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Give the Bay a voice by taking action, and multiply our power to protect and restore the Bay together. Check back here to learn what you can do to help on the top priority issues facing the Bay.


Trash from our busy state roads and freeways is poisoning fish and wildlife in San Francisco Bay. Caltrans should be cleaning up the garbage before it ever reaches our waterways, instead of continuing to violate the Clean Water Act. Force this state agency to prevent pollution of the Bay by signing here.

Trash is Poisoning Our Bay

When litter piles up on busy freeways and state roads, rain moves it down storm drains into creeks and San Francisco Bay. This trash chokes and poisons seals, pelicans, fish and other wildlife, smothers wetlands, and fouls the shoreline.

Caltrans is Violating Pollution Laws

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is responsible for maintaining state roads and highways and is legally obligated to prevent trash pollution under the federal Clean Water Act and state stormwater permits. But Caltrans has failed for years to remove enough litter from dirty freeways or install screens and trash capture devices in storm drains to prevent pollution of the Bay. This increases costs and potential fines on Bay Area cities trying to reduce trash pollution.

Force Caltrans to Obey the Law and Clean Up the Bay

The Regional Water Quality Control Board has proposed an Enforcement Order requiring Caltrans to Cease and Desist trash pollution of creeks and the Bay, but the order is too weak and slow. Tell the Board to strengthen its Order, accelerate trash control from state roads, and prevent more trash from pollution creeks and San Francisco Bay.


Dear Chair Young and Members of the Board:

California’s state agencies should be leaders in complying with federal and state pollution laws that protect San Francisco Bay and other waterways. But the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has failed for years to comply with the Clean Water Act and its stormwater permit requirements to control trash.

More than two years after a formal Notice of Violation, Caltrans still has not produced an acceptable plan to halt its illegal pollution. We appreciate the Board finally proposing a Draft Order requiring Caltrans to take specific trash control measures, but that order must be significantly strengthened to reduce damage to the Bay. We urge you to revise the draft order to require:

  • Accelerated installation of full trash capture actions that intercept trash from an additional 1,000 acres each year to achieve 6,000 acres of treatment by 2024, and treatment of all significant trash generating areas – no less than 8,820 acres – by 2028,

  • Submission by Caltrans of a detailed trash generation map and explicit work plan within 3 months of permit adoption, and commitment of budgeted funds to implement the order,

  • Cooperative agreements with municipalities to fund operation and maintenance of trash capture devices in addition to installation.

These changes are essential to protect the Bay’s ecology and recreational value, achieve timely compliance with pollution laws, and hold Caltrans accountable for the same trash control requirements you impose on cities and counties. The Board should vote to approve the Order with these changes.

Thank you for taking these crucial actions to stop pollution of the Bay from Caltrans roads.



By sending this letter, you help us to reduce trash pollution from entering San Francisco Bay. You also will receive occasional communications from Save The Bay about how you can help make the Bay clean and healthy. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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Take Action_1-3-19_Letter to the Water Board