Save our Tomales Bay – part 18.5, Walker Creek mess, much progress

Click the words “Save our Tomales Bay…..” above to see this entire post.

On 22 March I once again visited the oyster lease area at the mouth of Walker Creek in Tomales Bay.

I am pleased to report that much work has taken place and the amount of debris is significantly less. There are still many large diameter PVC pipes of unknown length in the channel, as well as shell-filled oyster bags to recover, though it seems these too will be removed.

This short video will show you the status of this structure as of 22 March, 2015.

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Here is a view of the structure as I am drifting down Walker Creek channel.

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What follows are some stills of the area that is being returned to a natural state.

As always, click on an image to see it larger.

Area of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

Area of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

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mostly submerged PVC tubes and shell-filled growout bags at area of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

mostly submerged PVC tubes and shell-filled growout bags at area of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

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pile of PVC tubes at area of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

pile of PVC tubes at area of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

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South end of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

South end of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

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Previous related post may be found here.

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

Birds of Tomales Bay – The eagle(s) have landed

Click the words above to see this entire post (you won’t be disappointed)

Venturing out on Tomales Bay in a boat is a magical thing.

If one sets out early, before the death-wish motorcyclists race their way up and down route 1, and there are no planes overhead, all I hear are birds, waves and wind. With an occasional bugling elk depending on where I am and what time of year it is.

Recently I witnessed an amazing thing.

From first contact with each other, to separation, twenty seconds elapsed.

Seventy-nine images were recorded during this time period.

Below are ten I selected for your viewing pleasure.

They are a bit soft, for which I apologize. I was hand-holding a 400mm lens, in a boat, on the water. And it unfolded rather quick.

Enjoy. I did.

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

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

Save our Tomales Bay – part 18.4, Walker Creek mess, progress continues

Click the words “Save our Tomales Bay…..” above to see this entire post.

Yesterday (14 March) I once again visited the oyster lease area at the mouth of Walker Creek in Tomales Bay.

This short video will show you the status of this structure as of 14 March, 2015.

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Here is another view from my boat as I drifted by it, Pierce Point Ranch is seen in the background along with Pierce Point.

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As always, click an image to see a larger version

TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek - Tomales Bay

TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek – Tomales Bay

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TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek - Tomales Bay

TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek – Tomales Bay

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TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek - Tomales Bay

TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek – Tomales Bay

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TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek - Tomales Bay

TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek – Tomales Bay

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PVC tubes from TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek - Tomales Bay

PVC tubes from TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek – Tomales Bay

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Previous related post may be found here.

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

Save our Tomales Bay – part 19, Abandoned oyster bags, same as it ever was

Click the words “Save our Tomales Bay…..” above to see this entire post.

Last week, in addition to monitoring the progress of the removal of the illegal dike along Walker Creek as it enters Tomales Bay, I engaged in a regular activity when boating on Tomales Bay, picking up abandoned oyster grow-out bags.

This day I found nearly fifty. The map below shows where I found the bags this day, as well as where I left them piled up (see red arrows).

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coastodian cleanup map from 2015.03.06

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A map showing the location of the bags where found, as well as where I stacked them so that the growers might come out and recover them will be posted here on Friday [I neglected to upload it along with the images of the trash].

The images that follow show that many of these bags have been there for weeks, or months. One sees pickleweed or salt grass growing through the bag, holding it tightly in place, where, if it were not for me to yank it out of the vegetation, it would likely become part of the environment forever.

This speaks to the urgent need of the growers to do weekly patrols of their leases and a large area near the leases to recover the scores and scores of bags that go missing each week.

The banner image shows the many pieces of plastic coated wire carelessly dropped to the mud after serving the needs of the short-sighted oyster farmer. Note that the plastic insulation has begun disintegrating. This plastic will eventually enter the food chain of the very oysters being raised.

You can see a larger version of the wire image below. These wires were collected in less than 15 minutes as I walked along two rows of rusting iron racks that once held oysters in place to feed on the algae. These two rows were a fraction of the total rows of racks. So what you see is a tiny fraction of the plastic coated copper wire dropped as so much litter. These racks are located in the area leased by Point Reyes Oyster Company, lease M-430-17.

