Respect Bodega Bay – washing boats and growing shellfish at Spud Point Marina

Click the words above “Respect Bodega Bay – growing shellfish at Spud Point Marina???” to see this entire post.

California has between 840 and 3,400 miles of coastline, depending on how you calculate it.

Point Reyes Seashore and Tomales Bay keep me plenty busy with places to remove the trash we humans cover the planet with.

Crab gear makes up a large percentage of what I find on the beaches of Point Reyes. Based on the orange tags attached to the crab pots, it is easy to determine the ports of call for the boats losing the gear I find all over our local beaches.

Bodega Bay, San Francisco and Half Moon Bay are the top three ports in this area.

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Commercial crab trap tags. Recognize anyone you know? I do.

Commercial crab trap tags. Recognize anyone you know? I do.

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The past couple of years I’ve been visiting Spud Point and Porto Bodega Marinas within Bodega Bay, to have a look around and see what I can learn about the businesses that leave such a mess on our beaches.

Last year I witnessed boats being sanded with electric sanders as they sat in the water. No effort whatsoever being made to contain the paint and wood dust dropping into the water. I also saw boats being painted, as they sat in the water.

The very same water where seed oysters are grown for human consumption by the hundreds of thousands. Few people are likely aware that a local business operates two “floating-upwelling systems” or flupsy tanks to raise seed oysters at the docks of Spud Point Marina. These systems pump the soap & oil contaminated marina water up through the oysters to keep them oxygenated. Once they grow large enough to be placed in grow-out bags, these oysters are then relocated to Tomales Bay to grow to market size.

A couple weeks ago, I happened to be at Spud Point enjoying pastries & coffee from Tomales Bakery on the bench overlooking the marina. Nearby, fishermen were washing their boats with soapy water and brushes with huge amounts of bubbles all over the marina. I wondered how often this happens?

The amount of soap being dumped into the bay by one boat in particular was shocking.

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Later I contacted the harbor master and asked about this activity in the water, especially given that shellfish for human consumption were being grown in the very same water nearby.

A few days later, I was told by the Sonoma County Parks people:

“I like to recommend our customers use “A boat soap” which is intended to be less harmful to the environment and only then in quantizes [sic] needed. The fishermen always seem to use dish soap while the recreational boater is more likely to use the boat soap to clean their vessel and equipment (In my opinion this has more to do with price.) [Hmmm, I wonder what price to put on the damage being done to the very environment these fishermen depend on?] After double checking with the United State Coast Guard Sector SF and their Pollution Response Team I did confirm again today using dish soap to clean their vessel and fishing equipment is an acceptable practice.

I find this quite disturbing. What do you readers think?

I’ve asked about why there is no hoist at this very busy marina. A hoist to haul boats out of the bay for needed repairs in an environmentally sensitive way.

I was told the following by the Sonoma County Parks people:

“It was removed well over a dozen years ago when the “haul out” contractor closed down their business. Analysis at that time indicated that there was not enough demand to make it a going concern. A haul out dock needs dry land space to work on boats and the property across the street (that had been used in the past) is too expensive to rent. We have been told by the previous contractor that the real problem is a lack of affordable dry land space to work on boats. Even if the land across the street was more affordable it would still require a significant investment (250,000) in the haul out equipment.”

Seems like a viable fishery needs this critical infrastructure to support wise, environmentally conscious boat maintenance.

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Here are some images from that day, showing the suds in the water.

Followed by images of the same marina, Spud Point, showing the fuel/oil coating the surface of the bay.

The same bay thousands of animals call home.

The same bay being used to grow oysters for human consumption.

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

Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Washing down the boat at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Washing down the deck at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Washing down the deck at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Washing down the deck at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Washing down the deck at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

soap suds at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Here are images of the water surface, showing the colorful sheen left by oil & fuel.

There are lots of things I don’t know about growing oysters.

Maybe soap and fuel are exactly what oysters need to thrive…

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

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina,  Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina,  Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina,  Bodega Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Oily sheen on the water at Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Respect Tomales Bay – Conservation Corps North Bay Cleans Up Marconi Cove!

Click the words above “Respect Tomales Bay – Conservation Corps North Bay…” to see this entire post.


