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San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission celebrates 40th anniversary
Save The Bay credits first-ever coastal zone management agency with preserving the Bay for future generations
OAKLAND, CA - Mon Nov 28 , 2005 -
On December 1, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) celebrates 40 years of saving San Francisco Bay. The reception, featuring BCDC’s first chairman Mel Lane, first executive director Joe Bodovitz, Save The Bay co-founder Sylvia McLaughlin, and past and present BCDC commissioners, takes place at the Bayside Conference Room on Pier One at the Port of San Francisco from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
BCDC set the model used around the world for coastal zone management agencies, pre-dating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Coastal Commission. The state bill creating BCDC, the McAteer-Petris Act, was passed after a massive grassroots effort led by Save The Bay and Bay Area residents to stop the wholesale filling of San Francisco Bay. BCDC was made a permanent agency by Governor Ronald Reagan in 1969, giving it the authority to regulate filling and dredging by permit in the Bay and within a 100-foot shoreline band.
“The Bay Conservation and Development Commission has been, and continues to be, essential to advancing the Bay Area’s economy and quality of life. The Commission’s work has made the San Francisco Bay cleaner and healthier, provided millions of dollars in economic benefit, and created recreation opportunities for Bay Area residents. I am gratified to have served six years on the Commission,” states U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Over the past 40 years, BCDC has amassed a remarkable number of accomplishments. Among them, the Commission has authorized over $14.4 billion in shoreline development, opened up more than 900 acres of new public access for trails, parks and recreational uses along more than 90 miles of Bay shoreline and permitted wetland restoration that has made the Bay thousands of acres larger. These accomplishments have been achieved at a minimal cost to each Californian of about 10 cents per year.
Before the creation of BCDC, one-third of the Bay had already been filled in or diked off from the tides. Cities and developers had their own plans for filling in the Bay to create land for houses, offices and businesses. In 1959, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a study showing it was feasible to fill in 70 percent of the Bay, leaving only a narrow shipping channel.
“Without BCDC, San Francisco Bay would be vulnerable to unnecessary landfill and harmful development. BCDC is essential to the economic and environmental health of the Bay Area and preserving San Francisco Bay for future generations,” notes Save The Bay Executive Director David Lewis.
Twenty-seven commissioners representing Bay Area counties, cities, private citizens and key state and federal agencies serve on BCDC, encouraging broad public participation and open government.
In addition to Senator Feinstein, BCDC has a long list of distinguished former commissioners, including U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, U.S. Representatives Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren, and State Senator Jackie Speier. More than 450 community leaders have served on BCDC throughout its forty-year history.
San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the nation’s first coastal management agency, was created by the 1965 McAteer-Petris Act. In 1969, BCDC was made a permanent state agency. Among its activities, BCDC established and implemented a Bay Plan to encourage commercial and recreational uses while protecting environmentally-sensitive areas. BCDC’s work is essential to the economic and environmental health of the San Francisco Bay Area now and in the future.
About Save The Bay
Save The Bay (www.saveSFbay.org) is the oldest and largest organization working exclusively to celebrate, protect and restore San Francisco Bay. Save The Bay wages successful campaigns to reduce the impacts of urban sprawl and pollution and to create public access. At the core of its work, Save The Bay is committed to improving the Bay’s health while building and deepening Bay Area residents’ connection to the Bay and strengthening community ties through watershed education and restoration programs. Save The Bay is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.