Save our Tomales Bay – 39 Leasewalk M430-17, Point Reyes Oyster Company, a 2nd look

Click the words above “Save our Tomales Bay – 39 Leasewalk M430-17…” to see this entire post.

March 2015 I shared some disturbing images of an area used (misused) by Point Reyes Oyster Company to grow oysters using a method known as rack & bag culture. Click here to see that post.

August 2015 a meeting was held at Marconi Center in Marshall where most growers and most agencies with jurisdiction over Tomales Bay were present. The owner of PROC was present as I made a presentation on the state of the messes left by mariculture practices in Tomales Bay for nearly a century. See that presentation here.

At this meeting, the owner of PROC stated that he did not like losing gear and would appreciate it if I, or anyone else that found his abandoned oyster/clam bags would simply return them to him.

Another attendee of this meeting, Tom Baty mentioned that as the leader of the Tomales Bay cleanup project for 11 years, this group, at the suggestion of the growers, would leave found bags at the boat ramp at Marconi Cove for the growers to pickup. Tom stated that no bags were ever picked up by the growers.

November 2015 I recorded images of this area yet again. It appears that no effort had been made to pick up any of the bags strewn about on the bay bottom. Watch the 6 minute video below and see for yourself.

Click on this image, then clcik again to se it in great detail.

Overhead view of rack & bag culture area on lease M-430-17.

Overhead view of rack & bag culture area on lease M-430-17.


Harsh winds and waves disperses these bags all over the bay. In the wetlands at the mouth of Walker Creek, in less than three weeks, salt grass and pickleweed grow through the mesh and almost completely cover a grow out bag, making it a permanent and invisible part of the precious ecosystem that is Tomales Bay.


This bag lay here for less than 3 weeks.

This bag lay here for less than 3 weeks.


If growers what to continue to use public waters to make a profit, they need to show greater respect for the planet. Improving their methods so they lose less gear, and recovering any lost gear themselves.

Likewise, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife needs to take a more active role in enforcing litter laws and actually monitoring the leases they administer on a regular basis.

In the future, additional coastodians near Morro Bay and Humboldt Bay will help ensure growers adhere to Best Management Practices [soon to be included in all mariculture leases]. These new coastodians will also monitor the job being done by agencies whose mission is oversight of growers profiting from public lands and waters

Each year, 8 million metric tons of plastic are dumped into the seas of our tiny planet. Each of us needs to redouble our efforts in making sure we are not adding to that number, and, that we do all we can to help others meet the same goal.

According to a recent report by The World Economic Forum, by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.

CSIRO researchers predict that plastic ingestion will affect 99 per cent of the world’s seabird species by 2050, based on current trends. Study abstract here.

Be sure to click to watch on a large screen and click the small rectangular icon in the lower right of the video window to view in full-screen mode.


Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.

Action Alert – Klamath River needs you – 3 minutes to save salmon and more

Click on the words above “Action Alert – Klamath River needs you…” to see this entire post

Help restore 300 miles of historic salmon spawning habitat!

Dear Reader,

The California Water Board wants to hear from you about how dams impact water quality in the Klamath River. The agency recently restarted a process to bring the dams into compliance with the Clean Water Act and must draft a new Environmental Impact Report.

The Water Board could recommend dam removal as the only viable alternative to restoring clean water in the Klamath River – or they could compromise, fail to uphold water quality standards, and allow PacifiCorp to operate the dams for the next 50 years. Please click here and urge the Water Board to support dam removal.

In addition to submitting written comments, please consider joining Klamath Riverkeeper staff and members at public hearings next Monday in Arcata or Tuesday in Orleans and Yreka. Click here for details.

Why this? Why Now?

Congress failed to pass legislation before a December 2015 deadline that would have implemented the multi-stakeholder Klamath Settlement Agreements for dam removal, water sharing, and restoration. While many stakeholders are frustrated with Congress, the Klamath Settlement Agreement process produced new scientific evidence showing that the dams violate the Clean Water Act and must be removed.

The good news is that dam owner PacifiCorp continues to publicly support dam removal as long as the company receives protection from liability during and after dam removal. In August 2014, PacifiCorp applied for a Clean Water Act certification from the state of California – a prerequisite to dam relicensing. This certification process allows the Water Board to set conditions for dam relicensing that leave no alternative but dam removal.

Please take this important action and spread the word today.