A couple years ago while boating on Tomales Bay, I came across what I learned is called Marconi Cove.

It is state owned property that has been “left to rot” for some time now, large debris littering the place. A former gas station occupies the property along with much other debris that really shouldn’t be wasting away and spoiling Tomales Bay.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version.
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A few of the hundreds of abandoned tires at Marconi Cove - Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

A few of the hundreds of abandoned tires at Marconi Cove – Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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A few of the hundreds of abandoned tires at Marconi Cove - Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

A few of the hundreds of abandoned tires at Marconi Cove – Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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A few of the hundreds of abandoned tires at Marconi Cove - Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

A few of the hundreds of abandoned tires at Marconi Cove – Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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A few of the hundreds of abandoned tires at Marconi Cove - Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

A few of the hundreds of abandoned tires at Marconi Cove – Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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A few of the hundreds of abandoned tires at Marconi Cove - Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

A few of the hundreds of abandoned tires at Marconi Cove – Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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The good news is that nearly one hundred large truck tires have been hauled away.

Brandon Benton and his crew of hard working youth at the North Bay Conservation Corps learned of this mess from Dale Dualin at NPS-Point Reyes Seashore.

Over a few weeks, Brandon and crew dis-assembled and hauled off the mess you see in the following images.

A big shout out to both Brandon and Dale – Thanks guys!

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CCNB crew cleaning up abandoned tires at Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay ©Brandon Benton - Conservation Corps North Bay

CCNB crew cleaning up abandoned tires at Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay
©Brandon Benton – Conservation Corps North Bay

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CCNB crew cleaning up abandoned tires at Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay ©Brandon Benton - Conservation Corps North Bay

CCNB crew cleaning up abandoned tires at Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay
©Brandon Benton – Conservation Corps North Bay

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CCNB crew cleaning up abandoned tires at Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay ©Brandon Benton - Conservation Corps North Bay

CCNB crew cleaning up abandoned tires at Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay
©Brandon Benton – Conservation Corps North Bay

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CCNB crew cleaning up abandoned tires at Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay ©Brandon Benton - Conservation Corps North Bay

CCNB crew cleaning up abandoned tires at Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay
©Brandon Benton – Conservation Corps North Bay

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CCNB crew cleaning up abandoned tires at Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay ©Brandon Benton - Conservation Corps North Bay

CCNB crew cleaning up abandoned tires at Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay
©Brandon Benton – Conservation Corps North Bay

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CCNB crew cleaning up abandoned tires at Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay ©Brandon Benton - Conservation Corps North Bay

CCNB crew cleaning up abandoned tires at Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay
©Brandon Benton – Conservation Corps North Bay

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

Marconi Cove - Tomales Bay - Without so many tires spoiling the view! ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Marconi Cove – Tomales Bay – Without so many tires spoiling the view!
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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There are still well over a hundred tires cemented into a wall (what were they thinking????) that need to be removed.

That is a project for another day.

Concrete and tire wall still blighting Marconi Cove - Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Concrete and tire wall still blighting Marconi Cove – Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Concrete and tire wall still blighting Marconi Cove - Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Concrete and tire wall still blighting Marconi Cove – Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Now, if only we can get the folks at Cove Mussel Company to clean up their dilapidated, unused oyster racks and other mess….

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

Unused iron racks, blighting Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Unused iron racks, blighting Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Unused iron racks, blighting Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Unused iron racks, blighting Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Unused iron racks, blighting Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Unused iron racks, blighting Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Unused iron racks, blighting Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Unused iron racks, blighting Marconi Cove, Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Previous related post may be found here.

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

Save our planet – Stop Nestlé from taking our water and wrapping it in plastic

Dear Readers,

Nestlé thinks it can buy its way to a positive public image. So the corporation is mounting a major misinformation campaign in Southern California. From billboards to newspaper spots to ads on popular local websites, Nestlé is scrambling to convince the people of California that it’s a good steward of the environment. But with your help, we can fight back with educational ads of our own, ensuring people know the truth: Nestlé needs to be stopped for the public good.

