The Bay Area as we know it wouldn’t exist were it not for the land and water, a source of immense beauty, instant orientation and sense of place. Eighty percent of the region’s 4.5 million acres is open space. The Bay and estuary cover 1,600 square miles and the coastline spans 188 miles. These resources support over 1,000 species of mammals, fish and birds.

Sounds nice, but it is estimated that almost 600,000 acres of greenbelt will be developed over the next 30 years, doubling the size of our urban area if not redirected. And the health of many parts of the Bay is seriously at risk.

Fortunately, there is a buzz of activity in the Bay Area that is creating a strong sense of stewardship and commitment to these precious resources. The City of Gilroy recently restored Uvas Creek, reestablishing a critical steelhead spawning channel and 127 acres of environmentally – sensitive land. The Port of Oakland has teamed up with public agencies and environmentalists to provide clean dredge material to develop new wetlands at the Sonoma County edge of the Bay. Two 400-mile regional trail systems, the Bay Trail and the Ridge Trail, are underway, and when completed, will connect residents of our nine county region.