For a free-flowing Klamath,

All of us at Klamath Riverkeeper

Save our Tomales Bay – 38 Hog Island Oyster, TBOC efforts pay off

Click on the words above “Save our Tomales Bay – 38 Hog Island…” to see this entire post

It had been a few months since I had walked the shore from Preston Point to the Audubon land near Tom’s Point.

25 December was a perfect day to go boating on the bay to enjoy the enormous bird population and scenic landscapes & waterscapes. It would also be a good day to clean up the mess made by oyster farming. In past years I have found 40, 50, 70, once I found over 150 abandoned oyster grow out bags on shore, buried in mud in a channel and in the pickleweed at the mouth of Walker Creek.

I am pleased to report on the 25th I found only 11 bags!
NOTE: Due to time constraints, this was not as thorough a job as I usually do, so this number is likely low.

But this is an enormous improvement from the past two years and I commend the growers, especially Hog Island and TBOC for their improved practices in reducing lost equipment.

Equally good is that I found zero large black zip ties in an area I usually find from 15-30 each visit. Zero!

Below are maps showing some, not all, of my cleanup efforts in this area of Tomales Bay.
The first map is from 25 December, 2015, subsequent maps go back in time to 12 October, 2013.

The yellow push-pin denotes where I found one or more oyster or clam grow-out bags.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

Soon I hope to be able to share good news (for the environment) regarding how leases to grow shellfish in California waters are structured. In the meantime, enjoy the progress being made by local growers towards actually growing food in a sustainable manner!


G 11 Oyster Bags found 2015.12.25


F 46 Oyster Bags found 2015.03.06


E 75 Oyster Bags found 2015.02.15


D 68 Oyster Bags found 2015.01.17


C 40 Oyster Bags found 2014.03.15


B 33 Oyster Bags found 2014.01.26


A 67 Oyster Bags found 2013.10.12


The images below show three of the hundreds of tiny pools found all around Walker Creek.
Last year, these same pools would be full of abandoned grow out bags.
These plastic free pools are a sight for sore eyes.


Nature with no plastic. Yes please!

Nature with no plastic. Yes please!


Nature with no plastic. Yes please!

Nature with no plastic. Yes please!


Nature with no plastic. Yes please!

Nature with no plastic. Yes please!


Next related post may be found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.

For rent – 2 bed bungalow on Pt Reyes – Petaluma Road

Click the words above “For rent – 2 bed, bungalow…” to see this entire post

Last year a pair of bald eagles mortgaged themselves to the beak and built a sweet 1 bedroom near Tomales Bay.

Not to be outdone, some enterprising and bold neighbors put together this stunning 2-bed, overlooking McEvoy Ranch with easy access to Point Reyes – Petaluma Road.


Bed 1, overlooking McEvoy wind turbine. Nascent grapevine trellis behind bed.

Bed 1, overlooking McEvoy wind turbine. Nascent grapevine trellis behind bed.


bed 2 nestled under aromatic gum tree, ensuring a sound nights' sleep. Especially on extra windy nights. Grapevine trellis close to bed for additional country charm.

bed 2 nestled under aromatic gum tree, ensuring a sound nights’ sleep. Especially on extra windy nights. Grapevine trellis close to bed for additional country charm.


No one this plucky will ignore that spinning pole of power in the distance. With some wire appropriated from one of the fine local schools or a street signal, in no time you’ll be fully powered off the grid, at no cost to you. Just the way you like it, no cost to you, everyone else be damned.

Should the bucolic character of this gem not keep you entertained, head 1/3 mile west to watch TV on the large, vintage entertainment center some kind soul dropped in the ditch on the south side of the road.

Rent is month to month, name your price!
No cleaning or security deposit, move right in.
Every tree on or near the property is a potential bathroom.
Leave when you feel like it.
Leave anything you are tired of anywhere you like, in keeping with the ethos of this community.

Who raises children to believe this behavior is acceptable?
Quién plantea a los niños a creer que este comportamiento es aceptable?
Quem levanta as crianças a acreditar que este comportamento é aceitável?
Qui soulève les enfants à croire que ce comportement est acceptable?
Người nuôi trẻ em để tin rằng hành vi này là chấp nhận được?

This is no way to respect mother earth.
Esto no es una forma de respetar la madre tierra.
Isto não é maneira de respeitar a Mãe Terra.
Ceci est impossible de respecter la terre mère.
Điều này là không có cách nào để tôn trọng đất mẹ.

