Save our Tomales Bay – part 10

Click on the words above “Save our Tomales Bay…” to see this post as it was meant to be seen.

I decided one day while out picking up after the local oy$ter farmers that I had had enough. Instead of doing their job scouring the bay and beaches, finding, packing out, loading on my kayak, boating out, hauling up to my car, loading in my car and driving to the nearest dumpster the collateral damage created by their profit making enterprise, I was going to make a public monument.

A monument using their trash.

In a very public place so the people that drive out to West Marin to enjoy fresh oy$ters might get a better sense of the true price of their gourmet, locavore, feel-good, low-impact, sustainable, taste-good weekend experience. As i wrote previously (read here), I began to collect the plastic oy$ter farm debris on a small island at the mouth of Walker Creek. Yet, the site was too far from the highway for visitors to see. So I collected more of their trash and built the structure taller.

Monument to oyster profits for a few over a clean environment for all. -- The eight white plastic jugs in the foreground were part of that raft of pallets mentioned below.

Monument to oyster profits for a few over a clean environment for all.

The eight white plastic jugs in the foreground were part of that raft of pallets mentioned below.

— click image for larger version —

Monument to oyster profits for a few over a clean environment for all.

Monument to oyster profits for a few over a clean environment for all.

I intended to continue this effort with all the plastic I’d found in the area, publish pictures here and invite the oy$ter farmers to come and get it themselves. Well, one weekend I paid a visit to the bakery in Tomales to get some treats on the same weekend of the yearly flea market. I bumped into a friend from Petaluma and explained my plan to her as we visited in the middle of the flea market in Tomales. She looked at me and said “They’re going to kill you!” I shrugged it off and said if they don’t like what I write or my art effort using their trash, they can go pick it up themselves.

Later that morning I again bumped into my friend, we sat on the edge of the market and shot the breeze a while longer. As we talked, I noticed a fellow from Tomales doing his best to hear what we were saying without being noticed. He moved beside us and behind us, always craning his neck to place his ear as close as possible. As I lowered my voice, I watched him move closer. Not long after, my friend and I said goodbye and parted ways.

A week after creating what you see in the two images above, I drove up to make some images from the roadside to see what sort of impact the oy$ter trash might have. Pulling over in the pullout, I grabbed my binoculars and got out to have a look. Scanning left, then right, I could find no monument to oy$ter profits for a few over a clean environment for all. Someone had taken their boat in at high tide, just as I envisioned, hopped ashore and hauled the pile of rubbish forty feet to their boat.

Success!!!

My car did not stink of anaerobic mud for a week. My seats were not freshly streaked with bay mud, eel grass and sand. Now that they know where their trash ends up, and they know how to come and pick it up themselves. It is my hope that they will start to patrol and protect the environment that grows these oy$ter$ and keep it pristine all on their own.

With the winter storms (hopefully) on the way, the real work is yet to be done. Storms knock the bags and other oy$ter items loose. They either get pushed onto local beaches and sensitive wetlands, or worse, pulled out to sea where they are broken down by sunlight and friction, eventually eaten by wildlife. You can be sure I will be out during/after the storms to see what impact there is from oy$ter farming.

Let’s hope that oy$ter farmers will incur the cost of trash removal themselves and not further burden society by filling the public dumpster at Nick’s Cove (Miller Park) with their trash.

That’s right, while unloading the trash from my kayak at Nick’s one day, a Marin County Parks ranger asked me what this trash was about. After explaining my efforts, he shared with me that he regularly sees the oyster crews completely filling the public dumpster. He has asked them again and again not to do it, yet they continue.

Below you can see more images from the Walker Creek area of Tomales Bay.

Thanks Russ.

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

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

— click image for larger version —

Pallets that had been fashioned into a work platform by strapping 8 large plastic jugs underneath them. The elements pushed them ashore and broke up the contraption. Did the people that made this thing come and pick it up? -- No, I spent a couple hours pulling the jugs off it, ferrying them back to a pick-up point. -- As far as I know, this blight still litters the shore of Tomales Bay, two months after I came upon it.

Pallets that had been fashioned into a work platform by strapping 8 large plastic jugs underneath them. The elements pushed them ashore and broke up the contraption. Did the people that made this thing come and pick it up?

No, I spent a couple hours pulling the jugs off it, ferrying them back to a pick-up point.

As far as I know, this blight still litters the shore of Tomales Bay, two months after I came upon it.

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Pallets that had been fashioned into a work platform by strapping 8 large plastic jugs underneath them. The elements pushed them ashore and broke up the contraption. Did the people that made this thing come and pick it up? -- No, I spent a couple hours pulling the jugs off it, ferrying them back to a pick-up point. -- As far as I know, this blight still litters the shore of Tomales Bay, two months after I came upon it.

Pallets that had been fashioned into a work platform by strapping 8 large plastic jugs underneath them. The elements pushed them ashore and broke up the contraption. Did the people that made this thing come and pick it up?

No, I spent a couple hours pulling the jugs off it, ferrying them back to a pick-up point.

As far as I know, this blight still litters the shore of Tomales Bay, two months after I came upon it.

— click image for larger version —

Human-built structure trying to tell the tide where to go with polyethylene bags fastened to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes with nylon cable-ties. Tomales Bay

Human-built structure trying to tell the tide where to go with polyethylene bags fastened to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes with nylon cable-ties. Tomales Bay

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Human-built structure trying to tell the tide where to go with polyethylene bags fastened to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes with nylon cable-ties. Tomales Bay - The white objects in the background are American white pelicans made of feathers, flesh and bone.

Human-built structure trying to tell the tide where to go with polyethylene bags fastened to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes with nylon cable-ties. Tomales Bay

The white objects in the background are American white pelicans made of feathers, flesh and bone.

— click image for larger version —

Human-built structure trying to tell the tide where to go with polyethylene bags fastened to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes with nylon cable-ties. Tomales Bay. The white objects in the background are American white pelicans made of feathers, flesh and bone.

Human-built structure trying to tell the tide where to go with polyethylene bags fastened to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes with nylon cable-ties. Tomales Bay. The white objects in the background are American white pelicans made of feathers, flesh and bone.

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Railroad bridge remains in Walker Creek

Railroad bridge remains in Walker Creek

— click image for larger version —

Cormorants and a great blue heron resting on oyster work barge, Tomales Bay

Cormorants and a great blue heron resting on oyster work barge, Tomales Bay

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Eel grass trapped by cow fence, Tomales Bay

Eel grass trapped by cow fence, Tomales Bay

— click image for larger version —

Nature held hostage, Tomales Bay

Nature held hostage, Tomales Bay

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Black turnstones foraging atop oyster grow-out bags, Tomales Bay

Black turnstones foraging atop oyster grow-out bags, Tomales Bay

— click image for larger version —

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

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

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Marbled godwits, willets, short-billed dowitchers and a lone great blue heron.

Marbled godwits, willets, short-billed dowitchers and a lone great blue heron.

— click image for larger version —

Marbled godwits and short-billed dowitchers.

Marbled godwits and short-billed dowitchers.

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Marbled godwits, willets, short-billed dowitchers.

Marbled godwits, willets, short-billed dowitchers.

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Next related post may be found here.

Next related post may be found here.

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

2 thoughts on “Save our Tomales Bay – part 10

  1. The photos of the birds in flight are magnificent!

    It’s always baffled me how certain private enterprises can build structures in public waterways and it’s somehow accepted as the norm . . . I’ve always wanted to kayak Walker Creek (still do) . . . I never would have guessed there was so much trash there . . . thanks for being our eyes . . .

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