News You Can Use

ALDOG AWARDED ALAMEDA COUNTYWIDE CLEAN WATER PROGRAM (ACCWP) GRANT TO REMOVE MICROPLASTICS FROM ALBANY BEACH:  ALDOG has been awarded an ACCWP 2017 Community Stewardship Grant to help it remove toxic microplastics from the sands of Albany Beach. The grant will enable ALDOG to buy static-charge filtration screens and other equipment, and bring Marc Ward onsite to supervise the cleanup and teach volunteers how to restore beaches to near-pristine condition.  Ward is the inventor of the patented screens we’ll be using, founder of Sea Turtles Forever, and an expert on restoring beaches to near-pristine condition. This event doubles as a rare, free, hands-on workshop with Ward, who has restored beaches from Costa Rica to Alaska.

We’ll be running two shifts:  10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Some people are signing up for both — which is great, because we need dozens of volunteers. Email or call 510-473-2626 to sign up. Let us know which shift works for you, how many other people you’re bringing, and your email address and voice contact information.

This project is in collaboration with the East Bay Regional Park District. Parking is free in the lot nearest the beach, courtesy of Golden Gate Fields.

BEACH CLEANUP & SAND GLOBE WORKSHOP ON SUNDAY, JULY 16, FROM 1 TO 3 P.M.:  Our  second big beach cleanup of the year is Sunday, March 5, 1 to 3 p.m.  Please join us, Friends of Albany Parks, the Samavesha Community Program, and the East Bay Regional Park District to take plastics and other trash off Albany Beach. Free and super-fun sand globe workshop with environmental artist Zach Pine, free parking in the lot nearest the beach courtesy of Golden Gate Fields racetrack. Bring your own buckets, sieves, and gloves or use ours. See you there!

BEACH CLEANUP & SAND GLOBE WORKSHOP ON SUNDAY, MARCH 5, FROM 1 TO 3 P.M.:  Our  first big beach cleanup of the year is Sunday, March 5, 1 to 3 p.m. Please join us, Friends of Albany Parks, the Samavesha Community Program, and the East Bay Regional Park District to take plastics and other trash off Albany Beach and the surrounding rocks. Free and super-fun sand globe workshop with environmental artist Zach Pine, free parking in the lot nearest the beach courtesy of Golden Gate Fields racetrack. Bring your own buckets, sieves, and gloves or use ours. See you there!






BEACH CLEANUP & SAND GLOBE WORKSHOP ON SUNDAY, JULY 17, FROM 1 TO 3 P.M.:  Join ALDOG, environmental artist Zach Pine, the East Bay Regional Park District, Friends of Albany Parks, the Samavesha Community Program, and Transition Albany for our next big beach cleanup and sand globe workshop! Parking is free for beach cleaners, courtesy of Golden Gate Fields, in the lot at the foot of Buchanan Street.July 17, 2016 beach cleanup flyer








JOIN ALDOG AT “HANDS ACROSS THE SAND” ON MAY 21, 11 A.M. – 1 P.M.  On Saturday, May 21, join Zach Pine Nature Sculpture’s “Hands Across the Sand” event on Albany Beach in partnership with Albany Landfill Dog Owners Group, Berkeley Climate Action Coalition Water Committee, Citizens for East Shore Parks, The Watershed Project, and Transition Albany. We’ll clean the beach, make a community statement about clean air, earth, and water, and celebrate with a sand globe workshop. ALDOG will demo our specialized electrostatic screen for sifting microplastics out of the sand. Thank you, Golden Gate Fields, for free parking for event participants!

MIGHTY MUTT MARCH BRINGS DOG GROUPS FROM AROUND BAY AREA:  On Saturday, April 23, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., dog-owner groups from all over the Bay Area will march and rally at Crissy Field to protest planned restrictions on on-leash and off-leash recreational dogwalking in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. After the rally we’ll do an Earth Day cleanup at East Beach. Please join us for the Mighty Mutt March! East Bay dog groups are turning out in force.

The proposed restrictions are opposed by many local officials and thousands of Bay Area residents, but the National Park Service has turned a deaf ear. For more information about the issue, please visit Save Our Recreation. For maps that make clear what’s at stake, check out this document:  Quick overview of GGNRA proposed rules for recreational dogwalking.


THE MARCH ROUTE: Start at the west end on the Crissy Field airfield (near the Gulf of Farallones Visitors Center/Marine Drive). March will meander through the airfield heading east onto the promenade to the East Beach picnic area. Length of route is approximately 1 mile. Biscuits and water for doggies will be provided at the end of the route. See map of start point and route:

PARKING INFORMATION: There is parking on Old Mason Street near Stillwell Hall (650 Old Mason Street), at the end of the street at the West Beach parking lot (march starting point); at East Beach (march ending point); and at the Presidio Main Post (free shuttle to Crissy Field).

