SF Estuary/Delta Needs Long Overdue Protections from Ballast Water Discharges

By Cindy Charles

CSPA, along with over a dozen other environmental organizations, recently signed on to a comment letter supporting limits on the discharge of ships’ ballast water into the Bay-Delta Estuary.  The letter was sent to the San Francisco Estuary Partnership (SFEP) for consideration in the 2022-2027 San Francisco Estuary Blueprint.

The comment letter calls out the failure of the Estuary Blueprint to address ballast water and to require actions to reduce the introduction of non-native species in ballast discharges. The San Francisco Bay/Delta ecosystem is generally recognized as one of the most invaded estuaries in the world.

Ballast water discharge is not only a critical environmental threat. It is also a public health threat that includes human pathogens, including bacteria and viruses.

The letter recommends that the Blueprint include a provision that calls on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt requirements for ballast discharge that comply with the Clean Water Act limits on harmful non-native organisms and human pathogens.

The San Francisco Estuary Partnership was established in 1988 by the State of California and the EPA under the Clean Water Act’s National Estuary Program. The Estuary Blueprint maps out the regional actions needed for a healthy, resilient San Francisco Estuary.  The Blueprint is currently undergoing an update by the SFEP.

SFEP staff will provide the comments to members of the SFEP Implementation Committee to discuss at their next meeting on March 16.



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