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POSTED January 31, 2013 8:02 p.m.

SF BAY NAMED AN 'WETLAND OF IMPORTANCE: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Bay estuary has been added to a list of protected wetlands under a 1971 international treaty among 163 countries meant to limit damaging development along ecologically important waterways.

Ramsar Convention officials on Friday announced the U.S. government had added the bay as the nation's 35th "wetland of importance" under the treaty.

The designation means the country is committed to not promoting projects that alter designated ecosystems.

The San Francisco Bay estuary is the largest on the U.S. Pacific coast, and comprises 77-percent of California's remaining wetland areas. It is home to more than 1,000 animal species.

Melissa Pitkin, spokeswoman for PRBO Conservation Science, said decades of research informed this designation, and while it doesn't come with new regulations, it helps bolster local conservation efforts through international pressure.

MONITOR: OAKLAND PD STILL REGRESSING ON REFORMS: OAKLAND . (AP) — A federal court monitor says that the Oakland police department's decade-old reform effort continues to backslide.

Robert Warshaw said in a report released Thursday that the department for the second straight quarter is declining in terms of reforming, especially when it comes to investigating complaints against the department and reporting the misconduct of fellow officers.

Warshaw has been monitoring the reforms as part of a settlement stemming from a police brutality lawsuit in 2003. The reforms were to have been completed five years ago, but Warsaw says the department is still not in full compliance with 11 tasks — two more than the last quarter.

City officials said Thursday they "respectfully disagree" with some off Warshaw's findings as they await a judge's decision on a soon-to-be hired compliance director to make sure they complete the reforms.

DOG MISSING FOR YEARS REUNITED WITH PALO ALTO OWNERS: PALO ALTO . (AP) — A San Francisco Bay area family has been reunited with its dog more than four years after he went missing.

Oreo — a black and white Boston terrier — was spotted on Tuesday near a public storage facility in Daly City and taken to the Peninsula Humane Society's San Mateo shelter.

A microchip planted under his skin helped track down his owners.

Brandon Springer told the newspaper Oreo belonged to his grandmother, who died last May. The dog had escaped from a yard when a gate was left open four and a half years ago, and the family thought it was gone for good.

Springer says Oreo was suffering from a dislocated hip and broken kneecap. But he was otherwise disease free, indicating he had been cared for.


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