Save The Bay 60th Anniversary

Annual Report 2020-2021

This annual report represents Save The Bay’s work from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, and includes key financials from our fiscal year audit.

You bring our mission to life

Founded by three courageous women in 1961, Save The Bay protects and restores San Francisco Bay for all people and wildlife. We are the voice of the Bay.

Our many supporters help Save The Bay:

  • Protect and restore wetlands through hands-on restoration, and increased public funding
  • Adapt our region to be resilient to rising seas and climate impacts
  • Educate students through in-person programs along the shoreline, and virtual platforms
  • Advance environmental justice and equity – promoting policies for affordable housing, accessible transit, and reduced pollution

“I am a monthly donor to Save The Bay because I hope to do my small part to provide Save The Bay long-term funding security – to preserve biodiversity in this region. Countless lives, both human and non-human, depend on the health of the San Francisco Bay.

“I myself depend on it when I take in its beauty on a hike or marvel at the many animals that call it home. To keep the Bay Area one of the most special places in the world, we should all protect and care about the health of the Bay.”  – Ryan Hart, Alameda County resident

Become a Bay Sustainer →

Sixty years of Saving San Francisco Bay

In honor of Save The Bay’s 60th anniversary, Shaping the Bay’s Climate Future showcased our region’s progress and highlighted how we can address future challenges. Over 600 people registered for our virtual panel event, which brought together local climate leaders to discuss:

  • Issues affecting the Bay’s shorelines where sea level rise threatens communities and wetland restoration offers natural solutions to protect wildlife, neighborhoods, and crucial infrastructure
  • Opportunities to ensure the region’s growth benefits the Bay, promotes diverse and equitable communities, and is sustainable in the face of climate change.

Photocopy of a newspaper spread
“I covered presidents and governors and all kinds of big shots, but when you look back, I don’t remember those stories at all. But this story I remember in detail, because let’s face it, the saving of San Francisco Bay is still going on,” – Oakland Tribune reporter Ed Salzman.

After reading what the Bay might look like in 2020 if development continued at its current pace in 1961, Save The Bay’s founders, Sylvia McLaughlin, Kay Kerr, and Esther Gulick, changed the future of San Francisco Bay. Read more about influential the Oakland Tribune article →

5th Annual Bay Day

Launched in 2016 and declared a public holiday by all 9 counties, Bay Day is a time every October for our whole region to celebrate San Francisco Bay. What was once a large public gathering has evolved, with safety and flexibility in mind, into a month-long opportunity for everyone to build their own Bay Day adventure. In this new format, participants are challenged to explore the Bay Trail (which spans 350 miles throughout all 9 Bay Area counties) or engage in activities such as kite flying, bird-watching, and picnicking.

Infographic with stats about Bay Day 2020

Read more about Bay Day 2020’s successes →

“Thanks so much for this FUN Trail Challenge!”
– Malou Sana, participated as part of the Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati team.

Headshot of a person in a purple jacket outsideHi, I’m Sangeeta, Political and Community Organizer at Save The Bay. Since I started in this position in September 2021, I’ve been focused on building our organizational relationships, particularly with grassroots organizations focused on Environmental Justice. Part of the background I bring to Save The Bay is my membership in the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA) since 2017. Within this network, I serve as a co-organizer of Brown and Green, a South Asian climate justice group. I am excited to advance Save The Bay’s relationship-building work in East San Jose and beyond. These partnerships will allow us to further our equity and environmental justice goals, following the lead of frontline communities and working toward a cleaner and healthier Bay Area for all residents.

Advancing DEIA & Environmental Justice

As we move into our seventh decade, Save The Bay is embracing a commitment to advance principles of equity, environmental justice and cultural humility in our mission, programmatic work, and internal operations.

In 2019, we launched our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility (DEIA) Committee, comprised of staff from all departments, which meets regularly to lead us in building awareness and skills to integrate this framework into our policies, programs, and culture.

In 2020, we began partnering with The Mosaic Collaborative, whose team has led an ongoing series of interactive workshops/coaching sessions for all staff and board members. They have worked with us to review our organizational culture, HR policies and practices, and hiring processes through a DEIA lens.

One outcome of this work last year was a significant change in employment practices around Save The Bay’s Fellowship Program. Fellows commit to Save The Bay for a period of 6-12 months, dedicating their time and skills to a particular team, and gaining work experience and mentorship. We are now offering hourly compensation for these positions in order to make this opportunity more equitable and accessible to a broader range of people. We are also strategically advertising these positions on a more diverse range of sites, with a wider audience.

