Monday, June 06, 2016


"Restoring San Francisco Bay’s wetlands one native plant at a time" PBS NewsHour 6/3/2016


SUMMARY:  The San Francisco Bay’s wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate due to encroaching development, leaving the local ecosystem at risk.  Moreover, the wetlands can store as much carbon as a tropical rainforest, an invaluable asset in the effort to slow global warming.  Sonia Aronson of the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs takes a look at a new and contentious proposed tax to save the bay.

WOMAN:  Welcome to the Oakland shoreline.  This is Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Park (Shoreline).

SONIA ARONSON (Student Reporting Labs):  These local high school students have volunteered their Saturday to clean up the San Francisco Bay.

CHRIS LA, Volunteer, Save the Bay:  We are helping restore and replant and reinstall native plants into this area of the wetlands.

SONIA ARONSON:  They are here with Save the Bay, a local organization that mobilizes the community to restore the thousands of acres of wetlands surrounding the bay.

They also educate volunteers and student groups like this one about the crucial role that wetlands play in sustaining the bay.

Chris La is a sophomore at Oakland High School.

CHRIS LA:  We should be connected to our environment, because that’s what we should be worried about first.  Without the world, without nature, we wouldn’t be here.  And we’re slowly doing a better job at sustaining ourselves, but, so far, we kind of screwed up over the last 200 years.

SONIA ARONSON:  In that time, the wetlands that surround the bay have been disappearing at an alarming rate, which could endanger not just the local ecosystem, but the worldwide effort to address global warming and sea level rise.

PATTY OIKAWA, University of California, Berkeley:  So, originally, this was all wetlands.  About 150 years ago, people came in and drained those wetlands and started growing crops like corn and alfalfa.

SONIA ARONSON: Patty Oikawa, a postdoctoral researcher at U.C. Berkeley, is studying the unique ability of wetlands to store carbon, a trait that can offset the effects of climate change.

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