New Application to cultivate Shellfish in Tomales Bay

Click on the words above “New Application to cultivate Shellfish in Tomales Bay” to see this entire post.

On Thursday February 9th at a regular meeting of the California Fish & Game Commission (CFGC) in Rohnert Park, the CFGC received an application from Robert Brodsky and his company, San Andreas Shellfish. The application is to lease, from the public trust, approximately 45 acres of state water bottoms for the cultivation of shellfish within Tomales Bay. The application may be viewed here.

Below you can see one of the maps from the application that shows the area the application wishes to lease in bright yellow, superimposed upon a photograph of the area from above.

To see a larger version, click the image, on new page click the “1981×1180” above image and below the word donate

The general area up for consideration in the lease is the eastern portion of the bay between Tom’s Point and Lawson’s Landing.

The species which Mr. Brodsky would like to be able to cultivate are: Pacific Oyster, Atlantic Oyster, Kumamoto Oyster, Mediterranean Mussels, Goeduck Clam and Purple Hinged Scallop.

If granted, the lease could be a maximum of 25 years, per Fish and Game Code 15405.

Before a lease is granted, the following must occur:

1 The CFGC will refer the application to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW). CDFW will evaluate the application and make a recommendation on whether or not the proposed activities are in the public interest (per Fish and Game Code 15404)

Once the evaluation is complete, the CDFW will provide a recommendation to the Commission.

2 CFGC will place the item on the agenda of the next CFGC meeting. The public will be able to comment on the item at this time regarding public interest.

If the CFGC determines that the area applied for is available for lease and that the lease would be in the public interest, CFGC shall publish a notice that the area is being considered for leasing. No aquaculture lease for state water bottoms will be approved until the Commission has held a public hearing at least 90 days after notice thereof has been published in a newspaper of general circulation within the county involved.

In addition, California requires state and local agencies to perform environmental impact analyses when granting permits. Potential environmental impacts are addressed primarily through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review of the proposed facility. Although not a permit, CEQA compliance is mandatory for state, local, and other agencies subject to the jurisdiction of California to evaluate the environmental implications of their actions.

After the CEQA process is complete, the CFGC will again:
3 Place the item on the agenda of a CFGC meeting where the Public may comment on the CEQA evaluation and final approval of the lease.

At this time, the CFGC will make a decision on whether to certify the CEQA document and whether to approve the lease.

Should a lease be approved, the applicant will also need a variety of permits and other authorizations, including from the Coastal Commission and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Crab fisherman on strike for $3 a pound, should hold out for $6! Seafood tax a healthy idea.

Click on the text above “Crab fisherman on strike for $3 a pound…” to see this entire post.

Another crab season is upon us, like last year it is far from “normal”. But then again, with respect to the global environment, normal is undergoing radical changes.

Last year the season was delayed for months due to toxic levels of domoic acid in crab flesh (along with many other sea creatures).

This year the agency tasked with regulating crab fishing, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife has sequentially opened small regions of the California Coast to fishing as domoic acid levels drop below safe thresholds.

Instead of one price negotiation at the beginning of the season, wholesale buyers have decided to hold new talks for each region that opens up for fishing.

Bodega Bay fisherman are none too happy about this and have gone on strike. Fisherman want $3 a pound, buyers are offering $2.75 a pound.

Crab fishing is a boom and bust proposition, a few good years followed by a few not so good years. Fisherman try to offset these declines with a good salmon season, though “good salmon season” is a bit of a contradiction in terms of late.

Humans have for decades damned rivers, denying these ancient fish the spawning grounds they need, diverted water from rivers to give farmers water so they can grow almonds, cotton, pistachios and other high margin crops in what was originally the California desert. Pesticide and Herbicide use, clear-cut logging and creek-side construction have further degraded the environment to the point of near extinction for many historically huge salmon runs.

Both Salmon runs and crab populations are under attack, by humans!

Instead of asking for $3 a pound, I advocate crab fisherman hold out for $6.

Give fisherman $3 for each pound and put the other $3 into a fund used to undo the damage we humans inflict on the sea with our insatiable appetite for, well, damn near everything.

