Save our Tomales Bay – part 7

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

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I’ve been boating the waters and walking the shore of Tomales Bay the past few months to see what the impact of oyster farming is on this body of water.

You can see my first post on this topic here.

You can see what I collected over 3 years from the soon to be closed oyster farm on Drakes Estero here.

Until recently I have only visited the area around Tomales Bay Oyster Company in the southern reaches of Tomales Bay.

There was so much debris to collect, it took me a while to get to other areas. And, as I said I would, I finally got up to the Walker Creek area to have a look at how the oyster growers in that area clean up after themselves.

More than one local told me that the folks at Hog Island expended great effort to clean up the mess that is inevitable when one tosses thousands of oyster filled bags into the bay for years at a time. The wind and waves wait for no one. Gear is blown all over the place, some, who knows how much, is sucked out to the open sea for the animals to contend with.

So, after loading my boat and gear onto my car, off I went to the north end of Tomales Bay.

I’ve made three visits to this area, this post will show what I found after visit number two.

This first image is from Google Earth. Each yellow pin shows where I found one or more grow out bags or other oyster debris.

Map of Walker Creek mouth area showing oyster farming debris locations. Click for a larger image.

Map of Walker Creek mouth area showing oyster farming debris locations. Click for a larger image.

The next 60+ images show what I found at each yellow pinned location.

Tired of making many, many trips with my tiny boat to haul this garbage from others back to my car. Even more tired of destroying my car by hauling all of this trash belonging to those making a profit from public lands in my car, I had an idea. I was going to pile this trash where anyone driving by on route 1 could see it.

The last few images of this post will show the beginning of the monument to oyster profits for a few over a clean environment for all.

A future post will go into more details on this monument, and how it was received.

As you peruse these images, ask yourself if what I was told by a long time Hog Island worker and a parent of a Hog Island worker is true. That is, we take better care of the environment than do our colleagues to the south of us.

Did you see the monument to oyster profits for a few over a clean environment for all as you drove by? Please send me a note, or picture you made.

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

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This first pile is what I collected as I drifted down Walker Creek. I hauled it up to the side of route 1 for collection later, where I found the following…

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Someone decided that the right thing to do with this artwork and materials was to toss it over the side of the road. Does anyone recognize that painted fabric?

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Above is what it looks like as I found it. After flipping it over to remove the eel grass camouflage is seen below.

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Above is what it looks like as I found it. After flipping it over to remove the eel grass camouflage is seen below.

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A short video showing a high density of oyster grow out bags abandoned on the shore of Tomales Bay.


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The next few images of heavy machinery are, I was told by a long-time West Marin resident, from oyster farming operations of long-ago.

Leaving a mess seems to run in the DNA of oyster farmers.

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My boat loaded down with as much as I dare take on such a windy day as this one was.

The following images are of the debris where I hauled it to make the monument to oyster profits for a few over a clean environment for all.

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As you can see in this image taken from the side of route 1, even at 200 mm magnification, the monument is too far away to make an impact on even the most unusual of tourists that may make the effort to get out of their car before taking the iconic picture of nature.

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I could move the oyster farming debris closer to the road for ease of viewing, but no, that would make it harder for the oyster farmers to come pick up their trash on their own. Even after doing the heavy lifting and long walking, I figured I needed to make this easy if they were going to clean up after themselves.

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of “Save our Tomales Bay”, or “How to get the mess makers to clean up after themselves, or better yet, not make a mess in the first place…”

Those of you that made it this far are rewarded with the main reason I visit the wild places of California as often as I can.

This is why we all need to do our utmost to protect the environment that many, many species besides humans call home.

Black Turnstones on the wing. Click for a larger image.

Black Turnstones on the wing. Click for a larger image.

Egrets on the wing. Click for a larger image.

Egrets on the wing. Click for a larger image.

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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.

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