Our campaign against Nestlé is already making waves. On April 25th, I’ll be representing the more than one million members of the Story of Stuff Community in a federal courtroom as our lawsuit to hold Nestlé accountable for its unpermitted withdrawal of water from the San Bernardino National Forest goes before a judge. Along with with our partners Courage Campaign and Center for Biological Diversity, we’ll argue that the U.S. Forest Service should turn off the spigot on Nestlé’s continuing, illegal extraction of water from these drought-ravaged public lands.

But we know Nestlé won’t go away quietly, which is why we’re asking you to help us fund a full-page ad in the San Bernardino Sun newspaper to raise publicity about Nestlé’s illegal actions, and help more people get engaged.

Help us show Nestlé and the U.S. Forest Service that the public wants our water to stay in the mountains, not in Nestlé’s bottles.

Nestlé knows that the public support behind the Story of Stuff Project and our partners has the potential to put an end to its bad behavior, which is why Nestlé spends millions of dollars on vague advertisements claiming it has a strong environmental record. But the facts couldn’t be further from the truth. The water level in the stream from which Nestlé is taking water in San Bernardino is at 10% of a 90-year historic average, and similar abuses are occurring worldwide.

Nestlé’s ability to suppress public debate is powerful. In fact, a billboard company that operates near the San Bernardino National Forest refused to do business with us in part because they fear losing out on Nestlé’s advertising dollars. So we’re buying a full-page ad in the San Bernardino Sun that will reach tens of thousands of local residents to set the record straight.

It’s time to show both Nestlé and the public that citizens around the world stand in solidarity with local efforts to protect the forest and its water. Please help us fund our full-page ad.

Donate to help us fight back against Nestlé’s misleading advertisements with a newspaper placement calling out their abuses and explaining how people can join our campaign.

Our lawsuit and your pressure have already had a significant impact, persuading the Forest Service to begin reviewing Nestlé’s expired permit for the first time in almost three decades. As the date of our hearing approaches, our opportunity to curtail Nestlé’s illegal water grab in San Bernardino is at an all-time high. We know that millions of people around the world support our efforts, and we want to bring that message directly to San Bernardino, where Nestlé employees AND Forest Service officials charged with protecting this forest will see it.

With your help we can deliver our message in the most commonly read newspaper in San Bernardino. With enough funds, we’ll buy more strategic ad space elsewhere in the region. It’s time to set the record straight and let local folks how they can get involved in our global campaign to hold Nestlé accountable.

Preview the ad text on our donation page, and contribute to make it a reality!

Together we can show Nestlé that our planet’s people and ecosystems aren’t for sale. With the water level in the National Forest’s Strawberry Creek now far below historic averages, the plant and animal life that depend on the water don’t have time to spare.

Thanks to your support our campaign is growing, and we’re starting to see Nestlé react. We know that if we keep the pressure up, amazing change is possible!
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

In Solidarity,

Michael O’Heaney
Executive Director
The Story of Stuff

Action Alert – Sonoma Coast needs you to speak up 13 April, Santa Rosa

Please click on the words above “Action Alert – Sonoma Coast needs you …” to see this entire post.

The people of Sonoma County oppose the California State Parks proposal that aims to add many new fee locations along the Sonoma Coast. The proposal will charge the public $8/day to access some of Sonoma County’s favorite beaches including Bodega Head, Shell Beach, Goat Rock, Stump Beach more. The California Coastal Commission will decide on whether or not the proposed fees will go into effect.

PLEASE ATTEND THIS MEETING ON APRIL 13th IN SANTA ROSA – VETERAN’S HALL.
Map found here

Respect Tomales Bay – The glass tells a story

Click the words above “The glass tells a story” to see this entire post.

Two months ago I put my boat in at grassy point, the place windsurfers like, a little north of Cypress Point. Then I paddled south to explore Marshall and the area around Hog Island Oyster.

I’ve spent so much time cleaning up the shore around Tomales Bay Oyster Company given the proximity to me (and no end of trash), it seemed fair to spend some time near the other oyster company with a retail presence on the bay. Plus, it is always good to explore places never before seen.

Let’s have a look.

One of the first things to catch my eye was this boat laying in the mud, upside down.

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Capsized boat ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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There seemed to be items from the boat scattered nearby, so I walked closer to have a look.

