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San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

Watershed Community Monitoring Project of Clean Streams/ Clean Bay (CS/CB)

Organization: Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
2001 Grant Recipient - Santa Clara County

2012 Update

Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition has been able to significantly expand its Sustainable Water Program activities since the spring of 2011. They established a strong presence beyond our South Bay base to become a recognized leader among community organizations working in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Their expanded activities have increased their ability to affect local and regional water policy agendas and principally addressed two regional initiatives:

  1. The CALFED Bay-Delta Program, and
  2. San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board TMDLs (Total Maximum Daily Load processes) affecting the San Francisco Bay Estuary.

Over the summer SVTC’s Senior Researcher, Michael Stanley-Jones, prepared comments on the CALFED draft EIS/EIR and also presented new arguments for an expanded CALFED Environmental Justice analysis. SVTC helped form the Environmental Justice Steering Committee, which successfully nominated an urban Environmental Justice (EJ) representative to the CALFED Bay-Delta Advisory Committee (BDAC). In November 2011, Stanley-Jones became a member of the EJ Steering Committee which meets monthly.

SVTC outlined strategies for increasing the participation of urban environmental justice organizations and saliency of toxic chemical issues within the CALFED Program at a meeting of water NGOs convened by The Bay Institute. Following the meeting, which was called to develop and design a strategic approach to water policy issues facing urban communities, they agreed to work with other meeting participants, including Communities for a Better Environment, the Silicon Valley Pollution Prevention Center, Sustainable North Bay, and The Bay Institute and to orchestrate and magnify their advocacy on behalf of urban communities in water policy during the coming year.

SVTC has also advocated strengthening water efficiency components in the CALFED Program. Through the EJ Steering Committee, SVTC has seen the theme of urban water efficiency incorporated into the CALFED Bay-Delta Advisory Committee's comments on the CALFED preferred alternative, the programmatic EIR for Bay-Delta restoration and water system security. They continue to work with technical consultants, industry leaders, and city and district water officials to develop and negotiate closed loop water efficiency models.

In 1999, the SF Regional Water Board initiated work on SF Bay-wide and Guadalupe River Watershed TMDLs to address mercury contamination in the region's water bodies. (The Guadalupe River Watershed basin suffers the highest concentration of mercury contamination of any basin in the U.S.) SVTC has taken the lead in promoting public awareness and participation in these mercury TMDLs through its advocacy work before a variety of organizations, including:

  • The Peninsula Conservation Center's Business Environmental Network,
  • CALFED BDAC Watershed Work Group,
  • The Environmental Justice Steering Committee,
  • The Environmental Water Caucus,
  • The Mercury Council,
  • Pioneer High School Service Learning Program,
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District Board,
  • Santa Clara Basin Watershed Management Initiative,
  • Watershed Stewardship 2000 Conference, and
  • West San Jose Kiwanis Club.

Stanley-Jones has acted as environmental coordinator of CLEAN South Bay, the environmental coalition participating in the successfully concluded South Bay Copper/Nickel TMDL. He serves on the Santa Clara Basin Watershed Management Initiative Core Group and Bay Modeling & Monitoring and Data Management Subgroups. He recently convened a new Sustainable Water Supply Subgroup of the Watershed Management Initiative to address Bay-Delta impacts on water supply to South Bay communities.

Lastly, SVTC is very proud of its newest water project aimed at having residents take ownership of local pollution problems. During the past winter and spring, SVTC put a considerable effort into designing “Clean Streams/Clean Bay,” a community monitoring and advocacy project to track mercury and PCB sources in the Guadalupe Watershed. In February 2012, with project goals, objectives, and timelines clearly established, they obtained commitments for project collaboration from San Jose’s Pioneer and Oak Grove High Schools, the City of San Jose Environmental Services Department, and San Francisco Estuary Institute.

After obtaining the necessary permits, acquiring training in collection methodologies, and purchasing seven sets of hip-wader boots, the SVTC staff visited environmental science classes at the high schools to prepare the teachers and students with background information about the problem, project design, monitoring techniques to be employed, and forums to disseminate project results. In early May, the students, teachers, and staff deployed the first of a series of bagged bivalves in the Guadalupe River in a test run. The bivalve clams, which bioaccumulate PCBs in their tissues, will be collected at intervals for laboratory tissue analysis. SVTC will provide the District, the WMI, and the Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program with data sets for review and comment over the course of the program and will also prepare a final technical report at the project’s completion.

The Clean Streams/Clean Bay Project provides a replicable model and strategy for engaging community residents in stewardship and pollution reduction. Although they have only conducted a pilot run to-date, we have already received inquiries from other teachers who are enthusiastic about opportunities for expanding the project in the region.

Quick Links

Project Photos

Pioneer High School student volunteers and Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition staff at the 2002
Pioneer High School's Service Learning presentation.

Pioneer High School student volunteers and Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition staff at the 2002 Pioneer High School's Service Learning presentation.

Elsie Fung, a high school senior and a volunteer, helps put clams in mesh bags that will be
taken to the Guadalupe and Coyote creeks.

A high school senior and a volunteer, helps put clams in mesh bags that will be taken to the Guadalupe and Coyote creeks.

Student volunteers hammering construction stakes into the streambed.
The stakes are used to hold mesh bags containing the clams.

Student volunteers hammering construction stakes into the streambed. The stakes are used to hold mesh bags containing the clams.

Youth volunteers with mesh bag after retrieval three months later.

Youth volunteers with mesh bag after retrieval three months later.

Last modified: 6/19/2012 10:21 AM by S. Haren

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