San Francisco Estuary Partnership wins award for Bay-Delta stewardship

(L-R) Kimberly Riley, The Bay Foundation; Vicki Gambale, The Bay Foundation; Preston Smith, Office of Environmental Health Services, Virginia Department of Health; Adrien Baudrimont, San Francisco Estuary Partnership; Natasha Dunn, San Francisco Estuary Partnership. Photo by Lynda Richardson, Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries.

The San Francisco Estuary Partnership’s Clean Vessel Act Program received an Outstanding Service Award from the States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA) at the national SOBA meeting last week in Virginia.

The program helps keep the Bay and Delta clean for recreation and species that use the estuary by promoting proper disposal of sewage from vessels. 

For almost two decades, the San Francisco Estuary Partnership has been working in the 12 counties of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Delta to promote clean boating and environmental stewardship to boaters and marinas, in partnership with the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways, The Bay Foundation, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and an array of other partners.

In 1992, Congress passed the Clean Vessel Act to help reduce pollution from vessel sewage discharges into U.S. waters. The act provides for sewage facilities as well as boater education to promote public awareness about boat sewage and its proper disposal. It's essential to water quality in the Bay and Delta, offering a convenient alternative to dumping untreated sewage directly into the water. 

Last week's award is for "the commitment to the Clean Vessel Act Program, for empowering the boaters of California to be their own advocate and for integrating new technology for today's boater." The award is shared with the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways.

Three years ago, the Estuary Partnership and The Bay Foundation’s Clean Vessel Act Program developed Pumpout Nav, a free Android and iOS app that allows not only surveyors, but marina managers and boaters as well, to monitor pumpouts for condition and status as well as other pertinent info.

Pumpouts are sewage facilities found at marinas and docks that empty boats' holding tanks of collected wastewater and sewage. The Pumpout Nav app has been so successful that other states are using it, including Oregon, Vermont, and New York. Pumpout Nav is the only app of its kind, and has been downloaded over 10,000 times. For more info: https://www.sfestuary.org/boating.

The partnership’s host entity is the Association of Bay Area Governments, which is staffed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

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