I have a dream

Click the words above “I have a dream” to see this entire post.

Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech August 28 1963

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?”

We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

We can never be satisfied as long as our chlidren are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.”

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exhalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning, “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”


I too, have a dream.

The two most important people I've ever known.

The two most important people I’ve ever known.

Save our Tomales Bay – 37 Tomales Bay Oyster Company pitches in to clean up the bay

Click on the words above “Save our Tomales Bay – 37 Tomales Bay Oyster Company pitches in…” to see this entire post.

Last month the crew over at TBOC took their skiffs around the bay more than once and recovered a large amount of garbage from the shore. Some of these items like the refrigerator and street signs caught my eye long ago. But with my small kayak, there is no way for me to haul them out.

Much thanks to TBOC for patrolling the shore of this precious bay and making a big difference.

All images © TBOC. As always, click on an image to see a larger version.


water heater, car hood duck hunter boat, plastic of all sorts, street signs - all picked up by TBOC workers Dec. 2015.

water heater, car hood duck hunter boat, plastic of all sorts, street signs – all picked up by TBOC workers Dec. 2015.


water heater, car hood duck hunter boat, plastic of all sorts, street signs - all picked up by TBOC workers Dec. 2015.

water heater, car hood duck hunter boat, plastic of all sorts, street signs – all picked up by TBOC workers Dec. 2015.


tires, foam football, plastic of all sorts - all picked up by TBOC workers Dec. 2015.

tires, foam football, plastic of all sorts – all picked up by TBOC workers Dec. 2015.


Tractor tire, lost oyster gear - all picked up by TBOC workers Dec. 2015.

Tractor tire, lost oyster gear – all picked up by TBOC workers Dec. 2015.


Abandoned refrigerator picked up by TBOC workers Dec. 2015

Abandoned refrigerator picked up by TBOC workers Dec. 2015


Tod and a sign of the times - picked up by TBOC workers Dec. 2015

Tod and a sign of the times – picked up by TBOC workers Dec. 2015


Next related post may be found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.

Jenner by the sea – Same as it ever was

Click the words above “Jenner by the sea – Same as it ever was” to see this entire post.

Once in a lifetime may we all see such beauty as Drakes Estero at dusk, surrounded by hundreds of godwits. Serenaded by a single loon. In this respect my life is complete.

On the first day of 2015 I was blessed with the beauty of Drakes Estero sans mariculture.

1 January, 2015 - Black Turnstones over Drakes Estero. ©Richard James

1 January, 2015 – Black Turnstones over Drakes Estero. ©Richard James

On the last day of 2015, I had the company of Dan Gurney, fellow boater and nature aficionado as we toured the estuary at the mouth of the Russian River.

This is a common venue for Dan and my first trip to these calm waters.

We put in at the boat ramp near the visitor center and made our way towards the mouth, careful not to venture out to the sea. Our boats and skills not suited for the crashing waves.

Besides enjoying the birds, seals and sounds, our destination was the beach north of the mouth, covered with driftwood and countless pieces of plastic, bottles and other mindless items. Inquisitive harbor seals swam close to us, noses in the air, inspecting us for food or threat, then silently sliding back beneath the cloak of the sea-surface.

We beach our boats, bags in hand we set off to the north, ready to return the scene to a more fitting state, free from out trash. Though we would later learn we had not pulled our boats far enough out of the rising waters.

Dan and I had previously met 2-3 times on Tomales Bay, he with a larger group of boaters, and I out walking the shores, filling my boat with trash, oyster farming debris and derelict drifting duck decoys. This was the first time he and I had boated and walked the shore, intent on cleaning up the place.

Instead of 10-15 minutes and back in the boat to paddle up to Penny Island for a bite to eat, we spent the next 90 minutes gathering foam bits, tennis balls, plastic and glass beverage containers and this lone steelhead.

A large meal, unnoticed by gulls, vultures and eagles. The all white gums of this fish told me it is a steelhead, chinook are all black, coho are black & white.

A large meal, unnoticed by gulls, vultures and eagles. The all white gums of this fish told me it is a steelhead, chinook gums are all black, coho gums black & white.

Perhaps the sand coating had sealed in the scent sufficiently to hide this meal from being discovered. I carried it out to the surf and the gulls and vultures quickly took notice.