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Capsized boat, seat cushion making an escape. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat, seat cushion making an escape.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Capsized boat ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Capsized boat ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Hmmm, what is that wedged under the boat?

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Capsized boat - 5 gallon gas tank, rusting in Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat – 5 gallon gas tank, rusting in Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Oh my, up to 5 gallons of gasoline in a rusty tank on the floor of Tomales Bay. I wonder how long THAT has been there?

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Capsized boat - 5 gallon gas tank, rusting in Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat – 5 gallon gas tank, rusting in Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

I carefully slid the tank out from under the boat. It was then that I discovered the tank had rusted through.

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Capsized boat - 5 gallon gas tank, rusting in Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat – 5 gallon gas tank, rusting in Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Smelling the liquid leaking from the tank, it smelled odd, not strongly of gas, but not seawater either. An odd, stale fragrance.

I couldn’t leave it here. Nor could I put it in my boat, as it would leak that odd fluid in my boat. What to do? Hog Island Oyster was nearby so I hiked over to see what I could borrow. One of the workers, after hearing my explanation, pointed me to a stack of large garbage cans and said put it in one of those. We will make sure to dispose of it properly.

Hiking back to the upright gas can, I carefully placed the tank in the plastic can, careful not to spill anything into the bay. (Was there anything left to spill? Had the contents already tainted the bay long ago?)

I carried it back to Hog and placed it where the fellow asked me to, thanked him and went on my way.

More on this boat later….

Exploration continued.

As always, click on an image to increase size

Abandoned platform laying in the mud ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Abandoned platform laying in the mud
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Perhaps someone from one of those houses will come out and remove this mess from Tomales Bay.

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Abandoned platform laying in the mud ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Abandoned platform laying in the mud
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Hog Island Oysters in the background

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Abandoned drain pipe in the mud ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Abandoned drain pipe in the mud
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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I thought I knew where all the oyster leases were in Tomales Bay. Guess not.

small scale oyster farming ©Richard James - coastodian.org

small scale oyster farming
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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As always, click on an image to increase size

small scale oyster farming ©Richard James - coastodian.org

small scale oyster farming
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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small scale oyster farming ©Richard James - coastodian.org

small scale oyster farming
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Sketchy foundation...

Sketchy foundation…

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Sketchy foundation...

Sketchy foundation…

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Sketchy foundation...

Sketchy foundation…

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Sketchy foundation...

Sketchy foundation…

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Sketchy plumbing...

Sketchy plumbing…

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Pisaster.o A rarity these days due to a virus laying waste to these and other species of sea stars

Pisaster.o
A rarity these days due to a virus laying waste to these and other species of sea stars

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Glass shards and other trash from below Marshall Tavern ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Glass shards and other trash from below Marshall Tavern
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Glass shards and other trash from below Marshall Tavern ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Glass shards and other trash from below Marshall Tavern
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Disposable diaper from mud below Marshall Tavern ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Disposable diaper from mud below Marshall Tavern
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Longs Drug bank deposit bag from mud below Marshall Store. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Longs Drug bank deposit bag from mud below Marshall Store.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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This glass certainly does tell a story ©Richard James - coastodian.org

This glass certainly does tell a story
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Fast forward to after this trip in the bay, I’d packed up and drove back, stopping in Marshall to look around from on shore.

A fellow was getting out of a car, I asked him if he lived here, motioning to the house he was parked in front of. He said “yes”.

I explained the boat out in the mud with the leaking gas can. He knew who owned the boat and assured me that the last time the owner had used his boat (many months prior), he had run out of gas and had paddled back to shore. “So there was likely no gas at all in that tank.”

“Hmmm” was my response.

Next I explained how I boat around the bay and pack out all the trash I find. He expressed thanks upon learning this. “You should have seen all the broken bottle shards I found below the Tavern.” I shared.

His face became quite serious. “Please, don’t pick up those bottles.” He pronounced.

“There are no bottles, only bits and pieces.” I replied.

“Please leave those bits, they tell a story.”

They sure do tell a story, I thought to myself, thankful I had not cut my foot on any of them.

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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 “Respect our Tomales Bay” here.