Save the Bay

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Save The Bay
Savesfbay logo.gif
Founded 1961 (1961)[1][2]
Founder Kay Kerr, Sylvia McLaughlin and Esther Gulick[1][2]
Type Non-profit 501(c)3
Focus Open space preservation, Natural habitat restoration, Environmental justice
Area served
San Francisco Bay Area
Key people
Executive Director David Lewis[3]
Slogan San Francisco Bay's leading champion since 1961
Formerly called
Save San Francisco Bay Association

Save The Bay is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving San Francisco Bay and its related estuarine habitat areas. Founded by three Berkeley women in 1961, the organization grew into a body that not only achieved its namesake but inspired analogous organizations dedicated to other environmental and other political causes. The organization continues to fight to protect the bay from development and landfill and to oppose redevelopment of salt flats, instead encouraging restoration to a natural state.

the bay


Save The Bay was started by three women, Kay Kerr, Sylvia McLaughlin and Esther Gulick. In the mid 20th century most of San Francisco Bay was planned to be landfilled as part of the Reber Plan. In fact, at the rate of filling and development at the time, the United States Army Corps of Engineers concluded that by 2020 the bay would be nothing more than a shipping channel. At the time each city owned and controlled its adjacent bay shoreline and there was no master plan for the bay. Also, over 250 million tons of raw sewage was regularly being dumped directly into the bay with minimal treatment. In the mid-20th century, one third of the original bay had been filled, and only ten percent of original wetlands remained.[1][4] From an area of 787 square miles in 1849, the Bay had been reduced to 548 square miles.[5] Upon discovering this the three friends – Kay Kerr, Sylvia McLaughlin, and Esther Gulick – consulted other environmental groups of the time and founded the Save San Francisco Bay Association.[1][4]

The organization helped to spark the environmental movement in the United States. The women were successful in saving the bay.[4] They lobbied the state government until state legislation in 1965 established the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission as a state agency. The commission drew up a master plan for San Francisco Bay which provided for orderly development as well as preservation.[5] This was the first such agency in California and later inspired the creation of the California Coastal Commission.

Contemporary work[edit]

The organization continues today working to protect the wildlife of the Bay Area and water quality of this uniquely large inland body of water.[4][1] But, when it was founded it was the first successful regional grassroots campaign to achieve this sort of goal.[1] Save The Bay prevented the destruction of San Bruno Mountain to be used to fill 27 miles (44 km) of the San Mateo County shoreline.[1] The founding mothers of the organization's main goal was to preserve the natural beauty of the bay.[1] Their efforts have also been noted as the first successful conservation efforts in an urban area.[1] The women's efforts led to the creation of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission which was later used as the blueprint and inspiration for other government commissions such as the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, California Coastal Commission, and Delta Stewardship Council.[1]

Plastic bag bans[edit]

The organization has also embraced and pushed for plastic bag bans throughout the entire region. This includes strong support for strengthening the San Francisco plastic bag ban in 2011 that banned all retailers from giving out bags made of non-biodegradable materials.[6] Save The Bay supported the 2012 San Jose, California ban on plastic bags.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Taugher, Mike (2011-11-05). "A pioneer remembers how she and friends saved the bay". Contra Costa Times. Archived from the original on 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  2. ^ a b c "Our History". Save The Bay. 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  3. ^ Lewis, David; Russ Juskalian (2012). "Message from the Executive Director". Save The Bay. Archived from the original on 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  4. ^ a b c d Sylvia McLaughlin, Save the Bay founder, fights on, Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle, 31-10-2011, access date 10-01-2012
  5. ^ a b History of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
  6. ^ Let's make all S.F. retailers comply with bag ban, David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, 05-12-2011, access date 10-01-2012
  7. ^ Attention, shoppers: Get ready to BYOB (bring your own bag) in San Jose stores, Tracy Seipel, San Jose Mercury News, 25-12-2011, access date 08-01-2012

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]