From our blogs

San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society negatively impacted by partial US government shutdown since December 22, 2018

by Ceal Craig

As I write this our Refuge Complex, the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, has been shutdown for almost three weeks. What does that really mean? The Refuges are “open,” aren’t they? To public visitation on the trails, yes. But other outcomes are happening:

  • On Saturday, January 12th, three different programs were scheduled that would have reached 60-70 people, including a group of 20 local high school students; those had to be cancelled. These programs are essential to our local community and connect new and diverse audiences with their local natural resources.
  • Restoration work is extremely important to keeping our habitats sustainable for native wildlife and has not been done since the shutdown began.
  • Invasive plant species are mostly likely starting to sprout at this time, growing quickly and overtaking critical native species since they cannot be pulled by volunteers.
  • Nature Store sales are conducted Tuesday – Saturday, providing visitors with educational items and profits that directly benefit the Refuge Complex.
  • The Environmental Education program for the Refuge Complex has also been affected. Many field trip programs at Don Edwards SFBNWR have been cancelled.
  • Practically all USFWS staff have been on furlough.

This situation is negatively impacting our Refuges, the programs we deliver, and commitments we’ve made to the public our grantors and donors.

US National Park Service former director says keeping parks open during the shutdown is a terrible mistake

Jonathan B. Jarvis, a former director of the US National Park Service, says that keeping national parks open during the current partial federal government shutdown is a terrible mistake. He writes in today's Guardian:

Leaving the parks open without these essential staff is equivalent to leaving the Smithsonian museums open without any staff to protect the priceless artefacts. Yet as a result of the government shutdown, which furloughed most park staff, this is what has happened. It is a violation of the stewardship mandate, motivated only by politics. While the majority of the public will be respectful, there will always be a few who take advantage of the opportunity to do lasting damage.

Jonathan B. Jarvis was the 18th director of the US National Park Service. He is now the executive director for the Institute for Parks, People and Biodiversity at the University of California, Berkeley.

KPIX 5 gives viewers a rare tour of Drawbridge

Devin Fehely of KPIX 5 got special permission from the federal government to give viewers a rare tour of Drawbridge, a place that few people know exist. It's the Bay Area's only ghost town, located in the middle of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Enjoy the 5 minute video that also features San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society's Ceal Craig:

US Department of Interior impacted by partial federal government shutdown

The United States Department of Interior has been impacted by the partial federal government shutdown that went into effect early Saturday December 22, 2018. Funding for about a quarter of the federal government has expired and some 800,000 employees from nine key federal departments and dozens of federal agencies have been furloughed or are working without pay. The departments impacted are Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development. This is the third federal government shutdown this year.

Among the federal employees furloughed at the Department of Interior (DOI) are most of workers at the National Park Service (NPS) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). DOI websites and social media accounts will not be updated.

Under the contingency plan of the National Park Service, no national parks will be open and no visitor services — including restrooms, facility and road maintenance, snow plowing, and trash collection — will be provided. Scheduled programs will be canceled, visitor centers will be closed and campgrounds will be unstaffed. Visitors are requested to practice "leave no trace" principles to avoid fouling up the national parks when no visitor services are available.

Support us with your charitable donation this holiday season

Happy Holidays!

The San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Friends group, authorized by Congress to support the education, interpretation, and research activities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Help us in our mission to promote public awareness and appreciation of the San Francisco Bay and its natural history, and to conserve and preserve the remaining bay lands as essential wildlife habitat.

Your support of our education, interpretation, and research activities is more important than ever. Any amount you’re willing to donate this holiday season will be greatly appreciated! Donations may be fully tax-deductible.

Click here to support us with your charitable donation this holiday season.

On #GivingTuesday help us conserve and preserve the essential wildlife habitat of the San Francisco Bay.

#GivingTuesday

The San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Friends group, authorized by Congress to support the education, interpretation, and research activities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Help us in our mission to promote public awareness and appreciation of the San Francisco Bay and its natural history, and to conserve and preserve the remaining bay lands as essential wildlife habitat.

Your support of our education, interpretation, and research activities is more important than ever. Any amount you’re willing to donate this #GivingTuesday will be greatly appreciated! Donations may be fully tax-deductible.

Click here to support us with your charitable donation this #GivingTuesday.

Donate when you shop on Amazon this Black Friday

Black Friday is just around the corner and there are amazing deals to be found online! Support us by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3039253.

Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.

San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society Donation Form

Events at Don Edwards SF Bay NWR canceled due to poor air quality

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided late afternoon Friday, November 16, 2018 to cancel all indoor and outdoor events scheduled for Saturday, November 17, 2018 at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge due to poor air quality.

The following 4 events have been canceled:

Smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County, California caused the air quality in Northern California on Friday to dip to the worst in the world, with San Francisco's Air Quality Index (AQI) measured at a record-breaking level of 271.

SFBWS at the USFWS Regions 1 and 8 conference for Service staff and Friends Groups

by Ceal Craig

Visiting national wildlife refuges around the United States is a passion for many of us, I know. In June 2018, I had the opportunity to visit several on my trip north to Medford, Oregon, for a Friends Group PLUS Fish & Wildlife Service conference for Regions 1 and 8 covering Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada, and the Pacifc. Meeting other Friends Groups and Service staf is always a pleasure, since we all share the same passion for the refuges we support. I learned a lot about the northwest refuges on this trip, in particular, several rural refuges, in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Two of us representing the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex attended: me (Friends President) and Paul Mueller, the Volunteer Coordinator for the Refuge Complex.

In one thought provoking conference discussion, I learned how a Friends Group is affected when the refuge they support is taken over by people who would not allow the public to visit, or let Friends and refuge staff do their jobs, specifically, the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in early 2016. At that time, I was at a national Friends and Fish & Wildlife Service conference in West Virginia caught in over 40 inches of snow. There too, I was meeting people who are passionate about refuges in the United States; passionate about helping wildlife, protecting habitat for endangered species, engaging the public, and fostering a sense of stewardship of the refuges.

Shoring up New York Harbor's reef, a billion oysters at a time

An instructor at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, watches students as they send 422 oyster reef structures into the Hudson River. Credit Agata Poniatowski/NPR.

An instructor at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School watches students as they send 422 oyster reef structures into the Hudson River.

Andrea Strong, a food writer, covers oysters and citizen science in The Salt section of NPR today:

Across New York City, more than 70 restaurants are tossing their oyster shells not into the trash or composting pile, but into the city's eroded harbor. It's all part of Billion Oyster Project's restaurant shell-collection program [at] the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, a public high school on Governors Island that offers technical and vocational training in the marine sciences. The New York Governor's Office of Storm Recovery has partnered with Billion Oyster Project to install oysters on its $74 million Living Breakwaters Project, which aims to reduce and reverse erosion and damage from storm waves, improve the ecosystem health of Raritan Bay and encourage environmentally conscious stewardship of nearshore waters.

Read on to find out more about an excellent example of collaboration among commercial, educational, and government interests to build a sustainable and very useful result that also helps New York City weather future sea level rise. We need these kinds of ideas in our own San Francisco Bay Area as well.

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