ALDOG’S VALENTINE’S 2016 BEACH CLEANUP A HEARTWARMING SUCCESS: By the numbers: 48 volunteers (including lots of kids!), 300 pounds of plastics and trash sifted, gathered, and hauled away, and about 80 pounds of recyclables… bringing our total take to 3,600 pounds of garbage removed from the beach and the environment since 2013. Thank you, awesome volunteers! And thank you, East Bay Regional Park District, Golden Gate Fields, Friends of Albany Parks, Whole Foods Market Gilman, and Zach Pine Nature Sculpture and the Samavesha Community Program.

ALDOG’S NEXT BEACH CLEANUP IS THIS VALENTINE’S DAY FROM 1 TO 3 P.M. Please join us! Bring your own buckets, gloves, and sieves or use ours.

Feb 14 2016 Albany Beach cleanup flyer final










ALDOG’S COMMENTS AND EBRPD’S RESPONSES: The EBRPD has published its responses to the public comments on its recent Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) for the upcoming Albany Beach Restoration and Public Access Project. (After being sued by SPRAWLDEF, the District had to do an SEIR focused solely on the potential impact of dogs on Albany Beach.) ALDOG’s comments were inadvertently left out of the Final SEIR and issued later as a supplement (see link below).

One of the project’s goals is to bring more visitors to the Albany waterfront. The Final SEIR confirms that the environmental impact, should a few of those new people bring a few more dogs, will not be significant. The SEIR resolves the environmental issues, we believe, but ALDOG is still addressing the policy issue — which is whether and why people with dogs should be allowed on the beach. Read our position on that here. Albany Beach Supplemental Comments and Responses-LR

STUDIES ABOUT THE IMPACT OF PEOPLE AND DOGS ON WILDLIFE: Several studies suggest that people with dogs don’t have much impact on wildlife in urban parks. In more remote places, it’s becoming clear that people — even birdwatchers — have an effect on wildlife, but that people with dogs aren’t any worse than people themselves.

Worth the read:

A chapter from Avian Ecology and Conservation in an Urbanizing World, 2001, pages 259-173, by Esteban Fernández-Juricic, Maria Dolores Jimenez, and Elena Lucas. Discusses bird tolerance of human disturbance in urban parks in Madrid (includes discussion of optimal habitat — brushy is good — and how urban birds habituate to the presence of humans.)  Bird tolerance to human disturbance, urban parks, Madrid

The Andrew Forrest and Collen Cassady St. Clair study, “Effects of dog leash laws and habitat type on avian and small mammal communities in urban parks.”  The researchers looked at numerous off-leash, on-leash, and no-dog areas in Edmonton, Canada, and found that, if anything, there were more birds in the off-leash areas.  Forrest 2006 Dog effects on birds in urban parks

A study by Reed & Mehrenlender, “Effects of Management of Domestic Dogs and Recreation on Carnivores in Protected Areas in Northern California.” Found no difference in populations of bobcats and coyotes in areas with dogs off-leash, on-leash, or no dogs. Did find big drops in carnivore populations wherever humans are allowed, however.   REED & MERENLENDER – Domestic dogs and wildlife

The 1997 Bekoff-Meaney study in Boulder of off-leash dog activity in parks. Rebuts the contention that the dogs of people doing recreational dog-walking devastate wildlife and the environment. Bekoff and Meaney found that off-leash dogs tend to stay with their people and don’t stray far from trails.  Bekoff Meaney 1997 dogs

ALDOG’S FEB 2015 BEACH CLEANUP COLLECTS 450 LBS OF TRASH: On February 15, 2015, some 80 volunteers (including 14 kids) removed 450 pounds of trash from Albany Beach and the shoreline road. That included about 40 pounds of recyclables which we took to the recycling center. (And brings our total to-date to 2,800 pounds since we started formal cleanups under the California Coastal Commission Adopt-a-Beach program in 2013.) Thank you Cub Scouts, Albany High students, and Delta Sigma Pi at CSU East Bay, and thank you Zach Pine for your wonderful sand globe workshop. And thank you to our mascot seal, who hung out for at least an hour watching everyone work.

Thank you to Whole Foods Market, Gilman Street, for providing cookies, drinks, and hand wipes… to Golden Gate Fields for giving beach cleaners free parking… and to the East Bay Regional Park District for collaborating with us on the cleanup. Thank you to the City of Albany for letting us use your Big Belly compactors on Solano Avenue for our beach cleanup flyers.

Melina cleans the beachP1340189Copy of P1340156




 Flyer with black border

ALDOG’S RESPONSE TO THE SUPPLEMENTAL EIR RE: ALBANY BEACH:  The East Bay Regional Park District recently produced a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) focused on the impact of dogs on Albany Beach. This was the result of a lawsuit (SPRAWLDEF vs. EBRPD) over the park district’s EIR for its upcoming Albany Beach Restoration and Public Access Project. The lawsuit claimed the EIR was inadequate, the district went back to  gather more data, and then the public was invited to comment on the Supp EIR.