Nursery Spotlight: Innovating Natural Solutions

In Save The Bay’s three nurseries, we use novel techniques to prevent and test for the dangerous plant pathogen, Phytophthora.

  • AR20-21_Slide_Pear

    What is Phytophthora, why does it matter?

    Phytophthora is a water mold, related to the species that causes Sudden Oak Death, that can be disastrous in the wild. It can further endanger already-threatened plant species, and is almost impossible to eradicate once introduced.

  • AR20-21_Slide_Pear

    How do we prevent it?

    Over the last few years, we have developed stringent protocols to prevent the spread of the pathogen, such as disinfecting everyone’s shoes before entering enclosed nurseries, and sterilizing all pots and soil. Initially, we built our own soil sterilizer from a trash can and propane tank, which allowed for heating the soil to the temperature that will destroy the pathogen. Eventually, we purchased a steam sterilizer, which significantly speeds up and simplifies the process.

  • AR20-21_Slide_Pear

    How do we double-check?

    Save The Bay developed a rigorous and creative regimen to continually test for traces of Phytophthora in our nurseries, especially since over the pandemic we needed to hold plant material for longer. The pathogen loves certain types of pears, which we leave as bait. If Phytophthora exists, it will attack the pears and be detected when we routinely send them to the California Department of Food and Agriculture for testing.

  • AR20-21_Slide_Pear

    What is our track record?

    Success: Save The Bay tested negative for Phytophthora in all nurseries, all year!


  • 6

    Restoration Sites

  • 80

    Total Acres

  • 3

    Native Plant Nurseries

  • 4

    Bay Area Counties

We focused the majority of our time in FY2020-2021 at 3 sites comprising 45.5 acres of wetland habitat:


Partners: CA Coastal Conservancy, Novato Baylands Stewards

  • 44 Acres

    The largest restoration site in Save The Bay history

  • 5 Years

    Collecting and cleaning native seed

  • 700 Pounds

    Of two seed mix spreads

  • 14,000 Seedlings

    Planted by hand, with Novato Baylands Stewards

The 1st season of planting was completed at Bel Marin Keys with a new hydro-seeding technique: blowing seeds across site with heavy equipment


Partner: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

  • 1,200 Plants

    Installed on 1-acre

  • 15+ Years

    Of restoration work

  • 8 Sub-Sites

    Totaling 3.5 acres restored

  • 1,000s Shorebirds

    Visit during migration seasons, including the threatened species Snowy Plover

Numerous fish species also use the marsh as nursery habitat

Menlo Park

Partner: CA Coastal Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited

  • 25 Acres

    The 2nd largest site in Save The Bay history

  • 82 Raised Planter Beds

    Built for the nursery

  • 168,000 Plants

    Grown in containers equate the bed capacity

  • 1 Extra Year

    Plants were kept healthy in the nursery due to the pandemic

75% of these plants held in the nursery were planted in FY21-22


  • 22 Years

    Serving our communities with Bay Education Programs

  • 25 Classes

    We have provided bus transportation stipends to in the last 5 years

  • 140%

    Increase of underserved students’ participation in our Education Program in the last 10 years

  • 381 Students

  • 25 Classrooms

Live Virtual Field Trips were help over Zoom with field staff at the shoreline and students at home. As students return in-person, Virtual Field Trips will be used as an alternative for extreme weather and smoke days, as well as expand access to classes that can’t visit shoreline.

Person with a camera pointed at plants in the nursery“This virtual field trip was fantastic! There was a great flow of activities and the team asked thought-provoking, engaging questions. Despite not being able to visit the site in-person, my students were super into it and they learned a lot. This field trip built nicely on the lessons we used from the OLO site and the Save The Bay Watershed curriculum.”
– Gavin Obadashian, Teacher at Marin Horizons School


Increasing Public Funding for our Bay

Save The Bay worked to encourage passage of increased state and federal funding for San Francisco Bay by:

  • Leading a coalition of regional organizations to support Governor Newsom’s state climate investment package, ensuring funds are directed to San Francisco Bay
  • Advocating, with local state legislators, for $500MM for wetland restoration/nature-based climate adaptation projects through new funding for the California Coastal Conservancy
  • Advancing legislation for new federal funding for SF Bay, in collaboration with U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; this bill:
    • would include $250MM for the U.S. EPA
    • was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in Spring 2021
    • is pending in the Senate

2020-21 Financials

(combined c3 + c4)

Pie chart of income

Pie chart of expenses