Save our Tomales Bay

Over the past few weeks signs have popped up all over West Marin stating
“Save our Drakes Bay Oyster Farm”.

I am reminded of a young child that wants a puppy. Really wants a puppy.

Begs and pleads to her/his parents to get a puppy.

Days and weeks of begging for a puppy.

The parents engage in the sort of dialog you might expect.

“Puppies are a lot of responsibility honey.”

“I’ll take care of him” is the reply.

“You have to feed the puppy and make sure it has clean water.”

“I will, I’ll feed it every day.”

“And you have to pick up the mess from the puppy too.”

“I will, I will pick up after him.”

And so a puppy is purchased and brought home.

At first, all is well and the child does indeed do as promised. After a few weeks, soccer practice gets in the way and the dog poop is not picked up regularly. Then homework is too burdensome and the morning walk is not doable anymore. Soon, even feeding the dog is forgotten by the child.

Everywhere around us we see signs asking for an oyster farm. An oyster farm that has been shitting in the estero for as long as it has been there. See a previous post for a image showing a tiny subset of what an oyster farm does to a pristine seascape.

You’d think that with all the scrutiny on the Drakes Bay Oyster Company and the environment, the other oyster farmers in Tomales Bay would be super-vigilant, keeping a close eye on their operations, making sure they clean up after their gear is ripped out and strewn about by wind and wave.

Well, think again. I boated across Tomales Bay yesterday from my place and spent a few hours walking the shore, digging oyster grow-out bags, blue foam, rope, floats, trays etc out of the wrack.

Collected from SE shore of Tomales Bay on 8 June, 2013 in a few hours by one person. Click image for a larger version

Collected from SE shore of Tomales Bay on 8 June, 2013 in a few hours by one person.
Click image for a larger version


Drakes Estero is situated in a National Seashore and has been defiled by human commerce for 70 years or more.

Tomales Bay is designated a state park if I am not mistaken. And, as you can see is clearly not very well respected by local commerce.

Both of these places are situated on earth, the only earth we have. And unless your head is in the sand, or some other place, you can see that we have been trashing it at an ever faster pace since we learned how to use our opposable thumbs.

We can feed ourselves without trashing the planet. We all have to share the burden a little bit, but we can do it.

West Marin prides itself on local, sustainable…….in light of local practices, add blah, blah, blah to the mantra.

I’m sorry, no puppy for you. And no oyster farm in Drakes Estero.

Kehoe Beach - 27 January, 2012, 3:58 pm looking south, status quo. Click image for a larger version

Kehoe Beach – 27 January, 2012, 3:58 pm looking south, status quo.
Click image for a larger version

Next installment may be found here.

6 thoughts on “Save our Tomales Bay

  1. BLAAHHHHHHHHH!!!! You crack me UP!! Your content is pointed and perfect . . . I was rapt . . . and then I scrolled down to the closing image . . . and you got me!

    It’s human nature to be blinded by our ‘I wants’. If we don’t want to wither and die along with the planet we are suffocating, we need to slow down and consider the long term effects of our ‘I wants’.

    Thank you for putting this so eloquently . . . um, well, sort of . . .

  2. How about the State cutting all the Acicia trees (which is bee forage) and then spraying Roundup at Millerton Point is allowing this to happen your idea of custionianship?

  3. You are just as you sound. An under informed, over educated hippy. Concerned with the image you have assumed and created. Before you slander or preach I implore you to use that fancy education of yours to perform a proper reserach. Research that involves more than you in your kayak and an iPhone. Study the effects of a sustainable fishery and also the other factors that contribute to pollution in the area.

    For now you are well, gossiping.

    • Hello Paul,

      It appears you have accused me of slander. Did you mean libel?

      Perhaps you’d care to point out where I have said an untruth?

      My blog is full of images showing how the oyster farmers treat Tomales Bay (and Drakes Estero), along with some words.

      I don’t think I have said any untruths, but if I have, I’ll correct it immediately.

      slander
      n. oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another, which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed.

  4. Richard,

    I applaud your ability to utilize internet search engines to acquire the definition of words, an admirable task for a blogger such as yourself.

    Per my comment, photographs taken from your kayak are merely evidence of pollution. Declaring where this pollution originated without any evidence would make your statements untrue. Presenting them as facts tiptoes on slander. Perhaps more research is in order. Some suggestions include a tidal study, a study of the fisheries that share the surrounding water or even a report on the effects of kayaking in the area. I imagine the latter would be a familiar way to ease the research world.

    My response to your post also made a lot of assumptions. I presume some of those assumptions were accurate but as a reasonable person I expect to have missed the mark on some of my assumptions. The difference between our assumptions and the way they have been presented to the world (assuming you will allow my comment to be visible on your blog as an opportunity for discussion.) is that mine was presented as a comedic questioning of your credibility, and yours a series of self-developed theories published as facts. In reality what you have published is simply under informed propaganda. Environmentalist nonsense. Hippie bullshit. Take your pick of descriptions, they all describe your publication accurately and in terms every demographic can understand. Fun for the whole family if you will.

    The purpose of a publication is to inform of your findings. I must admit you have reported what you have looked for. Great work by the way. Your arrival to slander-town arose when you started stating, based upon no credible research, that the pollution in the area was derivative of local businesses. This leads us back to the idea of saying untrue things to negatively affect others. (the definition you shared was much more elegant however I can’t be bothered to re-read your letter)

    I too am a lover of the area, the land, the people who live and work there, and the fishery. They are people with very little voice, going up against the likes of The Sierra Club, who are likened only to a terrorist group with good attorneys. They are titans of political corruption and influence who can crush small businesses and the dreams of thousands of good hardworking, caring people with their deep pockets. The good people of the Point Reyes community are already fighting losing battles. You are one more person swinging his kayak paddle towards the weak, a volunteer on the front line with the terrorists you align yourself with. (Before you send me a definition of the word terrorism I can assure you that I am aware of its meaning.)

    You are merely gloating in the closure of people’s livelihood, a victory over tourism in the area. You are exploiting an opportunity to feel important and just even though you have done nothing but snap photos and make public your assumptions and allegations. For the rest of us, we have lost an important piece of our life. We have lost jobs, we have lost communal space and most importantly we have lost a place to gather as humans and celebrate the bounty of the sea together.

    Surely your time would be better spent looking for solutions rather than assigning blame. This letter I am writing, and the moments it took to draft are only an example of how someone behind a key board can steal away something important so another human. How one can assign blame and dance the lines of slander. This response is indeed pathetic, however sometimes the only way to remind someone of being a looser is to beat them at their own game. It is always hard to look for the positive and strive for solutions. It is important that we all work hard together, alas a kayak is a one man ship.

    I hope one day the bay is saved, but from people like you. Get fucked.

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