Clear Waters, Cloudy Future For California Wetlands

Oil continues to cloud Gulf Coast waters, but on the other side of the country, scientists are studying a body of water with the opposite problem. San Francisco Bay is becoming clearer. And clearer water is not always good news.

Underneath the dock on Alcatraz Island, U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist David Schoellhamer is collecting samples. “What we’re measuring here is suspended sediment,” he says. He holds up a bottle of cloudy water that he just collected. “Think of it as the microscopic rocks that are floating in the water.”

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