Saving the Bay is four one-hour episodes tracing the Bay from its geologic origins following the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago through years of catastrophic exploitation to the restoration efforts of today.
From the Gold Rush to the Golden Gate Bridge, through World’s Fairs and World Wars; from Alcatraz and Angel Island to fishing fleets, ferry boats, freighters and foghorns, San Francisco Bay has been central to the identity of one of the world’s leading economic, academic, recreational and cultural regions. Widely acclaimed as one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbors, San Francisco Bay is the premier estuary on the Pacific Coast of both North and South America and is the second most important estuary in the United States after Chesapeake Bay. The volume of water per second moving out the Golden Gate to the Pacific Ocean is up to seven times that of the Mississippi River flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.
The Bay is a critical link in the Pacific Flyway for millions of migrating birds. It is home to the first National Bird Sanctuary (Oakland’s Lake Merritt), the last urban fishery (herring) and the largest urban national park in the country (Golden Gate National Recreation Area). San Francisco Bay is also the most invaded aquatic ecosystem in North America.
We meet the people who helped shape the Bay — dreamers and schemers, polluters and preservationists, sailors and soldiers, tugboat captains and captains of industry. And we catch up with others who use the Bay — as their workplace, playground, commute route or valued vista.
Saving the Bay is the first television program to tell the story of the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary and the people who have shaped and reshaped it; from native inhabitants who lived around the Bay for 3,500 years to those who now seek to restore balance to a fabled estuary in the midst of one of the nation’s largest and most vibrant urban centers.
We recount how the Bay was almost lost to landfill schemes from the daring to the deranged and celebrate the more recent restoration and expansion of this once threatened treasure.