Stepping out of The Watershed Project office, I walk right by Stege Marsh, a tidal salt marsh housing various species of shorebirds. I continue past Meeker Slough, a freshwater inlet mixing in with the salty Bay water, and finally I am on the beautiful Bay Trail overlooking our estuary and the San Francisco skyline. Some days the water is bright blue and completely still, mirroring the clear quiet skies above. Other days the water is murky, the green and brown waves splashing around with the wind. While the Bay seems to change every day, its power remains the same and the gifts that it gives to our local community continue to amaze.
As the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast, the Bay provides us with multiple ecosystem services, or essential processes that all living organisms depend on. Our local marshes work as sponges, filtering out runoff pollution from our cities and preventing pollutants from reaching the ocean. This highly productive ecosystem acts as crucial habitat for waterfowl, marine invertebrates, fish and other species. Perhaps the greatest gift we receive from the Bay is the constant reminder that humans are a part of the natural world. The Bay provides us with beautiful views that help calm our minds and reduce stress. It provides us with the gift of health, providing a place to recreate – either by walking along its shorelines or boating in its waters.
In the spirit of holiday fun, here are our twelve days of gift giving.
Over the past year, The Watershed Project has given the Bay:
- One brand-new 250-foot long bioswale along the Richmond Greenway to filter and clean runoff before it reaches the Bay.
- Two dozen trees planted to beautify our city, store carbon, and clean our air.
- Three new rain gardens installed to increase green spaces in our community, alleviate flooding, and filter out pollutants.
- Four hundred oysters per square meter thriving on each of our 100 oyster reef balls at Point Pinole.
- Five thousand pounds of trash removed from our local watersheds by thousands of dedicated volunteers.
- Six high schools with multiple classes participating in hands-on science lessons and service learning projects.
- Seven trash assessments conducted around our local creeks and shorelines.
- Eight elementary schools participated in our education programs and over 1000 students learned about watersheds and marine debris.
- Nine field trips to Point Pinole were conducted to teach students about oyster restoration in the Bay.
- Ten Bay Area cities served by The Watershed Project this year.
- Eleven interns gained environmental career skills and experience working in the community.
- Twelve Second Saturday workdays led to a network of rain gardens and bioswales built along the Richmond Greenway.
This holiday season, as you are finding ways to show your loved ones you care about them, why not give your watershed a gift as well? You can do this in a number of ways:
- Join us this Saturday, December 12th planting natives in our brand-new bioswale in Richmond. These plants will filter out pollutants and green our urban spaces.
- Help us plant trees December 19th to beautify our urban jungle before the rains come. Event details coming soon!
- Make a donation to contribute to our Annual Appeal and support our efforts to create the next generation of stewards of the watershed.
- Shop through Amazon Smile and choose The Watershed Project as the non-profit of your choice.
- Forward this newsletter to a friend and like us on Facebook to spread the word.
No matter what you choose to do this holiday season, be sure to get out and enjoy the beauty of the Bay. Take some deep breaths and thank your watershed for all it does!