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San Francisco Bay Area Clubs Celebrate Collaboration with Save the Bay


June 26, 2024

Six GCA clubs mark ten years of shared environmental service with a Day on the Bay

This past October, as the sun glistened on the San Francisco Bay, members of six Northern California GCA garden clubs happily reconnected as they boarded the historic USS Potomac—FDR’s presidential yacht, now docked in Oakland, CA—for a brisk and educational Bay cruise.

The mood was celebratory as members from Carmel, Hillsborough, Marin, Orinda, Piedmont, and Woodside-Atherton Garden Clubs eagerly gathered to view and learn about the beneficial results of their shoreline restoration efforts.

Over the past ten years, in collaboration with the environmental nonprofit, Save the Bay, and with oversight from GCA’s Partners for Plants (P4P) program, these six Northern California clubs have engaged in numerous shoreline restoration projects stretching from the Oakland Estuary down to Monterey Bay.

With guidance from Save the Bay, club members crafted a common “Bay Vision” to improve the state of the Bay. Through P4P projects, they regularly rolled up their sleeves to support shoreline restoration. The Hillsborough Garden Club has removed invasive Algerian Sea Lavender in Coyote Point. Further south, Carmel Garden Club members restored the native Dune Scrub. In Oakland, the Piedmont and Orinda Garden Clubs removed invasive species and propagated native plants to restore the Martin Luther King shoreline.

In 2014, the same six GCA clubs formed Bay Visions - a consortium charged with educating the public and planning activities to engage club members in local shoreline conservation efforts. The Bay Visions steering committee organized October’s Day on the Bay and arranged for David Lewis, Executive Director of Save the Bay, to participate and share his insights.

In 2018, Lewis, on behalf of Save the Bay, accepted GCA’s prestigious Cynthia Pratt Laughlin medal, for “outstanding achievement in environmental protection and the maintenance of the quality of life.” For the USS Potomac excursion, he offered an overview of restoration efforts while sharing his own Bay Vision for the future. He expressed gratitude for the ongoing collaboration between GCA and Save the Bay.

A few months following the Day on the Bay, an industrial salt pond in Menlo Park was opened, allowing tidal waters to flow into what will be a 300-acre marshland. The project was part of the largest wetlands restoration ever conducted on the West Coast, and the advocacy of Save the Bay played a key role in its restoration. Once barren areas now benefit from daily tidal flows which will encourage healthier runs of fish and support seed transport and plant germination.

GCA is on the forefront of wetland restoration, partnering with local organizations to make a profound impact, not only in California, but around the country.




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