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

long ago abandoned grow-out bag

long ago abandoned grow-out bag

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bundle of 17 bags abandoned north of Walker Cr., east of Preston Point

bundle of 17 bags abandoned north of Walker Cr., east of Preston Point

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bundle of 17 bags abandoned north of Walker Cr., east of Preston Point

bundle of 17 bags abandoned north of Walker Cr., east of Preston Point

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Stanway rack board, I find these all over Tomales Bay, used primarily by Hog Island Oysters

Stanway rack board, I find these all over Tomales Bay, used primarily by Hog Island Oysters

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Abandoned 25" TV tube, full of lead

Abandoned 25″ TV tube, full of lead

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TV inner workings

TV inner workings

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TV inner workings

TV inner workings

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deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

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deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

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deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

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deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

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deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

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This bundle of Tomales Bay Oyster Company bags was found a 1/2 mile up Walker Creek buried in the mud mid-channel, east of the Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease

This bundle of Tomales Bay Oyster Company bags was found a 1/2 mile up Walker Creek buried in the mud mid-channel, east of the Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease

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 Tomales Bay Oyster Company workers leave these hay hooks all over the place in Tomales Bay, I find them in the mud, rusted in half, or whole like this one

Tomales Bay Oyster Company workers leave these hay hooks all over the place in Tomales Bay, I find them in the mud, rusted in half, or whole like this one

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PVC pipe, grow-out bag and rope collected on or near the Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease

PVC pipe, grow-out bag and rope collected on or near the Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease

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PVC pipe, grow-out bag and rope collected on or near the Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease

PVC pipe, grow-out bag and rope collected on or near the Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease

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PVC pipes, nearly buried in the mud. The TBOC leases have these pipes in varying states of buried-ness ALL OVER their leases.

PVC pipes, nearly buried in the mud. The TBOC leases have these pipes in varying states of buried-ness ALL OVER their leases.

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Abandoned bag, buried in the mud. There are likely thousands of these buried beneath the mud surface

Abandoned bag, buried in the mud. There are likely thousands of these buried beneath the mud surface

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Abandoned bag, buried in the mud. There are likely thousands of these buried beneath the mud surface

Abandoned bag, buried in the mud. There are likely thousands of these buried beneath the mud surface

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Previous related post may be found here.

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

Save our Tomales Bay – part 18.3, Walker Creek mess, some progress

Click the words “Save our Tomales Bay…..” above to see this entire post.

Yesterday (6 March) I once again visited the oyster lease area at the mouth of Walker Creek in Tomales Bay.

Prior to reaching the site of an unpermitted structure that has been altering the natural flow of Walker Creek for years, I was blessed with the sight of hundreds of marbled godwits, seasoned with some willets and sanderlings.

There is evidence of progress in the cleanup, which is good.

There is also evidence that the scope of this egregious misuse of the public commons is greater than even I imagined.

The number of plastic grow-out bags used to form a channel moving dike is uncountable. The bags and PVC pipe used to anchor them go on forever into the channel they have harassed for years.

Let’s hope that Tomales Bay Oyster Company keeps at it and quickly removes this pox on an industry whose welcome is teetering on the edge of worn out in some quarters.

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

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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.

Presenting salvage vessel Deep Respect

Click on the words above “Presenting salvage vessel Deep Respect” to see this entire post.

I am proud to announce the acquisition of a new salvage vessel.

With much thanks and gratitude to those who have donated to help me with my coastal cleanup work (see link above), along with some funds earned from my work cleaning Tomales Bay, I acquired a sleek, light and fast canak from the kind folks at California Canoe & Kayak.

The owner of CCK purchased this boat with the intention of running The Green River back in 2011. Well, life happened in other ways and that trip has not yet happened, though I am sure it soon will. So he put the Canak by Wenonah Canoes up for sale. After one morning paddling her in the Oakland Estuary, I knew she’d be a great boat for recovering the never ending supply of garbage found in Tomales Bay. While testing her out I picked up a large amount trash, no surprise that, eh? I may find a lot of trash in Tomales Bay, but let me tell you, The Oakland Estuary far surpasses in breadth and nastiness.

