Saving the Bay is the first television program to tell the full story of San Francisco Bay, the most important estuary on the Pacific Coast of the Americas and the second largest estuary on the North American continent after Chesapeake Bay. Narrated by Robert Redford and shot in HDTV, Saving the Bay is comprised of four one-hour episodes tracing the Bay's history from before the last Ice Age through today and covers the entire northern California watershed from the Sierra Nevada to the Farallones. The series also highlights the story of three women who rallied an entire region to save San Francisco Bay from becoming little more than a river.
The website www.savingthebay.org includes a greeting from Redford, video clips, background on the project and a continuous live-feed calendar of Bay related events. The extensive Education section initially includes 20 downloadable lesson plans for 4th through 12th grades conformed to California state standards with 26 accompanying video segments and interactive maps.
Saving the Bay is scheduled to be broadcast nationally in prime time on PBS starting Wednesday April 20th at 10pm after NOVA to coincide with Earth Week and on the next three successive Wednesdays continuing through May 11th.
When the series premiered locally on KQED/San Francisco in October 2009, it had the single highest ratings of any PBS program in the nation the evening of its initial broadcast, with the audience increasing every 15 minutes until the end. Its first run on KQED's sister station KTEH/Silicon Valley more than doubled their normal ratings. The series has since been repeated locally and is in regular rotation as a pledge drive program for Bay Area public TV and radio stations. Saving the Bay also received four regional Emmy awards including Best Documentary in May, 2010.