Saving the Bay
Harbor of Harbors (1849-1906) (#102)
Series Description: 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. 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.
In the first episode, photo-realistic animation illustrates the formation of the Bay following the last Ice Age. This hour introduces the first inhabitants along the Bay's shores, including Native Peoples along with flora and fauna, and continues through European exploration and settlement, including Spanish, Russian and ultimately, American influences that dramatically altered the region. [56 minutes]
The second hour follows San Francisco's "rapid monstrous maturity" into a major metropolis following the California Gold Rush (1849-1906) . Establishing the infrastructure to support the instant city meant radical change for San Francisco Bay. By the century's end, San Francisco Bay was the center of a broad economic empire on the Pacific. [56 minutes]
The third hour begins with the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, the rise of California's water re-distribution projects and the Bay's transformation into the world's greatest shipbuilding center by the close of World War II. [56 minutes]
In the final episode, the very survival of the Bay is threatened by the postwar boom and the issue becomes how best to balance the competing demands of a major urban center set amidst an environmentally significant landscape. [56 minutes]