This boat is light enough to carry on one shoulder. The open deck allows me to fill it with abandoned oyster grow out bags, bits of rope, zip-ties, copper wire, blue foam bits, gloves, water bottles etc. Last weekend I packed 23 bags in her with room to spare. I plan to make deck attachments to allow for easy stacking of oyster grow out bags, as there are hundreds, if not thousands of abandoned bags waiting to be recovered from the bottom and shores of Tomales Bay.

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

And remember, if you want to directly help keep the coast of California clean, click that “Donate” link up above. Your generous donation will be put to work undoing the damage we humans continue to inflict on our only home, earth.

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Save our Tomales Bay – part 18.2, Walker Creek mess, DEconstruction

Click the words “Save our Tomales Bay…..” above to see this entire post.

Yesterday (28 Feb) I once again visited the oyster lease area at the mouth of Walker Creek in Tomales Bay.

For a number of years, one of the five growers in Tomales Bay (Tomales Bay Oyster Company), has been building unpermitted structures with the aim of deflecting the flow of Walker Creek (and the e. coli-laden mud) away from the area of public lands they lease for the purpose of growing oysters. It is my understanding the neighboring leaseholders have not been too happy about this activity. If mother-earth could speak with a human voice, I wonder what she would say?

NOAA issued a permit so that TBOC could legally deconstruct what I would call the most egregious of these structures I have seen with my very own eyes.

This is the state of the “dike” on 28 February, 2015 240 PM

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What follows are still images of the same dike area.

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

©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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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.

Roadside birth of a calf

Two weeks ago I drove to Bodega to deliver a photographic print purchased as a gift.

The image she selected was a cow above the tall cliffs just north of Jenner.

On my way back, I spied a cow alongside route 1 with a placenta hanging out her backside.

What follows are a fraction of the amazing images I recorded as she gave birth to one huge calf.

The rancher said it was her first calf, a very large female, born to a large two-year old cow.

Less than fifteen minutes after being flung from her mothers’ uterus, this tiny cow struggled on noodle-wet legs to stand for the first time. Her mother licking her from head to toe during the entire process.

Click an image to see a larger version.

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Save our Tomales Bay – part 18.1, Walker Creek mess, construction

Click the words “Save our Tomales Bay…..” above to see this entire post.

Yesterday I paid a visit to the mouth of Walker Creek where it enters Tomales Bay.

There are 4 growers that extract profits in the form of oysters in this area.

Storms regularly rip their equipment out and paint it all over Tomales Bay, and the entire ocean.

These bags become lodged in the mud and pickleweed and are buried, to be ground into plastic bits forever.

The farmers must walk these areas every month, if not more often, to ensure the mess they make gets cleaned up before being buried in the mud and pickleweed.

The regulating agencies must exercise their authority and ensure that laws are being observed, fining those that continue to break the laws enacted to protect the environment.


This post will be updated, so come back to see more of the damage caused to our fragile planet by oyster farming.

Volume warning, turn your sound down

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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.

Plastic China – Film screening and presentation by filmmaker Wang Jiuliang, 20 February, UC Berkeley

My Friend Wang Jiuliang is screening his documentary at the Doe Library on UC Berkeley Campus next Friday the 20th.

I hope to see you all there!

Plastic China.map
Click map for larger image to see where library is, where to park.

Below is what he sent me. All images are his, ©Wang Jiuliang.

February 20, 4-6p.m. ︱ 180 Doe Memorial Library, UC Berkeley

PLASTIC CHINA(Documentary/26 minutes/English subtitles)

Film screening and presentation by the filmmaker

Speaker/performer: Wang Jiuliang, independent filmmaker.

Sponsor: Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

We live in a spotless, clean environment. The waste that we produce each day quickly disappears from our eyesight. But once the waste disappears from our eyesight, where does it go? Is it recycled properly as we imagine?

PLASTIC CHINA is a story about how plastic waste from all around the world, including the United States , ends up in China . It is because of this plastic waste that water is no longer clean, air is no longer fresh, and food is no longer safe in many areas in China . People living in these polluted areas experience elevated rates of disease and mortality. This film reveals the shocking degree to which we all play a part in this problem. Nowadays, the connections among people around the world is ever closer, and China is in fact not that far from home.

Click images to see a larger version

PLASTIC CHINA 01


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