Dan was a bit worried, as we had left our boats unattended for quite a while (and had not secured them very well either)

After piling up trash into caches for retrieval later, we hustled back to find our boats swirling in an eddy, off-shore, being herded by Dan’s good friend Bob. Bob boats here nearly every day and knows the land, as well as the boats. He was kind enough to push them to shore where we secured them and spent a while talking about all manner of seaside topics.

After returning to our caches to recover them, lashing everything (except one large truck tire we left up high for another caring individual to pack out), we carefully made our way to Penny Island for a late lunch.

Dan was nice enough to share his sandwich, for I had only arrived with drinks and pastries from Tomales Bakery. We devoured our meal as buffleheads and mergansers floated by.

Once the sun had dipped behind the ridge, the temp dropped and my wet wetsuit became downright chilly. (the day started out quite chilly, the drive up from Inverness was on ice-coated roads. My usual put-in along Walker Creek was occupied by Cheda’s tow truck hoisting the Hog Island Oyster delivery van from the creek, a sheepish driver pacing the shoulder)

Dan and I quickly paddled to the boat ramp to disgorge our discoveries and load boats back on to cars for the drive back.


See below what washes down the Russian River on a daily basis.


Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…

Water dissolving…and water removing
There is water at the bottom of the ocean
Carry the water at the bottom of the ocean
Remove the water at the bottom of the ocean!

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones/there is water underground.

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.




56 tennis balls on second ever ikea bag. This one in great shape, sure to help haul hundreds of pounds of trash off many beaches.


56 shoes, soles or footbeds


Second syringe of the litter season.


First ever unicorn.

IMG_0982 IMG_0983 IMG_0986 IMG_0988 IMG_0989 IMG_0990 IMG_0991



Save our planet – Ho ho ho, Nestlé’s got to go!

Here is another post from the people at “The story of stuff”. They are doing a great job and I want to share this with all of you.

Please have a read then take action!


This is an exciting time for The Story of Stuff Project. Last year, after nearly half a million people worldwide signed our petition calling on Nestlé to stop privatizing public water, we knew it was time to turn this Community’s passion into action. Since then we’ve seen these efforts pay off in a big way.

Thanks to support from Story of Stuff Community members like you, we made a film and filed a lawsuit to stop Nestlé from illegally pumping water from California’s drought-scarred San Bernardino National Forest. In doing so we grabbed worldwide news headlines and the attention of Nestlé Waters’ CEO Tim Brown, who reached out to our Campaigns Director to request a meeting.

In the weeks after we launched our campaign in San Bernardino, we heard from communities across North America that are fighting their own battles against Nestle’s water privatization agenda. From California, Oregon, Maine and Pennsylvania to British Colombia and Ontario, one thing has become crystal clear: these brave folks on the front lines of efforts to protect our public water need our support to hold Nestlé accountable.

Will you help us make a movie about the communities worldwide fighting Nestlé, so that their stories go viral until Nestle cleans up its act?

By talking to concerned citizens all over the world, we’ve learned a lot about how Nestlé operates. The company has interfered with local politics, aggressively tried to elect Nestlé friendly officials to change zoning laws, and even attempted to bribe townships with “community development funds” and donations of…yup, bottled water!

But while the communities fighting Nestlé on the ground are all too familiar with these tactics, there is a world full of Nestlé consumers who are unaware they’re supporting these bad practices. By telling this story, we can bring unprecedented visibility to these local struggles, and harness the power of public opinion — and our Community — to curb Nestlé’s unethical business practices.

We’ve already been in touch with two communities whose stories we think are worth telling:

Story 1: In Cascade Locks, Oregon, Nestlé has proposed to bottle over 100 million gallons of water per year from Oxbow Springs, a publicly owned water source in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Local activists and tribespeople have united together to defend this water, on which the region’s fishing, tourism and farming industries rely. These activists not only want to stop Nestlé from drawing water in the Columbia River Basin for bottling and sale, but to pass a law to stop all future water exports from their beautiful state, creating an example for people worldwide.

Story 2: In Kunkletown, Pennsylvania, dozens of local residents are fighting Nestlé’s attempt to draw hundreds of thousands of gallons of water daily from a well in the town for its Deer Park bottled water brand, a proposal they fear will permanently alter the quality of life. According to these residents, zoning laws have been changed to accommodate Nestlé without the proper degree of public oversight or comment. These residents want to defend their democracy against Nestlé’s interference, and we want to help.