Think of it like a carbon tax. The new crab tax.

Set aside money for people like myself and the legions of others that walk our beaches picking up the mess of plastic ropes, plastic bait jars, plastic foam floats, crab traps left on our beaches each crab season to be ground in to a plastic soup by wave action. A soup that becomes part of the food chain of the planet See this post from two years ago for images of what crab fishing does to Point Reyes National Seashore each year.

Human trash collected from Point Reyes beaches during six visits

Research on how to collect crabs without endangering whales could be funded with this crab tax.

Humpback Whale entangled in crab fishing gear Photo: E. Lyman/HWS and NOAA

Humpback Whale entangled in crab fishing gear

Thankfully California has for the first time enacted a law that allows crab fisherman to collect abandoned gear after the season closes to reduce these horrible entanglements (and often deaths) caused to whales and other sea-life.

Reports of recent entanglements:

After huge blue whale gets tangled in crab lines, Californians struggle with elaborate rescue mission

Daring rescue of whale off Farallones

While we are thinking clearly and proposing that human harvesting activities pay the true cost to the planet, let’s double the price of salmon and oysters, clams and mussels. Set aside money to be used to clean up the messes we have made, and then figure out how to stop making new messes as we feed ourselves.

Four damns are soon to come down on the Klammath River, opening up over 300 miles of historic spawning grounds to a salmon run completely wiped out 80 years ago. Let’s restore the natural river habitat that nature found worked, instead of trying to use science to build fast growing salmon.
Another view of this troubling news here.

In a few months the California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife will be holding a meeting to discuss Best Management Practices (BMP) for oyster growers in California. A long needed set of common sense rules for an industry that has historically been operated in a “wild west” sense, with lax or little oversight. Please watch this space for an announcement on where and when that meeting takes place so you can voice your support for common sense rules in all leases for use of public lands/waters to profit by private companies. Send me your email address if you’d like to be notified.

Let’s make sure that Tomales Bay looks more like this

Great and snowy egrets in flight. Tomales Bay, mouth of Walker Creek.

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Instead of this

abandoned plastic trays

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Respect Tomales Bay – Stewardiness defined

Click on the words above “Respect Tomales Bay – Stewardiness defined” to see this entire post.

Last week The Tomales Bay Watershed Council hosted another fine “State of the Bay Conference at The Inverness Yacht Club.

I was kindly given a few minutes to present some of my findings from the past 3 years of paddling and cleaning Tomales Bay.

See the slides from my presentation, annotated after the fact at the below link:

Download (PDF, 14.13MB)

The main points of my presentation may be distilled to the following:

the coastodian board of directors are very cool

Steven Colbert knows what truthiness is all about

Download (PDF, 63KB)

Aldo Leopold knew what it means to be an environmental steward

the coastodian has witnessed firsthand in Tomales Bay the epitome of stewardiness

Tomales Bay oyster growers, some of them anyhow, over the past 3 years have moved the needle on the stewardometer.

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The California Fish & Game Commission continues to fail miserably in meeting their responsibility to protect and safeguard the public water bottoms they lease to private entities for private profit. One only need travel the length of Tomales Bay by small boat, from north to south to witness a sad century of dereliction of duty in the form of abandoned oyster farming infrastructure. Infrastructure that continues to pose a serious threat to the health of this jewel we call Tomales Bay.

Invasive plants such as jubata, pampas and ice plant pose a troubling threat to the biodiversity of West Marin. Without a strong, collaborative effort to safely eradicate these unwanted, unwelcome, invasive pests, West Marin will soon look more like Bodega Bay, Stinson Beach, Argentina, South Africa. We love West Marin because of the beautiful and diverse ecosystem. These  invasive plants threaten this beauty and we must act NOW!

Not long ago, one learned of a special beach, fantastic fishing lake/river or magical mushrooming spot from an elder who trusted us with this special knowledge only after we earned their trust.

