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Saving The Bay: Miracle Workers (1906 - 1959)

Airs Monday, August 29, 2011 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: The San Francisco Ferry Building opened in 1898 and survived both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes.

Narrated by Robert Redford, this award-winning documentary explores one of America's greatest natural resources – San Francisco Bay. Shot in high definition, "Saving The Bay" consists of four one-hour episodes focusing on the geological, cultural, and developmental history of San Francisco Bay and the larger northern California watershed, from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Farallon Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

The series explores the Bay’s evolution, how it was almost lost to development, and plans for the future, including wetland restoration, increased public access, and balancing the often competing needs of a fragile ecosystem that is the centerpiece of a major urban area.

The founders of the Save San Francisco Bay Association, (L to R) Esther Gulick, Sylvia McLaughlin, and Catherine Kerr.
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Above: The founders of the Save San Francisco Bay Association, (L to R) Esther Gulick, Sylvia McLaughlin, and Catherine Kerr.

The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge opened for traffic on November 12, 1936, six months before the Golden Gate Bridge.
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Above: The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge opened for traffic on November 12, 1936, six months before the Golden Gate Bridge.

"Saving The Bay" also tells the story of three women who rallied an entire region to save San Francisco Bay from becoming little more than a river, an inspirational example of how ordinary citizens can have an impact on protecting and enhancing our natural environment.

Episode Three: "Miracle Workers (1906 - 1959)" - The third hour of the series begins with The Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, which accelerated the dispersion of people and industry to the East Bay region. Advances in engineering gave rise to the first of California’s massive water re-distribution projects, paralleling the era of great bridge building. World War II saw the Bay transformed into the greatest shipbuilding center the world had ever known.

"Saving The Bay" is on Facebook.

UP Next: Episode Four: "Save The Bay! (1960 — Present)" will air on Tuesday, August 30 at 11 p.m.

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Saving The Bay: The Greatest Shipbuilding Center in the World

Above: The San Francisco Bay Area played a critical role in World War II as the "greatest shipbuilding center in the world." The Henry Kaiser shipyard had a workforce that consisted of about 25% women, and turned out ships at an unprecedented rate. For more information, go to: http://education.savingthebay.org/the-greatest-shipbuilding-center-in-the-world/

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Saving The Bay: The Reber Plan: A Big Idea for San Francisco Bay

Above: In the years after World War II, John Reber proposed a plan of dams, transportation corridors, and military bases that would have changed the Bay forever by preventing freshwater from flowing into it. A working scale model of the estuary showed that these changes would have destroyed the Bay, and the plan was ultimately rejected. For more information, go to: http://education.savingthebay.org/the-reber-plan-a-big-idea-for-san-francisco-bay/

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Video Excerpt: Saving The Bay

Above: Highlights from the PBS four-part series "Saving The Bay" narrated by Robert Redford. This series charts the history and progress in restoring and protecting the San Francisco Bay estuary.