We at the San Francisco Bay Stewardship Alliance believe the SF Bay is meant for the enjoyment of all. But, sadly, members of the staff at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) prevent that from happening.
In one such instance, the BCDC staff is preventing the Marine Science Institute (MSI) from putting to use a $50,000 grant it received in 2013 to restore its beach in Redwood City. The grant money, which was received in the aftermath of the Cosco Busan oil spill, must be used by the end of 2018 or it will be lost.
MSI educates more than 50,000 local students a year around the SF Bay Estuary in the classroom and on the water. Their renowned programs led by expert marine science educators have benefited hundreds of thousands of students of all ages over many decades inspiring understanding, respect, and stewardship for the unique marine environment that is the SF Bay Estuary.
BCDC stands alone in its refusal to grant approval. The Alliance notes that six local, state and federal organizations already approved this restoration including:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
California State Lands
California Regional Water Quality Control Board
National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries)
MSI is seeking to restore its beach with oyster shells from SF Bay. After years of delay, BCDC is demanding numerous documents and a study that would cost the Marine Science Institute valuable time and thousands of dollars to complete. The project would take a day or two to complete and is needed to ensure MSI can continue its educational programs for thousands of children.
The BCDC, which is charged with enhancing the SF Bay and the public’s access to this vital signature resource of the SF Bay Area, by its needless requests and delays have put an important environmental and educational program at risk. The delays must end now and permits must be issued to avoid losing precious funding for an important restoration project. Projects similar to the one MSI is trying to complete are exactly what the BCDC was chartered to support over 50 years ago – not oppose.
We at the Alliance are calling on the BCDC staff and the BCDC Board to act immediately to issue needed approvals so the Marine Science Institute Beach Restoration project can proceed ASAP – and vital funding is not lost.