With the advent of social media and frankly too damn many people, beautiful places like Tomales Bay are being overrun by people who see no difference between the shore of Tomales Bay and the trash-filled Oakland Estuary. These careless visitors venture west, have their fun, then leave a mess in the very place whose beauty brought them on a long journey to visit.

Today myself and a friend participated in an annual litter pickup known as “Litter bugs me”, started by Rigdon Currie 18 years ago. This year the cleanup extended beyond the side of the road into Tomales Bay. Two of us paddled from Chicken Ranch Beach to White House Pool, collecting all manner of trash, including 5 tires, several beach balls, a 5-gallon bucket of broken glass.

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

Century old bat-ray fence abandoned long ago, now causing sedimentation in the southern bay as well as providing hard substrate for the invasive oyster drill to colonize upon as well as lay many, many thousands of eggs. These oyster drills prey upon the threatened native Olympia Oyster

Century old bat-ray fence abandoned long ago, now causing sedimentation in the southern bay as well as providing hard substrate for the invasive oyster drill to colonize upon as well as lay many, many thousands of eggs. These oyster drills prey upon the threatened native Olympia Oyster

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Chris plucks one of five tires collected from the cherished waters of Tomales Bay

Chris plucks one of five tires collected from the cherished waters of Tomales Bay

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Salvage kayak "Deep Respect" drifts on a flood tide in southern Tomales Bay

Salvage kayak “Deep Respect” drifts on a flood tide in southern Tomales Bay

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Respect Tomales Bay – TBWC State of the Bay Conference 22-24 Sept.

Click on the words above “Respect Tomales Bay – TBWC State of the Bay Conference 22-24 Sept.” to see this entire post.

The following is an announcement for the Tomales Bay Watershed Council State of the Bay Conference.

The Tomales Bay Watershed Council Foundation is proud to present the seventh State of Tomales Bay Conference on Friday, September 23rd, 2016 at the Inverness Yacht Club.

Join us for this wonderful event gathering local scientists, policy makers, and stewards of this watershed to learn about the state of Tomales Bay and its watershed. This year’s conference is focused on the themes of Science, Policy and Practice in the watershed.

I’ll do a short presentation on my efforts to protect and cleanup the bay over the past few years. Please come if you can, the talks will be at the Inverness Yacht Club.

Registration Required.

Come learn what is happening to protect the bay we all love.

Download (PDF, 930KB)

Tomales Bay Disrespected – PROC still making a mess of Tomales Bay, FGC poised to renew leases anyhow???

Point Reyes Oyster Company (PROC) has been making a mess of Tomales Bay for decades. While long overdue, this past February the California Fish & Game Commission properly denied PROC’s 15-year lease renewal request on two leases to grow oysters & clams in Tomales Bay.

The leases were extended for up to twelve months to give PROC time to clean up the unacceptable mess of marine debris they’d made and show that they could raise oysters & clams in a responsible manner with a modicum of stewardship for our public lands.

When the agenda for the June meeting of the Fish & Game Commission arrived in my in-box last week, I was angry and disheartened because I knew that the substantial marine debris issues that I and others had raised previously have still not been addressed. This is very troubling, and that is why I plan to travel to Bakersfield next week to urge the Commission to continue to delay PROC’s 15-year lease renewal request until the company has demonstrated for a minimum of six (6) continuous months that it can be a responsible oyster operator on our public lands in Tomales Bay.

If you care about the health of our bay and the planet, please write California Fish & Game Commission at fgc@fgc.ca.gov and request that they NOT renew leases for Point Reyes Oyster Company until PROC proves it is a responsible grower and does everything possible to minimize loss of gear AND regularly patrols the bay and picks up the gear they do lose. I do not have a problem with our State leasing public water bottom lands for oyster growing so long as the oyster operators treat these leases as the privilege that they are, and exercise a stewardship ethic for Tomales Bay that is also part of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, and don’t add significant amounts of marine debris to our ecosystem. Once PROC has actually demonstrated that it can be a responsible oyster operator for six months, I would be happy to support its longer lease renewal. However, I cannot support the company receiving a lucrative lease on our public lands at this time given their very poor care of Tomales Bay.

