Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Request to review Restoration Authority anticipated projects list

Click here to view an email from from Kelly Malinowski of the State Coastal Conservancy regarding a request for  input on a list of previously compiled projects that may potentially be eligible for Authority funding.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

SF Bay Shoreline Advocates Meeting: Monday, April 3

Shoreline Advocates returns this spring with a fascinating meeting in Novato, focused on positive action in the face of climate change.
SF Bay Shoreline Advocates Meeting
New Time: Monday, April 3 -- 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Optional tour of Hamilton Wetlands at 12:00 PM
The Marin Community Foundation
5 Hamilton Landing, Suite 200
Novato, CA 94949
Details about the meeting location will be sent to those who RSVP.

Besides our usual quick round-table of updates, you'll hear from:
  • Roger Leventhal, lead environmental engineer for several major Bay and Delta wetland-restoration projects.
  • Barbara Salzman, President and longtime project manager with Marin Audubon Society and pioneer of wetland restoration in the area.
  • Ralph Boniello, Alameda Creek Alliance, with briefs on how environmental groups can take part in the upcoming March for Science, as well as a collection of ideas for outreach to kids -- timely for spring tabling!
  • Christina McWhorter, Hamilton Wetlands Native Plant Nursery Manager, will speak on the 2,600-acre Hamilton/Bel Marin Keys restoration project, where dredge spoil was used to "refill" the diked and sunken Hamilton airfield, re-opened to the tides in 2014.
Coffee and snacks 8:45 AM, meeting 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM (please bring a sack lunch).

Following the meeting there will be a brief optional tour of the Hamilton Wetlands.

Room space will be limited, carpooling is encouraged. Email to RSVP.

Complete agenda coming soon.

Shoreline Advocates is an informal group of organizations and individuals aimed at sharing information and working together for water, nature, and the environment in the Bay Area. All are welcome!

The San Francisco Bay Shoreline Advocacy Event steering committee:

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Measure AA passed! Next: Nov. vote on CA's plastic-bag ban

Measure AA, helping to fund Bay restoration, has passed.

Next, shoreline and watershed groups may want to let folks know about the coming November vote on California’s ban on single-use plastic bags.

Many of us have seen the huge reduction in shoreline litter that resulted from local bans on these bags, which wind and water carry everywhere. In 2014, California’s legislature passed, and Governor Brown signed, the nation’s first statewide ban on most single-use plastic bags.

But bag manufacturers have spent millions to put the measure on the November ballot, and will spend millions more to get the ban repealed. 

On Sat., June 25, two free training opportunities are available in Cupertino, sponsored by Clean Water Action:
  • 8:30 AM (breakfast) – 12:30 PM Sat., June 25, “ReThinkDisposable – methods and messages for engaging the public in reducing packaging.” Info and sign-up here
  • 12:45 PM (lunch) – 2 PM, advocacy training (also with Save the Bay).  Info and sign-up here
Both are at Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N. Stelling Rd., Cupertino.

You also can distribute, publicize, or adapt the following Clean Water Action materials:

Berkeley’s Ecology Center, which in many ways pioneered the ideas that led to the bag ban, will be scheduling events during their international “Plastic-Free July.” Check their background information and, closer to July, calendar


Our next Shoreline Advocates meeting will tentatively be Monday, Oct. 17, 10 AM -12:30 PM at Berkeley's Shorebird Nature Center. Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Shoreline Advocates Ballot initiative follow-up; next mtg. Oct. 17

This is a follow-up to Shoreline Advocates' March 7, 2016 meeting with briefings on upcoming ballot issues.

Our next meeting will tentatively be Monday, Oct. 17, 10 AM -12:30 AM at Berkeley's Shorebird Nature Center. Stay tuned! 

1. Measure AA in June: I'm sure you all know that the Measure AA $12/year parcel tax for Bay restoration is on the June 7 primary ballot. The measure needs 2/3 approval to pass.
Below (blue block) is text that can be adapted to support the measure. Many groups, including Audubon and the League of Women Voters, have short support messages on their web sites that could be paraphrased. 

2. No constitutional amendment for stormwater in November:
Mitch Avalon, retired head of Contra Costa flood control, now working as a consultant, sent along the news that due to unpromising polling, the November ballot will not include a Constitutional Amendment to (a) allow local government raise stormwater fees without a vote, the treatment now given sewer fees, and (b) allow higher water rates for big water users, in order to encourage conservation. 

This leaves local government on the hook for urban-runoff costs, which have been greatly increased by state and federal mandates and are likely to balloon as infrastructure ages and global warming continues. It also means that it will remain difficult to use fees to discourage water wasting during drought.

Below (last block, white background) is full information from the groups backing the proposed amendment. 

Thanks for reading! Please share this blog post with others you think may be interested!

