the surface. But perhaps the most remarkable fact about these ponds is that nearly all of them were created as watering holes for livestock. Today, the East Bay Regional Park District is working to understand the complex relationships between native species, grazing cattle, and artificial ponds.