The Science of Sustainability

San Francisco Bay

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Dive into our extensive selection of stories about our beautiful bay.

Got Mercury? The New EPA Ruling And The San Francisco Bay

Got Mercury? The New EPA Ruling And The San Francisco Bay

This week, after decades of legal delays and foot dragging by the coal and power industry, the EPA unveiled a new rule protecting public health from mercury and other toxins.

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"A Big, Captivating Idea": The Bay Area Ridge Trail

"A Big, Captivating Idea": The Bay Area Ridge Trail

Like the great pyramids of Egypt, the 550-mile Ridge Trail will take generations to complete. Think of it as a local Appalachian Trail for the current crop of two-year olds.

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The Amazing Transformation of San Francisco's "Sludge Puddle"

The Amazing Transformation of San Francisco's "Sludge Puddle"

Dumping garbage into the bay wasn’t only convenient, it served the larger goal of getting rid of the bay entirely.

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From Tunnel to Tap: Quake-Proofing Our Water Supply

From Tunnel to Tap: Quake-Proofing Our Water Supply

The Bay Area's vast Hetchy Hetchy system, "a dream in granite, concrete, and steel," is getting an overhaul. The system carries water 167 miles from Yosemite to Bay Area taps; pretty soon that voyage will include the Bay's first true tunnel.

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Rough Waters for Sea Level Rise Planning

Rough Waters for Sea Level Rise Planning

What do Bay Area airports and some big Silicon Valley companies have in common? They sit right on the edge of San Francisco Bay, where sea level rise is expected to have a big impact by the end of the century.

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Gulls Threaten South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Work

Gulls Threaten South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Work

One of the most ambitious wetland restoration projects in the country is underway in San Francisco Bay. Thousands of acres of those ponds are being restored for shorebirds and wildlife.

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Science on the SPOT: Journey of the San Francisco Bay Trail

Science on the SPOT: Journey of the San Francisco Bay Trail

A dedicated group of outdoor lovers and trail planners is working to build a 500-mile trail around San Francisco Bay. Come along as QUEST hikes and bikes the newest section.

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Sea Lions, Herring, and Climate Change

Sea Lions, Herring, and Climate Change

I thought I’d check in on the sea lions at Pier 39. Just a few years ago, there were about 1600 of them. Then in 2009, most of them swam away.

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The Changing Bay

The Changing Bay

Peer into San Francisco Bay and you probably won't see much, thanks to the murky water the bay is known for. But over the past decade, scientists have made a surprising discovery — the bay's water is clearing. As Lauren Sommer reports, clearer water is not always good news.

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Combating Bay Invaders

Combating Bay Invaders

Hundreds of invasive species have been found in San Francisco Bay, one of the most invaded estuaries in the world. Hoping to restore native fish and wildlife, California has passed the strictest rules in the nation to prevent ocean freighters from introducing more foreign species to the bay. But as Lauren Sommer reports, the standards are so tough, officials may not be able to enforce them.

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The Importance of Studying the History of Sea-Level Change in San Francisco Bay

The Importance of Studying the History of Sea-Level Change in San Francisco Bay

Sea-level rise is happening and more than 100 million people could be affected globally over the next century even under somewhat conservative projections.

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Going UP: Sea Level Rise in San Francisco Bay

Going UP: Sea Level Rise in San Francisco Bay

Scientists say it's no secret San Francisco Bay is rising, along with all of the earth's oceans. The reason — global warming. This rise in sea level will affect everyone who lives, works, or plays near the bay. QUEST asks how high will the Bay rise and when? And what steps can communities take to plan for it?

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Exploring Big Break Regional Shoreline

Exploring Big Break Regional Shoreline

Big Break Regional Shoreline is a part of the great 1,680-square-mile San Francisco/San Joaquin Delta. This "Inland Coast" is home to 70 species of birds, and provides valuable habitat for beavers, muskrats, and river otters.

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Web Extra: Exploring the Bay Lab

Web Extra: Exploring the Bay Lab

Join the Bay Lab field trip as fifth graders study the San Francisco Bay's mudflats and eelgrass beds with the help of seine nets, hip wader boots, microscopes, and mud core samplers.

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Exploring Angel Island

Exploring Angel Island

On October 12, 2008, Angel Island was ravaged by a wildfire. In just 2 days, 303 acres went up in smoke. We're visiting the island a year later to see how the land is recovering and learn how the fire helped one scientist unearth a bit if the island's history.

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Mercury in San Francisco Bay

Mercury in San Francisco Bay

There's a hidden danger in San Francisco bay: mercury. A potent neurotoxin that can cause serious illness, mercury has been flowing into the bay since the mining days of the Gold Rush Era. It has settled in the bay's mud and made its way up the food chain, endangering wildlife and making many fish unsafe to eat. Now a multi-billion-dollar plan aims to clean it up. But will it work?

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QUEST – National Parks Special: Bringing the Parks to the People

QUEST – National Parks Special: Bringing the Parks to the People

QUEST examines how the Golden Gate National Recreation Area was saved from development, the rise of not-for-profit land trusts in protecting and restoring Northern California's open spaces, and how these vital places are used and maintained by the communities served by them.

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Wastewater Woes: Sewage Spills in SF Bay

Wastewater Woes: Sewage Spills in SF Bay

What happens when you flush the toilet? For most of us, what's out of sight is out of mind. But large numbers of sewage spills into San Francisco Bay are forcing cities, water agencies and the public to take a closer look at wastewater and its impacts on the health of the bay.

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Climate Watch: California at the Tipping Point

Climate Watch: California at the Tipping Point

The world's climate is changing and California is now being affected in both dramatic and subtle ways. Get an in-depth look at the science behind climate change as we explore the environmental changes taking place throughout the state.

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Web Extra: Citizen Science – Mud Snails

Web Extra: Citizen Science – Mud Snails

They spend hours in the mud in search of a tiny snail. Meet the volunteers working with the Bay Institute to eradicate an invasive Japanese mud snail on the shores of San Francisco Bay.

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