Here is text from the “outcomes” section of February’s FGC meeting during which the leases were NOT renewed:

 
11. Point Reyes Oyster Company, Inc. State water bottom leases for aquaculture

(A) Approve request to renew State Water Bottom Lease No. M-430-13
(Pursuant to Section 15406, Fish and Game Code)

(B) Approve request to renew State Water Bottom Lease No. M-430-17
(Pursuant to Section 15406, Fish and Game Code)

Received public comment.

The Commission approved a one-year extension of state water bottom lease Nos.
M-430-13 and M-430-17 under existing terms and conditions in lieu of lease
renewal, to allow the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Region to
evaluate terms of a lease renewal, use of best management practices, and any other details that would be important for this lease. The Commission will consider renewal once lease practices and terms are clarified and resolved.

Ayes: E. Sklar, J. Hostler-Carmesin, A. Williams

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Have a look at the images below and decide for yourself if PROC has made any significant progress in reducing the amount of plastic, plastic coated copper wire, rubber and other gear abandoned in Tomales Bay as they profit from the the very same waters.

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Here we see a small portion of lease 17 near the mouth of Walker Creek where PROC appears to be growing oysters with the bag & rack method.

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This image was recorded on March 14, 2015 Notice the bags strewn all over the bay floor.
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Another image from March 14, 2015
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Shortly after their lease renewals were denied, PROC workers came out to collect loose gear and straighten up the same area. The workers told me to come out in two weeks and I would not recognize the place it would be so clean.
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Two main things were done during this cleanup. 1) PROC workers collected dozens of bags no longer securely fastened to the iron racks designed to contain them. 2) Instead of securing the bags with plastic coated copper wire (which PROC has been dropping into the bay during harvest for many. many years), they changed fasteners and used rubber straps and plastic coated metal clips.

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18 days after the cleanup, we see the bags are starting to come loose again. Close inspection reveals the straps are being stretched too tight and snapping. I shared this information with DFW staff as well as two oyster growers (I did not have PROC email info at that time)©RJames.IMG_3830

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Nearly 4 months months after their cleanup, we see the area closely resembles how it looked 18 months BEFORE the cleanup, bags loose and again at the mercy of wind and tides.
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That tightly stretched rubber strap above is about to snap, letting this bag to be carried by wind and current.
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Not only is the new method to secure bags to racks by PROC NOT working, it is releasing yet another type of plastic debris into Tomales Bay. The image below shows what was collected in 1.5 hours from Lease 17 run by PROC.

plastic coated copper wire, rusty iron rods, white plastic coated metal clips, rubber straps, zip-ties and rope with stainless clips collected from lease 17 on 5 June, 2016.

plastic coated copper wire, rusty iron rods, white plastic coated metal clips, rubber straps, zip-ties and rope with stainless clips collected from lease 17 on 5 June, 2016.

The loose bags are bad enough when they blight our beaches, or in less than a month become embedded, invisible parts of the ecosystem.
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This bag lay here for less than 3 weeks.

This bag lay here for less than 3 weeks.

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The bigger problem is when these bags are struck by boat props and cut into pieces which present a hazard to wildlife which eat this small plastic debris. One local fisherman caught a tuna 50 miles offshore with a small piece of oyster grow out bag embedded in its flesh. Plastic like that below embedded in the flesh of tuna.

Tiny shards of plastic oyster farming debris collected in Tomales Bay. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Tiny shards of plastic oyster farming debris collected in Tomales Bay.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Shards of plastic oyster farming debris collected in Tomales Bay. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Shards of plastic oyster farming debris collected in Tomales Bay.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Shards of plastic oyster farming debris collected in Tomales Bay. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Shards of plastic oyster farming debris collected in Tomales Bay.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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If you care about the health of our bay and the planet, please write California Fish & Game Commission at fgc@fgc.ca.gov and request that they NOT renew leases for Point Reyes Oyster Company until PROC proves it is a responsible grower and does everything possible to minimize loss of gear AND regularly patrols the bay and picks up the gear they do lose. I do not have a problem with our State leasing public water bottom lands for oyster growing so long as the oyster operators treat these leases as the privilege that they are, and exercise a stewardship ethic for Tomales Bay that is also part of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, and don’t add significant amounts of marine debris to our ecosystem. Once PROC has actually demonstrated that it can be a responsible oyster operator for six months, I would be happy to support its longer lease renewal. However, I cannot support the company receiving a lucrative lease on our public lands at this time given their very poor care of Tomales Bay.