Community members are excited to work with us on this project: “I’m thrilled that The Story of Stuff Project wants to make a film about our experience in Oregon,” says Aurora with the Local Water Alliance in Oregon, “The increased exposure from the film can help us win against Nestlé, and I hope that we can in turn show communities around the world how they can defend their local resources.”

Will you chip in to help give larger visibility to the communities fighting Nestlé, so that our movies result in real change in these communities and worldwide?

Thanks to the support of our Community members, we’ve accomplished great things this year. We’ve made two new movies that have inspired Changemakers to action. We’ve banned polluting plastic microbeads in California, and our national legislation is on the way to winning. We’ve also made real strides in holding Nestlé accountable for bottling water in National Forests during California’s drought, by launching a lawsuit with our partners from Courage Campaign and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Now with your help, we can make the holidays in the communities fighting Nestlé a little brighter by showing them that people around the world care about their story. With our support they can win in the fight to protect their public water against Nestlé, and inspire more people to get involved worldwide.

Whether it’s protecting watersheds in the drought stricken North American West, or working to protect small towns from corporate meddling, we’re building power and solidarity so that all communities fighting Nestlé’s water grab speak with one voice against corporate greed. By telling these important stories, we can create a movement like no other.

Are you in?

Yes, I’ll pledge $10

Yes, I’ll pledge $25

Yes, I’ll pledge $50

Yes, I’ll pledge $100

Yes, I will pledge another amount

Thank you for all you do!
Michael O’Heaney
Executive Director
The Story of Stuff Project

Save our Planet – Tell Nestlé Waters’ CEO to stop violating public laws

Story of Stuff Project

Nestlé’s CEO says he cares what Story of Stuff Community members think.
Let’s tell him loud and clear: stop violating public laws to privatize our water!


Dear Reader,

When we announced that we were suing to stop Nestle from taking water in California’s San Bernardino National Forest during the drought, even Time Magazine couldn’t wait to get its hands on the story.

Now the US Forest Service’s deadline to respond to our lawsuit is less than two weeks away, and Nestlé is getting nervous. Initially, the CEO of Nestlé Waters North America, Tim Brown, was unfazed by public criticism of his California operations. Last summer, when a journalist asked Brown if he would stop bottling water during California’s record-breaking drought, he replied that he would increase it if he could. But outcry from The Story of Stuff Project’s global community of over one million members has begun to change his tune.

Following our petition calling on Nestlé to cease taking water from public lands altogether, Nestlé’s CEO responded to us directly:

“The feedback and constructive criticism that Nestlé gets from groups like Story of Stuff is important, even when we disagree. In fact, we have used input like this on many occasions globally to adapt our operations… One thing I would appreciate is some perspective on how we might do it better in the eyes of your constituents.”

Nestlé hoped to schedule a private meeting with our staff. But the truth is that the problems in San Bernardino are part of a larger pattern of Nestlé’s repeated disregard for public laws and resources. To ensure Nestlé receives the message that it’s time to change the way it does business everywhere, we think that Nestlé’s CEO deserves to hear from the public directly.

Will you join us in e-mailing Nestlé Waters North American CEO Tim Brown to demand accountability today?

Our demands for Nestle are simple:

  • Stop bottling water from the San Bernardino National Forest and other protected lands
  • Withdraw from all sites where communities are protesting the privatization of their water, including Cascade Locks OR, Kunkletown PA, Mt. Shasta, CA, Fryeburg, ME, and Vancouver, BC
  • Pay to cleanup the waste generated by polluting plastic products. Stop pushing the cost of cleanup onto taxpayers.

The water that Nestlé has taken from the San Bernardino National Forest since its permit expired is estimated at over 1,838,451,342 gallons. This water would cost a regular California citizen millions of dollars. Yet Nestlé has paid the government a fraction of that cost to bottle the public’s resources. The lawsuit filed by The Story of Stuff Project, Center for Biological Diversity and Courage Campaign has gotten Nestle’s attention in California, but public action is what will result in lasting, global change.

Join us now in responding to Nestlé CEO’s request for input, by sending him an e-mail explaining why you think water should be a public resource, NOT a source for private profits.

