November 12, 2007

san francisco oil spill


Chronicle photo by Paul Chinn

While we were out of town there was some big news here in San Francisco (no, not the earthquake, that was before we left). There was an oil spill in San Francisco Bay. A boat heading from Oakland to South Korea bumped into the Bay Bridge in heavy fog. The fog was so dense that the rescue teams couldn't tell initially how much oil had spilled. Turns out it was 58,000 gallons.

Oil is washing up on all the beaches and coastline around the Bay Area. There are pockets of it being contained in the bay itself.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that, "by comparison, the Exxon Valdez spill was 11 million gallons." yet that "for years biologists have been concerned that a significant oil spill inside San Francisco Bay could cause major environmental damage. The reason? The bay has only one narrow opening at the Golden Gate, and the right combination of currents could push oil south, coating sensitive San Mateo, Alameda and Santa Clara County marshes, which are home to fish, birds and harbor seals."

One glimmer of good news is that here in the Bay Area we have the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, which is part of UC Davis. The group is helping to rescue birds and wildlife contaminated by oil. They suggest that if you see oiled wildlife: Don't approach or pick it up, but call (415) 701-2311 to report it. Please do not call this number about volunteering.

No one seems to know how long it will take to clean up. People here love using the coastline and this is a big deal! Our kids love to dig and play at the beaches (which are all now closed).


map image from USA Today

And I just found this: To donate to Save the Bay visit their website and click "Donate Now." Contact Adrien Andre to designate your donation toward the oil spill cleanup, at (510) 452-9261 x124 or adrien@savesfbay.org

1 comment:

Melissa Garrett said...

Terrible. Terrible. Terrible.