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Respect Tomales Bay – East shore roadside update

Click the words above “Respect Tomales Bay – Eastshore roadside update” to view this entire post.

The last update of this sort from 13 March may be found here.

Almost 3 months has passed with lots of interesting itmes to share.

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

The capsized boat first reported here is still laying upside-down, leaking who knows what else into the bay.

As of 25 March, still laying there in the bay. Behind the first house south of Hog Island Oysters. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

As of 25 March, still laying there in the bay. Behind the first house south of Hog Island Oysters.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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On the weekend of 9-10 April, Grassy Point pullout was filled to capacity with these cars. When I stopped to clean up the area, I sadly discovered someone had tossed two live ochre starfish into the road. Both were now quite dead. Starfish have been hammered by a virus the past few years all up and down the Pacific Coast and are only recently starting to rebound.

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Grassy Point filled to capacity all weekend. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Grassy Point filled to capacity all weekend.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Dead Pisaster starfish tossed into the road. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dead Pisaster starfish tossed into the road.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Another dead Pisaster starfish tossed into the road. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Another dead Pisaster starfish tossed into the road.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Yes, that is a "disposable diaper" in the foreground. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Yes, that is a “disposable diaper” in the foreground.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Local opinion ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Local opinion
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Between the almost always open and overflowing dumpsters at Tony’s Seafood

11 April, 2016 Tony's Seafood Garbage bins ©Richard James - coastodian.org

11 April, 2016 Tony’s Seafood Garbage bins
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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11 April, 2016 Tony's Seafood Garbage bins ©Richard James - coastodian.org

11 April, 2016 Tony’s Seafood Garbage bins
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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And the dumpster at Nick’s Cove (AKA Miller Boat Launch) seen here on 31 May , also almost always open and overflowing, there is no end of food to attract ravens and gulls to scatter trash everywhere. I am told by County Parks that residents of Tomales and Marshall have been caught dumping household trash in these bins more than once. Full bins mean fishermen make an even bigger mess on the weekend, some of which is blown back into the bay. Please Respect This Place.

Dumspter at Nick's was so full, after it was emptied, this remained. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dumspter at Nick’s was so full, after it was emptied, this remained.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Dumspter at Nick's was so full, after it was emptied, this remained. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dumspter at Nick’s was so full, after it was emptied, this remained.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Sloppy filleting  of a halibut, left to attract coons and ravens.

Sloppy filleting of a halibut, left to attract coons and ravens.

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Here is Nick’s launch dumpster the following weekend

Dumpster at Nick's on Saturday morning 4 June. County man called in to get it picked up to make room, no truck came, more trash dumped on the ground. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dumpster at Nick’s on Saturday morning 4 June. County man called in to get it picked up to make room, no truck came, more trash dumped on the ground.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Each weekend I pick up the area around the boat launch, sometimes twice. Often I see fishermen unloading all they brought with them which they no longer want, carrying it to the small dumpster. The dumpster that is almost always overflowing, often with countless aluminum beer and soda cans. Last weekend I saw one such man carry at least 25 beer cans over to throw away. “Hi, you know you could take those home and recycle them” I offered. His gait steady, his tired voice replied “I know all about aluminum cans, I work in a can factory”. “Then you know how much electricity is required to make a new can?” Puzzled look. “The more electricity we use, the more CO2 we dump into the atmosphere, the more acidic the ocean becomes, the less fish you have to catch”. Blank stare as he dumps the entire bag of cans onto the over-filled bin, some of them spilling onto the ground as he turns and walks back to his boat. And so it goes…

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Roadside fishermen still have no respect for the Bay they love to visit.

