News Release from Alameda Point company Saildrone:
ALAMEDA, Jan 11, 2021 – Saildrone, Inc. has launched a 72 foot (22 m) version of its uncrewed surface vehicles, known as saildrones. Powered by wind and solar energy, saildrones are capable of extreme-duration missions of up to 12 months in the open ocean. This latest and largest version, the first in the Surveyor class of USVs, is called the Saildrone Surveyor, and carries sonar equipment capable of seafloor mapping down to 7,000 m.
Enhanced seabed mapping is vital for the security, safety, and economic health of nation states, and is critical to the growth of the “Blue Economy,” which, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is valued at $1.5 trillion a year and creates the equivalent of 31 million full-time jobs.
Coinciding with the start of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, the launch of the Saildrone Surveyor presents a paradigm shift in enhanced seabed mapping, which is currently done with very large and expensive manned ships. The Surveyor, uncrewed and powering its robust sensor suite by harvesting renewable energy, delivers an equivalent survey capability, but at a fraction of the cost and carbon footprint of a traditional survey ship. Continue reading “Saildrone launches world’s largest deep ocean exploration drone”
The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) completed its beach and dune improvement project at Alameda Point in December 2020. The complete facelift comes on the heels of the city upgrading the nearby boat ramp. The area is accessible from Central Avenue next to Encinal High School.
The beach is a popular launch site for non-motorized watercraft, such as kayaks, outrigger canoes, and paddle boards. The EBRPD project has greatly enhanced recreational functionality by providing easier access to the water from the parking lot down to the beach. The new landscaping has also improved the overall aesthetics of the shoreline. Continue reading “Dune Restoration, Shoreline Project Completed”
A liquid solvent that is able to dissolve other substances can run, but it can’t hide from investigators, even 20 feet below ground. A toxic cleaning solvent called trichloroethane (TCE) was used to degrease metal parts in industrial operations at the Navy’s aircraft repair facility. When this solvent leaks into soil and groundwater, as it did in Building 5 at Alameda Point, the odorless vapors can cause cancer and other ill health effects to occupants of buildings above as it evaporates.
The actual process of cleaning up the contamination, while time-consuming, is not the real problem. The real challenge is finding it, measuring it, and calculating what the safe cleanup level is for future use of the building, in this case commercial. Continue reading “Decades-long groundwater solvent cleanup completed at Building 5”
The City of Alameda is in the process of updating its General Plan. The current draft of the updated plan draws attention to wildlife habitat, a welcome addition. However, it misses the largest contiguous wildlife habitat in all of Alameda – that is, the waterway on the south side of Alameda Point.
To address this oversight, a proposal supported by stakeholders listed below has been submitted to the City recommending a policy that brings together both the habitat values and the recreational values of this area. The proposal calls for designating the area as the Alameda Point Marine Conservation, Wildlife, and Recreation Area. This area includes the deepwater ship channel, the ship harbor, the harbor extending to the mudflat and beach, and the rock walls and rocky shoreline.
This waterway hosts a complex web of life, from the creatures and vegetation living in the seabed sediment and on the rock walls and rocky shoreline, to the fish, marine mammals and birds that depend on it for food, resting, reproducing and raising offspring. This waterway also is popular with non-motorized water sports enthusiasts. It is unique among the open space areas of Alameda and deserves special recognition not only because of its multiple values to the community, but also because “water” is part of Alameda’s identity. Continue reading “Marine Conservation, Wildlife, and Recreation Area proposed for General Plan”
Makani Energy, the developer of the flying kite that produces energy, is no longer being funded by the green dollars from Google’s parent company Alphabet. The announcement from Alphabet came in February 2020. Soon thereafter, an auction sign appeared at the entrance to the hangar it was leasing at the corner of West Tower Avenue and Monarch Street at Alameda Point.
“Makani’s exit from Alphabet may have been hastened by the mixed results in test flights off the coast of Norway in September last year,” wrote Jason Deign, May 22, 2020, on Green Tech Media. “In the second flight, the 600-kilowatt Makani generator was unable to make it back onto its offshore launch platform and crashed into the sea.” Continue reading “Makani Energy lost its green”
The Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal construction and a section of the Bay Trail are completed. The trail is open, but the opening of the ferry terminal is delayed due to the impact of COVID-19 on ridership. Details below.
Ferry terminal temporarily unopened
The Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal was completed in August, but the opening is on hold until ferry ridership to San Francisco is back up post Covid. Details and a sign-up option for email updates are on a special webpage called Seaplane Shift. When service begins at the Seaplane Lagoon terminal, ferry service will continue at the Main Street Ferry Terminal, but the routes and schedules will change.
Fun facts about the new terminal: Continue reading “Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal and Bay Trail updates – Oct. 1, 2020”
The proposed ecological wetland park at Alameda Point, known as DePave Park, is another step closer to becoming a reality. On Sept. 15, 2020, four members of the city council gave thumbs up to moving forward with seeking a $2 million grant to pay for a master planning process.
“I am super-stoked about this project; it’s better than I ever imagined,” said Councilmember Jim Oddie, who has led recent efforts at City Hall to get action on this park. “I was really touched when I saw the drawing. I broke down in tears it was so beautiful.”
As currently envisioned, park construction will entail removing old pavement and softening the edge of the western side of the Seaplane Lagoon which will allow water into the park and become adaptable to sea level rise. A tidal channel through the park will connect the Seaplane Lagoon with the existing wetland on the federal property, thereby creating a combined wetland ecosystem with multiplied benefits. Continue reading “City to seek funding for wetland park at Alameda Point”