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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Save The Bay

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Environmental Education, Water, Water Resources, Wetlands Conservation & Management

Mission: Save The Bay is the largest regional organization working to protect, restore and celebrate San Francisco Bay since 1961. Save The Bay engages more than 50,000 supporters, advocates, and volunteers to protect the Bay from pollution and reckless shoreline development and make it cleaner and healthier for people and wildlife. Save The Bay is leading a region-wide effort to re-establish 100,000 acres of tidal marsh that are essential for a healthy Bay. Volunteers from the community, local businesses, and schools work with our science team to perform hands-on restoration of the Bay shoreline. Save The Bay inspires the next generation of Bay activists through our award-winning restoration education programs.

Results: Save The Bay History and Accomplishments: After the Gold Rush, rampant filling of shallow areas reduced San Francisco Bay’s size by one-third and destroyed 90 percent of the Bay’s tidal marsh. By 1961 there were plans to fill 60 percent of the remaining Bay, leaving only a narrow channel for navigation. The public had access to fewer than six miles of shoreline, and the Bay was choked with raw sewage and industrial pollution. Save The Bay stopped the destruction and gave the Bay a voice, proving that Bay Area residents can work together to make positive changes in their communities. In 1961 three East Bay women—Kay Kerr, Sylvia McLaughlin, and Esther Gulick—saw an Oakland Tribune illustration that depicted San Francisco Bay as a narrow shipping channel by 2020. To combat the rampant filling, they made phone calls, wrote letters, held meetings, and collected $1 each from thousands of Bay Area residents to create the "Save San Francisco Bay Association," and led a successful movement to save the Bay from destruction. By mobilizing citizens, the group won landmark victories for the Bay, including: • A legislative moratorium against filling the Bay • Closure of more than 30 city garbage dumps along the shoreline • A halt to the practice of dumping raw sewage into the Bay • Establishment of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) a permanent state agency to regulate shoreline development and increase public access. BCDC was the first-ever coastal zone management agency and model for most others around the world. The Bay Today: Thanks to more than 50,000 Save The Bay members and supporters, the Bay is cleaner and healthier than it has been in half a century. • Sewage is treated and industrial pollution is significantly reduced. • More than half of the Bay is ringed with shoreline parks and outdoor spaces linked through nearly 300 miles of Bay trail that is open to the public for walking, biking, and viewing wildlife. • Large bay fill projects have been stopped, and several large-scale wetland restoration projects are underway.

Target demographics: San Francisco Bay’s survival depends on all of us. Save The Bay engages adults and students to protect and restore the Bay through our award-winning outdoor programs and advocacy efforts.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Save The Bay engages our community of more than 50,000 constituents – including students, businesses and individuals – to protect and restore San Francisco Bay through volunteer restoration programs and citizen advocacy.

Geographic areas served: Our quality of life and economy depend on a healthy San Francisco Bay. Save The Bay is the oldest and largest organization working exclusively to protect and restore this great natural treasure.

Programs: Restoration campaigns - we supported the research and outreach efforts of the san francisco bay restoration authority, a regional agency pursuing public funding for wetland restoration. Save the bay is working with partners to re-establish 100,000 acres of restored tidal marsh habitat around san francisco bay, through policy measures and a strong science-based program that enlists volunteers to replant key sites with native vegetation. Our community-based restoration program assists federal, state and local landowners of shoreline parcels to improve vital wetland habitat for endangered species and adapt the shoreline to climate change, including ecotone transition areas at former salt ponds in hayward and menlo park, and at shoreline sites in corte madera, oakland and palo alto. Participants engage in (continued on schedule o)

education and outreach - save the bay provided information on san francisco bay and actively engaged the general public and our members to advance our mission, through mail and email communications, social networking, educational events and volunteer opportunities. Thousands of people accessed educational information about the bay on our enhanced web site, and we introduced many individuals and businesses to the bay through our expanded calendar of events. Our presence in the regional news media remains high, with significant print, radio and television coverage of our work on many issues, and on our education and restoration programs. Interest and participation in the organization continues to grow, with more than 50,000 members and supporters. We continue to upgrade our technology to improve the effectiveness (continued on schedule o)

bay protection - save the bay provided information to local and regional residents about threats to fill in more of the bay for development on restorable salt ponds in redwood city, and on diked historic baylands in newark. We provided information to state and federal agencies regarding applicable regulations and policies, including sea level rise and adaptation to climate change. Save the bays clean bay project helped to reduce bay pollution from cities and neighborhoods encouraging municipalities throughout the region to adopt pollution prevention best practices. Our work with municipalities significantly reduced distribution of single-use plastic bags and polystyrene food packaging, two of the largest components of trash entering the bay through stormwater. We are monitoring cities progress complying with new regulatory requirements to reduce trash entering the bay through storm water.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Board Member

Rating: 5

The natural beauty of the Bay and surroundings was a big draw for me to move to SF, and I now live a half-block from the water. The history and work of Save the Bay are a constant inspiration to me.


Board Member

Rating: 5

My introduction to Save the Bay is when they led the successful effort from paving the San Francisco Bay for expanded runways at SFO. Since then, I've supported their efforts recognizing how much they accomplish each year. Our Bay needs a NGO as focused, efficient and effective as Save the Bay.