9 June, Roadside fishermen still leaving lots of trash, bait boxes and now boxes of kindling. They are burning treated wood, no wonder their judgement is impaired. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

9 June, Roadside fishermen still leaving lots of trash, bait boxes and now boxes of kindling. They are burning treated wood, no wonder their judgement is impaired.
©Richard James – coastodian.org


How about we ban fires along this stretch? Bob, is that something you could get rolling? From what I have seen, there is a high correlation between those that build fires and those that leave a mess.

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Grassy Point visitors seem determined to out-disgust the roadside fishermen at Tony’s.

31 May, Some visitors burned pallets full of nails on the bank above the bay, leaving hundreds of nails and the remains of their bottles they seem to have tried to BBQ. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

31 May, Some visitors burned pallets full of nails on the bank above the bay, leaving hundreds of nails and the remains of their bottles they seem to have tried to BBQ.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Today (10 June) I stopped by to pick up Grassy Point and found a very large, fresh pile of human excrement deposited on the beach below the wide spot. When I say on the beach, I should say in the bay, as it was well below the high water mark covered with strips of brown cardboard stained a different shade of brown. Whoever left the portable BBQ box along with the rest of their picnic items scattered about seems to have disassembled the box to use as TP.

Worry not, no photos were recorded, but I did scrape it up best I could and pack it out.

Please Respect This Place.

Three images of beauty to remind us why we all need to be mindful of how we treat our planet, as well as sometimes gently remind those around us to do the same.

Dunlin ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Dunlin
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Marbled Godwit ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Marbled Godwit
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Brown Pelican in ground effect. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Brown Pelican in ground effect.
©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.

See other posts featuring The Birds of Tomales Bay here.

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.

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.

Respect Tomales Bay 43 – Best Management Practices in the oyster farming industry

Click the words above “Respect Tomales Bay – Best Management Practices” to see this entire post.

First, there is a name change to these related posts about the health & beauty of Tomales Bay.

Initially, I published some words and pictures under the title “Save our Tomales Bay” meant as a parody on the many black & white & blue signs that sprung up along the coast like toadstools a few years back in support of what is now history, except for the mess that still rests on the bottom of Drakes Estero. From now on, these posts will start out with “Respect Tomales Bay”.

Recently I was contacted by an “Oceanic CSA” in Santa Cruz CA looking to add responsibly farmed oysters to their offerings. They’d been reaching out to various oyster farmers in the Tomales Bay area and my name kept coming up. Read about what a CSA is here, and here.

I explained my connection to oyster farming and Tomales Bay as well as who I thought grew oysters responsibly (few), who I thought grew oysters questionably (most).

The caller was most appreciative. I’ve invited their company to a Tomales Bay kayak tour like never before experienced. They accepted.

If oyster growers used gear that was marked to make it easy for an independent observer to identify who was causing problems for the environment (from said gear being let loose on mother earth by wind, wave and poor design/practices) it would be easier to promote responsible growers and to contact those growers in need of improvement to their practices, instead of painting the entire region as mess-makers. Uniquely marked gear has been suggested to the Fish & Game Commission (FGC) for some time now.

The FGC has been mulling over the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP’s) for at least a year now, likely much longer than that, with little more than meeting agenda items to show for it. I did hear the President of the Dept. of Fish & Wildlife say at the last meeting I attended (Feb 2016 – Sacto) that they need to update the escrow language in the leases, they need to get BMP’s in the leases, and they need to do it right. Let’s hope they also do it soon!

To be fair, The Commission has, at last count three vacancies. Which means more work for the current three commissioners. I wish them the best in filling those vacant seats with capable commissioners. I’ll do all I can to show The Commission what is actually taking place on the oyster leases in California.

You can read about what I suggested as BMP’s in April 2015 here.

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Click on image to see larger version

Tomales Bay at mouth of Walker Creek - public land leased to private companies to grow Japanese oysters, Atlantic oysters, Manilla clams. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Tomales Bay at mouth of Walker Creek – public land leased to private companies to grow Japanese oysters, Atlantic oysters, Manilla clams.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Next related post maybe found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

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