Susan Schwartz, Friends of Five Creeks, f5creeks{at}gmail{dot}com

Here is information that can be used or paraphrased to support Measure AA (thanks to Amanda Brown-Stevens of Trust for Public Land)

[I am/Organization] endorsing/es Measure AA, the measure to protect and restore the San Francisco Bay for future generations. Measure AA, the San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention, and Habitat Restoration Program is on the June 7, 2016 ballot. This measure is crucial to protecting the Bay and the region's economy.  If approved by voters, this measure would improve the Bay for people and wildlife, while strengthening our economy and preparation for climate change. Measure AA would restore thousands of acres of tidal marsh to:
  • Reduce trash, pollution and harmful toxins in the Bay;
  • Improve water quality;
  • Restore habitat for fish, birds and wildlife;
  • Protect communities from floods; and
  • Increase shoreline public access.
More wetlands will improve the Bay by filtering out pollution for cleaner water; increasing habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife; expanding Bay trails and shoreline access; and protecting low-lying communities and critical infrastructure from floods. The Bay is challenged by pollution, climate change, and other threats, and needs 100,000 acres of wetlands to be healthy and sustainable. More than 30,000 shoreline acres are already awaiting restoration, but the missing piece is funding. This measure will generate $500 million for critically important projects, and will help our region leverage even more state and federal funding.

We want our children to inherit a clean and healthy San Francisco Bay – one that will be part of their lives the way it is part of ours – we need to act now to clean it up and restore it. The San Francisco Bay Area is a uniquely desirable place to live and work, and San Francisco Bay itself is central to it – a touchstone of our region’s identity and a major reason for our strong economy and excellent quality of life. Measure AA would complete Bay restoration and shoreline protection projects to ensure that it will remain healthy, beautiful, and resilient for future generations.

The San Francisco Bay is the heart of our region, and its health is central to our economy and our quality of life. Yet, if left unchecked, the increasing flood risks facing the Bay Area could cause major damage and severely cripple the region's thriving economy. Sea level rise and increasing storm activity due to climate change coupled with an aging levee system and reduced wetlands have made the Bay Area vulnerable to devastating flood events. Compounding the threat, much of the region's vital infrastructure is located at or below sea level, including airports, hospitals, water treatment plants and many miles of area highways. An estimated $10.4 billion in damages is at stake.

This measure would establish a modest $12 parcel tax (just $1/month) on all property owners in all nine Bay Area counties. A two-thirds vote, Bay Area wide, is required to pass it. If successful, the measure would raise $500 million over 20 years to help fund restoration of more than 15,000 acres of wetlands and tidal marsh.

Please make sure you look for MEASURE AA on your ballot, and VOTE YES!  This is a
historic opportunity to make a difference, and protect and restore our Bay! 

Stormwater Initiative: April, 2016 Status
On December 14, 2015, the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), the League of California Cities (the League) and the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) filed a proposed Constitutional amendment with the Attorney General (AG), titled “The California Water Conservation, Flood Control and Stormwater Management Act of 2016”.  The proposed ballot measure would have amended Article X of the California Constitution to create a new, optional funding method that local agencies could use to fund local stormwater services and flood control projects, and establish conservation-based water rates or lifeline rates to assist low-income customers.  The proposal ensured that any local agency that utilized the optional funding method would be required to adhere to strict accountability, transparency and ratepayer protections. 

The Title and Summary, issued by the AG on February 18, 2016, can be found on the AG website as Initiative 15-116.  This is the language that would be printed on the ballot for a statewide election.  While the wording is very close to what was filed with the AG, the first sentence was viewed as potentially detrimental to passing the ballot measure.  It describes the optional funding procedure as one that allows local government to impose fees “without voter approval.”  The League, CSAC, and ACWA conducted follow-up polling on the Title and Summary to obtain a more thorough picture of voter sentiment. The polling results showed the Title and Summary would fail to get majority support and opposition exceeded support.   In addition, while strong support was expressed for rate payer protections and conservation pricing provisions, the phrase “without voter approval” overshadowed these positively viewed elements.  The polling results also demonstrated that any funded opposition would have a strong influence on voters’ reaction to the ballot measure.

On a more positive note, the polling results showed that voters believe local governments need additional funds to address stormwater and water-related issues.  Voter support was also expressed for many of the ballot measure’s objectives – to protect water quality, upgrade aging infrastructure, increase conservation and implement lifeline pricing.

The polling consultant concluded that passing the current ballot measure would be exceedingly difficult even with a superior funding advantage.  As a result, CSAC, the League, and ACWA decided to not move forward with the proposed ballot measure in 2016.  However, everyone agrees there is a great need for the ballot measure, as the need for sustainable funding for stormwater services and the need for conservation is going to continue to grow.  Between now and the next opportunity to place the ballot measure on a ballot, we all must do what we can to inform the public and elected officials why this is important.

CSAC, the League, and ACWA will continue the dialogue with each other, the larger coalition that had been working on the ballot measure, and their respective members regarding other viable options and strategies that build on positive elements of the polling and prepare ourselves for the next opportunity to pass the ballot measure.