Despite many opportunities, SPRAWLDEF, Sierra Club, Citizens for East Shore Parks, and Audubon Society have provided no evidence that people with dogs are monopolizing the waterfront or harming wildlife or the environment at Albany Beach. In fact, the SEIR found that 59 percent of people who visit the waterfront don’t even bring a dog, and the ones who do are diligent about cleaning up after them. The SEIR noted on page 35 that the overall cleanliness of the beach may be due partly to the presence of ALDOG, which conducts regular cleanups. (Thank you, ALDOGs!)

The peculiar complaints of SPRAWLDEF and Sierra Club have focused almost exclusively on the fear of dogs. They submitted comments on the original EIR that included 18 references to articles about the fear of dogs, said that fear of dogs is a disability, and that the park district has an obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act to accommodate people who can’t come to Albany Beach because there are dogs there.

We kid you not. We couldn’t make this stuff up.

When did Sierra Club become the mouthpiece for fear of dogs, we wonder? Was it because their other arguments were just so thin?

It’s ironic that these groups pretty much haven’t gone to bat for any other park user group except for the tiny percentage of people who might want to go to Albany Beach and who are afraid of dogs. Windsurfer, kayakers, cyclists… you’re on your own, bud.  (In fact, Sierra Club and SPRAWLDEF also objected kind of weakly to our windsurfer friends at Albany Beach — might hurt the eel grass, they said — but the judge threw that one out when SPRAWLDEF vs. EBRPD came to trial. We figure they only included the windsurfers in the first place so it wouldn’t look like they were anti-dog or anything…)

Meanwhile, Albany Beach is awash in toxic plastics, microplastics, sharps, and more. But I suppose the groups above are doing enough for the beach just by targeting people with dogs.

Let’s get real: There is just is no environmental rationale for kicking people with dogs off Albany Beach.

If anything, that would be a policy issue… should people with dogs be allowed to continue to share the beach with other users, as they have for the past 50 years? Or should several special interest groups — SPRAWLDEF, Sierra Club, Citizens for East Shore Parks, and Audubon Society — get to handpick the groups they think deserve to enjoy the beach?

Read all about it in ALDOG comments on SEIR Feb2015001

ALDOG’S NOV 16 BEACH CLEANUP TOOK 350 LBS OF TRASH OFF THE BEACH! Thanks to more than 60 great volunteers, we took 350 pounds of trash off Albany Beach on November 16, bringing the year’s total to 1,350 pounds. Thank you especially to Zach Pine and his sand art workshop, Albany Middle School, Albany High School, and Cal State East Bay for all the TLC for the beach. Thank you East Bay Regional Park District for your wonderful partnership and thank you Golden Gate Fields for free parking for our beach volunteers!

NOV 16 BEACH CLEANUP AND FREE SAND GLOBE WORKSHOP: Please join our last  beach cleanup of the year this Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.! Clean the sand and then get creative making big, amazing sand globes with artist Zach Pine.Nov 16 beach poster

Parking is free courtesy of Golden Gate Fields. (Drive to the foot of Buchanan and turn left into the lot. Walk through the eucalyptus grove to our sign-in table. Bring your own gloves and buckets or use ours. This cleanup is in collaboration with the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD).

Note: Cleanup is rain or shine. Rain date for sand globe workshop is Sunday, December 7 (same time, same place, street parking only).

Huge haul for AlDOG’s July 20, 2014 beach cleanup: We took 650 pounds of trash (mostly small plastics) and a bin of recyclables off Albany Beach, the shoreline trail, and the Albany Bay Trail along Buchanan. We had more than 55 volunteers, including about a dozen kids (thank you, Albany Cub Scouts Pack 3 and Albany High School)! We picked up an unusual number of syringes (more than 14, some with old needles), which may indicate that medical waste is being dumped in SF Bay again? This time we collaborated with artist Zach Pine’s “Earth in Your Hands” free sand art workshop, which was great fun. Many beach cleaners learned to make sand globes and many workshop participants helped clean the beach. We look forward to doing that again on November 16 at our next cleanup! Thank you, everyone! (time-lapse video of the July cleanup here)


Albany Beach cleanup, Sunday July 20, 1 to 3 p.m.: Please join us for our second big cleanup of the year, held in collaboration with the East Bay Regional Park District.  Parking is free, courtesy of Golden Gate Fields. (Drive to the foot of Buchanan Street, by the roundabout and the heron sculpture, and turn left into the parking lot. Park, walk through the eucalyptus grove, and head to our sign-in table.) Bring your own gloves and buckets or use ours. Help us keep Albany Beach clean and beautiful!

