Prevented Bay Fill Hero

Prevented Bay Fill

Save The Bay has achieved its original mission to stop the Bay from being filled in and ensure that laws prohibit most Bay fill. When anyone proposes to pave over Bay wetlands, we mobilize to protect the shoreline for the people and wildlife.

Prevented Bay Fill Hero

Prevented Bay Fill

Save The Bay has achieved its original mission to stop the Bay from being filled in and ensure that laws prohibit most Bay fill. When anyone proposes to pave over Bay wetlands, we mobilize to protect the shoreline for the people and wildlife.

Save The Bay Was Founded To Stop Bay Fill

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Save The Bay was founded in 1961 to stop plans to fill the Bay. At that time, one-third of the Bay had been filled or diked off and there were plans to fill 60 percent of the remaining Bay, leaving only a narrow channel. Less than six miles of shoreline was accessible to the public; the Bay was choked with raw sewage and industrial pollution, and only 10 percent of the Bay’s original wetlands remained.

Thanks to Save The Bay’s work over the last several decades and tens of thousands of supporters, the Bay is cleaner and healthier. Citizen advocacy secured better sewage treatment and cleaner factories and stopped major Bay fill projects. Now more than half of the Bay is ringed with public trails, linking a necklace of shoreline parks, and many large-scale wetland restoration projects are underway.

With the Bay Area population projected to grow to 9.3 million by 2040, the Bay continues to be threatened by inappropriate development on the shoreline. Urban redevelopment inland and upstream can protect the Bay and improve the Bay Area’s sustainability.


Prevented Cargill From Paving Over Restorable Land

  • Save The Bay helped launch Redwood City Neighbors United, a local group dedicated to “responsible growth—not Saltworks,” which quickly attracted hundreds of supporters.
  • Redwood City residents spoke out against the project by a 10:1 ratio as Cargill’s plan was met by a “mountain of concerns” at the very beginning of the city’s approval process.
  • Two powerful Bay Area water districts opposed the controversial Cargill/DMB water transfer scheme, and the Bakersfield Californian declared that “selling precious Kern River water to a developer in the San Francisco Bay Area . . . makes no sense for Kern County and no sense for the Bay Area.”
  • Almost every maritime union on the West Coast came out in opposition to Cargill, with Longshoremen, Sailors, Warehouse Workers and many other unions joining the Teamsters in fighting to defend the Port of Redwood City from the threat of encroaching development.

In the face of region-wide public opposition, Cargill and DMB withdrew its Saltworks proposal from the Redwood City Council in 2012, but promised to submit a revised project to build thousands of homes on these restorable salt ponds. Save The Bay continues to urge Cargill to sell or donate its ponds to a land trust or wildlife agency to restore them.


Stopped San Francisco Airport Filling The Bay

In 1998, SFO reversed a decade of denials and announced it would build runways farther into San Francisco Bay by launching a $75 million public relations campaign to sell the public on the largest proposed Bay fill project since the 1960s. SFO’s media blitzes and paid opposition research instead strengthened a deep regional consensus against paving over more of our Bay, which has already been shrunk by one-third.

Save The Bay mobilized region-wide opposition to the project, culminating in overwhelming passage by San Francisco voters of Proposition D in 2001. That ballot measure changed the city charter to prohibit large Bay fill projects without a voter approval. A subsequent city audit of SFO found the airport had pushed the runway project instead of studying alternatives, discounted public input, skirted contracting regulations, and spent huge sums on consultants and vendors.

After four years of intense public scrutiny and Save The Bay advocacy, and with the airport more than $4 billion in debt, SFO shelved its plans and the Board of Supervisors prohibited any further spending on runway expansion into the Bay. Finally, in 2008, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that no additional fill should be placed in San Francisco Bay for new or reconfigured runways at San Francisco International Airport, ending a nearly decade-long battle.