For more information please contact Karen Keene, California State Association of Counties at 916-327-7500 (ext. 511), or Mitch Avalon, County Engineers Association of California at 925-313-2203, or go to the project website at

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Shoreline Advocates March Meeting Recap

Thanks to all who attended the Shoreline Advocates meeting on March 7! We hope that you found this gathering informative and that you had a chance to connect with someone new. Thank you Patty Donald and the Shorebird Nature Center for hosting us!

Special thanks to guest speakers Amanda Brown-Stevens, The Trust for Public Land and Mitch Avalon, County Engineers Association of California. Both guest speaker presentations are linked below:

Special thanks to Ralph Boniello, Alameda Creek Alliance; Patty Donald; Shorebird Nature Center; and Susan Schwartz, Friends of Five Creeks for the background on bioblitzes, the iNaturalist App and the Cal Flora Observer and Observer Pro Apps

Photo by Baykeeper and Lighthawk.
Ian Wren, San Francisco Baykeeper, generously shared aerial King Tide photos from Baykeeper and Lighthawk. Ian encourages groups to use these photos for sea level rise advocacy efforts; please attribute photos to Baykeeper and Lighthawk: King Tides aerial photos Day 1King Tides aerial photos Day 2

Note from Amanda Brown Stevens:
Hi Shoreline Advocates -
Thanks so much for allowing me to come to your meeting! I appreciated the time and your thoughtful questions. We'd love to get the endorsement of your organizations, and we'd also be happy to present at any meetings or events coming up - let us know if you have any appropriate events!
Attached is a copy of a slightly updated version of the flyer I passed out as well as the latest endorsement list. (click here: updated Measure AA flyerclick here: endorsement list)
To address the question about what the geography is where projects will be eligible, I have attached a map of the potential projects, so this should give a good sense of what would qualify. (click here: map of potential projects)
Related to the labor issue, a sub-committee of the Restoration Authority was recently established to address specific details and collaboratively develop a policy that is workable given the multiple funding streams for restoration projects and the many different project owners involved.
Please let me know if any other questions arise, and if your group will endorse the measure (if you have not already) - thanks! And I will definitely bring the ideas and concerns of this group back to the larger campaign group!
Once we get closer to the election, we will follow up with information you can share in newsletters and blogs - we can provide any content you need!
Thanks again for your help on this important measure that will provide much needed funding for habitat restoration, wetlands and public access throughout the Bay Area!


Feedback on March 7 Meeting + Next Shoreline Advocates Meeting October 17!
We would like to hear your feedback about the March 7 meeting and get your input for the upcoming meeting on October 17. Email us at

We're also looking for guest bloggers for the Shoreline Advocates blog. Email your blog post ideas to

Don't forget to join our online community on MeetUp: You may share upcoming events with the Shoreline Advocates network on MeetUp.

Thank you again for your participation. We look forward to collaborating!

Shoreline Advocates:

Shoreline Advocates is an informal group of organizations and individuals aimed at sharing information and working together for water, nature, and the environment in the Bay Area. All are welcome!

The San Francisco Bay Shoreline Advocacy Event steering committee:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Join us for
Mon., March 7, 2016 Shoreline Advocates Get-Together
Water, watersheds, restoration activists, groups, professionals
sharing information and ideas on cooperation
Shorebird Park Nature Center, 160 University Ave., Berkeley (directions here)
10:00 am – 12:30 PM
Free, Refreshments 

10:00 am   Brief introduction, plan for the day

10:05 am   Round-table introductions and updates, including brief report on Sausal Creek Dimond Park restoration. What is your group doing?

10:30 am   Briefing on the June vote on a parcel tax for Bay restoration -- how  groups can support. Jessica Reynolds, Measure AA Campaign  coordinator, Reynolds Strategies

11:05 am   Break/Refreshments

11:15     Briefing on Stormwater financing initiative: How can local governments pay to handle floods and runoff pollution? How groups can support  – Mitch Avalon, Consultant with Contra Costa County Public Works Department, developed the 50 year plan for restoring Contra Costa watersheds

11:50 am   Break

12:00 am   Helping nature with cell phones -- Bioblitzes, mapping invasives, more. – Interactive conversation led by Ralph Boniello and Susan Schwartz, Friends of Five Creeks and Patty Donald, Shorebird Park Nature Center

12:25 pm   Concluding remarks
12:30 pm   Wrap up

Please RSVP to Also: Check out our new Shoreline Advocates Meetup Group!
Please tell  others who may be interested! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

This Weekend: SF Bay Flyway Festival

Celebrate the Bay Area's annual bird migration at the SF Bay Flyway Festival February 19-21, 2016. This is the 20th Anniversary of the festival!

Click here for a detailed schedule of events. 
Official event website:

Photo: Napa River/Mare Island Strait with former grain mill from Mare Island Preserve, Myrna Hayes