Advocate For Our Region

Calling for policies and funding to create a resilient, sustainable, and equitable Bay Area. 

Climate change is being called “the existential threat of our time,” and few refute it. We live with its evidence—its urgency—every day. Rising seas. Devastating wildfires. Extreme heat. Extended droughts. Destruction of habitat. Social injustice, with the worst environmental impacts falling on disadvantaged people and communities of color.

How do we accelerate action and grow to solve these challenges? It will take all of us. The future integrity of San Francisco Bay requires upstream solutions: attention to the land, waterways, and human communities that form the Bay’s watershed. Learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing San Francisco Bay and discover how Save The Bay is working to create a resilient region.

Explore our Latest Work

Building a More Resilient Bay

Sea Level Rise

The Bay Area will experience significant sea level rise by mid-century – increasing the risk of flooding, economic impacts, and water contamination. Save The Bay works to restore tidal marshes and employs other nature-based approaches to protect low-lying communities while improving the health and resilience of the Bay itself. We led the campaign to successfully pass Measure AA, which is currently funding large-scale wetland restoration projects across the Bay Area.

As sea level rise advances, this work must keep up. That is why Save The Bay advocates for increased state and federal funding while advancing policies to accelerate shoreline restoration and flood-safe development. Our efforts support an equitable, regional approach, where our most vulnerable communities are prepared for and protected from a rising Bay.

Explore KQED’s Bay Area 2050 Projected Sea Level Rise

Source: See Which Bay Area Locations Are at Risk From Rising Seas, KQED

Sea Level Rise and the Redwood City Salt Ponds

For over 15 years, Save The Bay has led the effort to protect and restore the Redwood City salt ponds where the giant Cargill Corporation wanted to build a massive housing development on Bay wetlands. Adding this site to the Bay’s National Wildlife Refuge would benefit endangered species and provide natural flood protection for adjacent communities.

As sea level rise advances, this work must keep up. That is why Save The Bay advocates for increased state and federal funding and regulations to accelerate shoreline restoration and flood-safe development.

Urban Greening

Many communities in the Bay Area, particularly formerly redlined communities and communities of color, lack greenery and natural elements in their neighborhoods. As our climate changes, these areas now suffer from increased urban heat, compromised air quality, and greater risk of flooding. Save The Bay advocates for equitable urban greening – including green streets, urban tree canopy, green roofs, and rain gardens – in areas that have historically lacked access to nature. Doing so brings nature back into our neighborhoods, helps cities adapt to the changing climate, improves water quality in the Bay and lowers flood risk by utilizing natural filtration systems for stormwater runoff, and transforms streets into walkable, healthy, transit-oriented urban areas. As our cities grow, green infrastructure helps ensure that all communities remain healthy and safe.

Pollution Prevention

San Francisco Bay is a precious, unique place but it faces daily pollution threats that degrade water quality and harm wildlife. Save The Bay advocates for strong policies to prevent Bay pollution at the source. We have led successful campaigns to reduce litter and continue this work to prevent trash pollution from cities and roadways that impact the Bay through stormwater runoff. As new sources of pollution are identified, we continue to advocate for new pollution controls, and for the strong enforcement of state and federal laws designed to protect the health of the Bay for the people and wildlife who call it home.

 

Pollution Facts

Learn more about the threats impacting the health of San Francisco Bay

  • Stormwater Runoff

    Stormwater Runoff

    This is the largest source of pollution to San Francisco Bay, carrying trash, oil, bacteria, pesticides, chemicals, and other toxins directly into the Bay

  • Microplastics

    Microplastics

    7 trillion microplastics are estimated to enter San Francisco Bay every year, the majority of which are thought to come from tire residue on roadways.

  • Mercury

    Mercury

    Mercury, primarily used during the gold rush, continues to pollute the Bay and cause serious illness for wildlife and humans.

  • PFAs

    PFAs

    These so called “forever chemicals” are only beginning to be studied but samples have already shown persistent levels in Bay fish.

  • PCBs

    PCBs

    Polychlorinated Biphenyls were banned decades ago, but municipal and industrial runoff continue to contribute to PCB contamination in the Bay.

  • Hazardous Waste

    Hazardous Waste

    At least 440 designated hazardous waste facilities are located near the shoreline. With sea level rise these sites will endanger water quality, communities, and wildlife

Housing & Transportation

The Bay Area is one of the most beautiful places in the world and it’s no surprise that people are drawn to live here. By 2040, the region’s population is expected to grow by 1.5 million people.

Affordable housing and worsening traffic will only contribute to our climate risks. Development practices of the past no longer work to meet the needs of future. We must forge change to protect the Bay and its communities.

Save The Bay works with partners to support a new vision for the Bay Area. We support:

  • Affordable and include housing development near transit
  • Policies that increase housing supply in cities
  • Urban areas designed to promote walking, bike and transit use
  • Equitable and inclusive planning processes

The Bay Area and Climate Change

How are our cities connected to the Bay and impacted by the climate effects it experiences? What are some of the biggest stumbling blocks to implementing the solutions we need? And how are we building infrastructure for the future? Hear Amanda Brown-Stevens, Executive Director of Greenbelt Alliance, Josh Bradt, Senior Environmental Planner & Project Manager of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, and Save The Bay’s Allison Chan explore the ways we’re ensuring our region is resilient in the face of climate change.

This video was originally part of our program 60 Years Strong: Shaping the Bay’s Climate Future.

Take Action Today

Now that you’ve learned about the issues facing our region, go a step farther and make your voice heard. Together, we can multiply our power to protect and restore San Francisco Bay.