Photo by Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle
Filipa A. Ioannou's Chronicle article sounds an alert over the health risks posed by decaying creosote pilings in the Bay, with particular attention on the adverse effects on pacific herring, which she notes is a keystone species.
SFEI's study forms a foundation for recent concerns about pacific herring, since the December 2010 study mapped the pilings, assessed the likely adverse impacts of their continued decay, and considered various treatment or removal methods. Recent concerns about the condition of the fishery have spurred renewed attention on the study. Under the threats of climate change, with higher temperatures and sea levels, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is taking precautionary measures to protect the integrity of a fishery that may be facing new challenges.
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The remnants of old creosote-treated piers and dilapidated maritime facilities are common sights along intertidal and subtidal shorelines. Removal of these structures has been proposed as a possible restoration focus for San Francisco Bay. Removal of dilapidated pilings could mitigate the adverse effects of other environmental threats and advance long-term goals for management and restoration of subtidal habitats in San Francisco Bay.