For more info, contact us at or call (510) 473-2626.

Artist Zach Pine is also conducting a sand art workshop at Albany Beach from 2 to 5 p.m.! Come for the cleanup and stay on for a very cool workshop on making globes of sand as part of a spontaneous, community art installation.

Our February 23, 2014 cleanup took about 350 pounds of trash and recyclables off Albany Beach and surrounding areas. We also screened microplastics and debris from a small area of the beach using our new screen from Sea Turtles Forever (STF). Thanks to our volunteers, STF, the East Bay Regional Park District, and Golden Gate Fields (which let beach cleaners park in their lot for free)!

ALDOG’s 2014 Albany Beach Cleanups are Feb 23, July 20, and Nov 16 (all Sundays, all from 1 to 3 p.m.). Park free courtesy of Golden Gate Fields… tell the parking attendant you’re with the cleanup. Park near the dunes and come sign in at our table overlooking the beach (near the beginning of the shoreline trail). Bring your buckets and gloves or use ours. See you there!

ALDOG is an official California Coastal Commission adopter of Albany Beach. In 2013 we removed 1,000 pounds of debris from the beach. Our beach cleanups are in collaboration with the East Bay Regional Park District. Thank you, EBRPD!


JUNE 2013 CLEANUP NETS 350 POUNDS OF DEBRIS: Forty-five volunteers braved cool weather to comb Albany Beach and bring in 350 pounds of debris on Sunday, June 23. Thank you! And thank you, East Bay Regional Park District, for collaborating with us to coordinate this cleanup. This is the second of three cleanups ALDOG has committed to as an official participant in the California Coastal Commission’s Adopt-a-Beach program. ALDOG’s goal is to to remove 1,000 pounds of  trash from the beach this year. Please join our December cleanup — tentatively scheduled for December 8 — to help us meet our goal!

Beach cleanup poster, 23 June 2013 here    Student PSA video re: the Landfill and the June cleanup here

BEACH CLEANUP BRINGS IN 250-300 LBS. OF TRASH:  The ALDOG-sponsored beach cleanup on March 24, in collaboration with East Bay Regional Park District, brought in 250-300 pounds of mostly microplastics, Styrofoam, and cigarette butts (along with fishing line, construction debris,  rotten fabrics, rope, etc.) For the complete story see the Albany Patch article here. March 24 cleanup Poster

SPRAWLDEF SUES EBRPD TO FORCE RESTRICTIONS ON DOGS AND WINDSURFERS:iN  Four people who call themselves SPRAWLDEF have filed suit against East Bay Regional Park District to force it to restrict or perhaps ban off-leash dogs and windsurfers on Albany Beach. This small litigation unit is apparently attempting to derail the long public process by which the Albany Beach Restoration Project Environmental Impact Report was developed and approved (including public hearings, testimony, and considerable expenditure of East Bay tax dollars).

SPRAWLDEF was founded by the Sierra Club’s Norman LaForce and three others. LaForce and Jeff Inglis are also members of the Board of Directors of Citizens for East Shore Parks, the nonprofit that helped create McLaughlin East Shore State Park in 2002 and has worked to restrict dogs in the park ever since.

Please join our mailing list to get updates on this situation as it unfolds.

PLEASE PICK UP AN EXTRA POOP: Make the park cleaner by doing a two-fer every time you walk your dogs. Email if you can coordinate monthly cleanups of the Plateau!

NEW LEASH LAWS TOOK EFFECT MAY 17, 2o12: In April 2012 the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors approved several changes to the ordinance that includes rules about dogs in the parks.

The broadest change is the “200 foot rule.” As first proposed, this would have required dogs to be on-leash in parking lots, at staging areas, and for the first 200 feet of every trail throughout the 110,000-acre park district. Off-leash advocates persuaded the Board and staff to add “as posted” to the proposed language. This big win means that the 200 foot requirement will apply selectively at posted trails rather than automatically on all trails.

The 200 foot rule is intended to improve poop pickup and provide time for dogs to calm down before being let off-leash. Please, everyone – don’t let your dog bother other park users and please pick up an extra poop every time you’re out hiking. Carry the bags out with you, too. Bags of poop at the side of the trail turn out to be a huge source of irritation for other park users – including other people with dogs. (Never throw the bags in the bushes! Rotting bags create a nasty mess that park workers have to deal with later.)

The other big change is that dogs must now be on-leash on the Dunn and Serpentine trails in Redwood Regional Park at the request of equestrians from the nearby stables.

The only change at Point Isabel is that dogs and other animals must be on-leash in the parking lots.

For general rules regarding dogs in the EBRPD, click here. (Download the pdf at the top of that page to see the specific changes – in italics – approved by the Board on April 17.)


Please contact ALDOG at