Monday, November 12, 2007

A sad day on the San Francisco Bay

Ive always tried to be an advocate for clean water through the Friends of the Water website I created. It was my attempt to try to bring awareness about the small things you can do to help protect our waterways. But last Wednesday I stood helpless on the shores of my favorite beach as oil, dead birds and other sea mammals washed ashore before my eyes.
Theres nothing worse for a waterman- or anybody for that matter to have our pristine playground be polluted with oil. Besides being a playground for surfers, windsurfer, boaters, and swimmers, the San Francisco Bay is home to a diverse group of wildlife and plays a tremendous role in the delicate balance between man and nature. Last week that balance was changed forever.
On Wednesday Nov 7th a truly ecological disaster hit the San Francisco Bay when a container ship hit the Bay Bridge and spilled 58,000 gallons of oil in the the San Francisco Bay. Getting out on the water to practice seems really insignificant compared to the damage that was being done to the Bay. Already hundreds of marine animals have died and the coast lined is lined with oil. I felt a little helpless standing on the shore the as the cleanup effort was being run from the water
and volunteers were being turned away. Over 500 people showed up at ocean beach on Sunday to clean the blobs of oil washing up on shore. I am sure we are just starting to see the brunt of the damage as the ecosystem will be effected for months and years to come.
To view a snapshot of the areas affected by the oil spill into the bay: check out the following google map that shows the extend of the spill so far.,-122.454987&spn=0.116605,0.235863&z=13&om=1
Ive also uploaded some photos form as well as some that I took on Wednesday that show some of the clean up efforts:

Here's an interesting link to actual path of the Busan when it hit the bay bridge:
Also the archive at the exploritorium provided some intersting views of the responce team at crissy:
While the rest of the media is focusing on someone to blame, the real effort should be towards cleaning it up.
If you want to help out with the clean up- here are some organizations that allowing the public to aid the effort:

Surfrider Foundation is conducting "unofficial" clean ups, which are advertized on their website at As always, though, please be sure to use protective gloves and clothing to keep your skin from absorbing the toxic chemicals in the oil. It is also very important not to put oily materials in the regular trash. It must go to a hazardous waste facility to keep from contaminating the groundwater.

Its easy to react to a problem like this with an organized clean up but fundamentally we must look at the bigger picture. How did we become so dependent on oil. Granted this was not a fuel ship that spilled its load but as Americans and citizens of the global economy- we must look at our materialism and consumerism that contributed to the problem. Perhaps an incident like this will make us look our our footprint and decide to really make some changes that affect or environment. If you havnt already checked out Friends of the Water website please do so as it has several ways for you to reduce your impact on our waterways. and become more aware of the waterways role in our ecosystem. If its not you who's going to make a change that who will?
Below is another video from the great group of volunteers that is part of the grass roots effort involved with the clean up.
Thank you Californians for stepping up to the plate:

Wednesday Nov 14th update: the beaches around SF are deemed still unsafe and the Governor has put a stop to all commercial and sport fishing in the Bay.
Here is the latest update on what is being done to clean-up the spill and to protect people, wildlife and the environment:

-7 miles of containment boom has been deployed to confine/collect oil in the water
-6 vessels are skimming/collecting oil on the water
-More than1,500 people are participating in spill response
-12,745 gallons of oil have been collected.
-580 gallons have dispersed naturally
-4,060 gallons of oil have evaporated (estimated)
-53 vessels are working to remediate the spill
-3 helicopters are surveying the area
-Oiled wildlife count - LIVE BIRDS – 715 (of those, 183 are washed, and 66 have died or been euthanized) -DECEASED BIRDS - 511

The latest overflight shows very little recoverable oil offshore and inshore. Cleanup efforts are transitioning from water recovery to shoreline environmentally sensitive areas.

The Department of Public Health has determined that it is unsafe to swim in some locations and therefore has closed the following beaches:
Bay Area Beach Closures Nov. 13, 2007

  • Clipper Cove Beach, T.I.
  • Aquatic Park (Booms in place)
  • SF Municipal Pier
  • Ft. Point
  • Baker Beach (Heavy Oil)
  • China Beach (Light Oil)
  • Ft. Baker
  • Mile Rock Beach
  • Kirby Cove (Heavy Oil)
  • Rodeo Beach (Heavy Oil)
  • Tennessee Valley
  • Muir Beach (Heavy Oil)
  • Angel Island (Heavy Oil)
  • Keller Beach
  • Ferry Point
  • Point Isabel
  • Baxter Creek to Lucretia Edwards Park
  • Coastal Access point to Cliffside; Pt. Richmond
  • Middle Harbor Regional Park
  • Steep Ravine Beach (Mt. Tamalpais)
  • Red Rock Beach (Mt. Tamalpais)
  • Crissy Field Beach (booms in place)
  • Stinson Beach
  • Linda Mar Beach
  • Rockaway Beach
  • Sharp Park Beach
  • Ocean Beach has an advisory posted
  • San Francisco Piers 1-39 Booms in place

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Steve, yes, I've been thinking about how saw this oil spill was for nature lovers, animals and surfers alike. I'll have to tell B29 not to look at those sunny Miami pics..