Save The Bay Invites Community To Attend Gala Celebrating 50 Years Of Protecting And Restoring San Francisco Bay

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — Save The Bay, celebrating its 50th year as the oldest and largest organization working exclusively to protect and restore San Francisco Bay, today announces its November 3rd gala celebration in San Francisco, Splash! 50 Years of Making Waves. Founded in 1961, Save The Bay will commemorate 50 years of preventing massive bayfill projects, halting destructive dumping, re-establishing wetlands and public access to the shoreline and rallying community to save the Bay.

“Save The Bay has been a driving force for protecting San Francisco Bay, helping to ensure the Bay is the centerpiece of the region’s character and pride,” said U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“If Save The Bay had not vigorously protested its destruction, San Francisco Bay and the surrounding environment would not be the beautiful natural treasure it is today,” said Save The Bay Executive Director David Lewis. “We are thrilled to invite the Bay Area community to join us as we honor the heroes that saved the Bay half a century ago and share our vision for a healthy Bay to improve the region’s quality of life and economy in the next 50 years.”

The gala will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on November 3, 2011 at the City View and Terrace at the Metreon in San Francisco. Individuals and corporations can purchase tickets online at The evening will feature dinner fare from local restaurants, a live auction and the organization’s inaugural Bay Steward Award ceremony, sponsored by the America’s Cup and Schwartz MSL, honoring the following recipients:     Lifetime Achievement Award: Esther Gulick, Kay Kerr and Sylvia McLaughlin     Corporate Bay Steward: Cupertino Electric     Community Bay Steward: City of San Jose, California     Individual Bay Steward: Ron Blatman Other sponsors include Bank of America, NBC Bay Area, Davis Polk and Wardwell LLP, Ghirardelli Square, Port of San Francisco and Wells Fargo.

The Save The Bay Story By 1961, one-third of San Francisco Bay was diked off or filled in for development and there were plans to fill 60 percent of the remaining shallow Bay, leaving only a narrow shipping channel. The public had access to less than six miles of shoreline, and the Bay was choked with raw sewage and industrial pollution.

Kay Kerr, Sylvia McLaughlin and Esther Gulick fought back, forming “Save San Francisco Bay Association” by offering membership for $1 and mobilizing tens of thousands of residents to save the Bay from destruction, initiating California’s first modern grassroots environmental movement. Since then, the organization – now known as Save The Bay – has achieved dozens of victories, including:

    Won a legislative moratorium against bayfill, closed the garbage dumps ringing the shoreline, and helped stop raw sewage flowing untreated into the Bay.     Established the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), a state agency to regulate the Bay and its shoreline that has served as the model for worldwide coastal zone management.     Launched our Community-Based Restoration Program, engaging tens of thousands of community volunteers and students to restore Bay wetlands.     Stopped San Francisco International Airport’s runway expansion project that would have filled two square miles of the Bay.     Secured passage of Healthy Bay Beaches legislation to protect public health by requiring regular and consistent water quality monitoring at Bay beaches.     Established the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority to generate funds for Bay wetland restoration – a giant step toward re-establishing 100,000 acres of healthy wetlands around the Bay.     Secured the first-ever regulations in the Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit to require Bay Area cities to reduce the trash they discharge into the Bay.     Worked with San Jose to pass a landmark ban on single-use plastic bags – the strongest policy in the country and one that will significantly reduce plastic pollution in the Bay.

The biggest part of our whole effort was to create awareness about the Bay and its connection to everyone around it,” Sylvia McLaughlin said. “I just hope people continue to appreciate the treasure of the San Francisco Bay. We want this to be here for those who come after us and beyond.”

Save The Bay in 2011 As a result of Save The Bay’s work, the Bay is cleaner and healthier today than it was 50 years ago, and the region is now known for its commitment to sustainability and conservation. In fact, a half century after the organization was founded, the Bay Area is poised to host the biggest and most prestigious regatta in the world – the America’s Cup – right here on San Francisco Bay. Further:

    More than half of the Bay is ringed with public trails, linking a necklace of shoreline parks.     Large-scale restoration projects are underway, including the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the West Coast in the South Bay Salt Ponds.     Over 50,000 students have helped to restore the Bay through Save The Bay projects since 2000.     35,000 citizens are involved with Save The Bay’s mission and ongoing projects.

Individuals interested in learning more about Save The Bay’s history are encouraged to visit or play the non-profit’s online trivia game, Battle for the Bay at

Supplemental Information

Save The Bay Anniversary Gala: Splash! 50 Years of Making Waves

    November 3, 2011; 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.     City View & Terrace at the Metreon, San Francisco     Emcee: Diane Dwyer, NBC Bay Area News Anchor     Auctioneer: Mark Buell     Honorary Co-Chairs: U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, The Honorable William K. Reilly     Exclusive VIP reception honoring the event’s Host Committee, sponsors, and Bay Steward award winners     “Taste of the Bay” cocktails and bites prepared by local restaurateurs     Premiere of special short film by Saving the Bay producer, Ron Blatman     Save The Bay’s inaugural Bay Steward award ceremony     Exciting live auction of exclusive items and opportunities     Delicious three-course meal provided by Back to Earth Catering     Entertainment by local favorite Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers     Photography by Drew Altizer Photography

Bay Steward Award recipients

Lifetime Achievement Award: Esther Gulick, Kay Kerr and Sylvia McLaughlin In 1961, Sylvia McLaughlin, Kay Kerr and Esther Gulick formed Save San Francisco Bay Association (now Save The Bay), spurred into action by the City of Berkeley’s plan to fill in 2,000 acres of San Francisco Bay and the thought that the Bay could very easily be turned into a river-like shipping channel. Appalled that the filling of their beautiful natural treasure was considered “progress” and further, that there was very little public access to the Bay, the three women quickly mobilized their communities, and thousands of residents joined for just $1.

What began as a small group of women concerned about the future of the Bay grew into th


Amy Ricard
Save The Bay