Thank you for all you do!
Emma Cape, Campaigns Manager, on behalf of The Story of Stuff team

Save our Tomales Bay – 36 Please write Calif. Fish & Game Commission NOW

Oyster farming in Tomales Bay has been taking place for well over one hundred years. The nature of farming oysters means it is often done in hard to get to places, where common citizens seldom venture. During this lengthy time, a variety of growers with varying levels of respect for the environment, and poor to no oversight by the agencies tasked with protecting the coastal waters have left a legacy of trash throughout Tomales Bay that few people know is out there. Look here to see the many messes I speak of.

In the coming months, a number of oyster growing leases are up for renewal. It is critical that these leases, written decades ago, be updated to include Best Management Practices and that the loopholes in cleanup escrow accounts be closed so that each lease is clear on how Tomales Bay is to be cared for and the escrow funds can and will be used if need be for cleanup as intended.


These requests are not critical of Hog Island Oyster growing practices (whose lease is up for renewal at the 9-10 December CFGC meeting) and are intended as improvements to all leases for all growers. Hog Island is an exceptional grower that works hard to minimize lost gear and reduce the negative impacts of oyster growing on Tomales Bay. We want ALL growers held to the same improved standards and request that all future leases and lease renewals include the following language. Tomales Bay deserves improved protection from all oyster growers.


We also want the Fish & Game Commission and Department of Fish & Wildlife to use their role as “landlord” and “law enforcer” more effectively. Updating the lease language is a good first step and shows they intend to represent the best interests of the people of California. If California is to have one agency that both promotes oyster farming, as well as protects nature from oyster farming, that agency needs to take more seriously the protection part of their mission.


Lease M-430-15 held by Hog Island Oyster Company is up for renewal at the California Fish & Game Commission (CFGC) meeting in San Diego on 9-10 December.


Please write the Executive Director of the CFGC and request that all new leases include the Best Management Practices described here and that loopholes concerning the cleanup escrow account be closed.



Please write this individual now! He needs to hear from you before these meetings.

Mr. Sonke Mastrup
Executive Director
California Fish and Game Commission
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
phone 916-653-4899


Director Mastrup, please include the following Best Management practices in all new leases, sub-lease agreements and lease renewals.

Best Management Practices Required of Tomales Bay Oyster Farmers


  1. Each grower must use uniquely identifiable gear
    Collected abandoned gear must have an easily known owner so that habitual litterers may be dealt with individually. To identify gear, growers must use unique bag colors and unique copper wire colors.


  1. Have 2 staff positions whose sole role is litter recovery
    One person that does nothing but litter patrol and cleanup. A second rotating position so that all employees see the issues and learn to reduce litter during daily operations.


  1. Growers must continually strive to improve gear design to reduce lost gear
    Conduct yearly meetings with third party monitor(s) to learn what is working, what is not.


  1. Replace single-use items such as litter-making zip-ties with reusable items such as stainless halibut clips
    If copper wire is used, each grower has assigned colors. Growers will recover all copper wire once bags are collected at harvest.


  1. Prohibit the use of plastic wrapped blue foam and other easily degradable floats
    Floats must be durable and resistant to pecking by birds. Floats must be securely attached to the oyster bag.


  1. Prohibit the current practice of tossing out loose bags at high tide
    All bags must be securely connected in a string to prevent drifting and loss during the time between mass deployment and being tied to anchor lines.


  1. Prohibit leaving of tools and materials leases, inter-tidal areas, and all nearby areas.
  2. Growers must remove all uninstalled PVC pipes, gloves, zip-ties, copper wire, ropes, hay hooks, bags and water bottles from lease areas each day.


  1. If a growing idea does not work, remove it promptly within 30 days.
    Abandoned pilings, posts, PVC, machinery and other debris left in and around Tomales Bay are no longer allowed.


  1. At a minimum, growers must ensure monthly patrols of lease areas and shoreline for lost gear
    Patrols will be increased to twice a month during high winds or storm events. Effective patrols must include walking shorelines and wetlands, and kayaks or other craft should be used for hard-to-reach areas to avoid damaging eelgrass with propellers.



Director Mastrup, please have third party, objective cleanup estiamtes done to determine the actual cleanup cost of all infrastructure used by oyster growers in ALL growing areas of California (Tomales Bay, Morro Bay, Humboldt Bay etc.). The Commission has made promises to address this since April, yet nothing has been communicated to interested parties on any progress in this very important matter.



Tomales Bay deserves strong protection so that future generations can enjoy this jewel.

Tomales Bay deserves strong protection so that future generations can enjoy this jewel.




Next related post may be found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.