Respect Tomales Bay – Stewardiness defined

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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:

[gview file=”http://coastodian.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Richard-James-SOTB-2016-compact.pdf”]

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

[gview file=”http://coastodian.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/truthiness.pdf”]

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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Presenting salvage vessel Deep Respect

Click on the words above “Presenting salvage vessel Deep Respect” to see this entire post.

I am proud to announce the acquisition of a new salvage vessel.

With much thanks and gratitude to those who have donated to help me with my coastal cleanup work (see link above), along with some funds earned from my work cleaning Tomales Bay, I acquired a sleek, light and fast canak from the kind folks at California Canoe & Kayak.

The owner of CCK purchased this boat with the intention of running The Green River back in 2011. Well, life happened in other ways and that trip has not yet happened, though I am sure it soon will. So he put the Canak by Wenonah Canoes up for sale. After one morning paddling her in the Oakland Estuary, I knew she’d be a great boat for recovering the never ending supply of garbage found in Tomales Bay. While testing her out I picked up a large amount trash, no surprise that, eh? I may find a lot of trash in Tomales Bay, but let me tell you, The Oakland Estuary far surpasses in breadth and nastiness.

This boat is light enough to carry on one shoulder. The open deck allows me to fill it with abandoned oyster grow out bags, bits of rope, zip-ties, copper wire, blue foam bits, gloves, water bottles etc. Last weekend I packed 23 bags in her with room to spare. I plan to make deck attachments to allow for easy stacking of oyster grow out bags, as there are hundreds, if not thousands of abandoned bags waiting to be recovered from the bottom and shores of Tomales Bay.

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

And remember, if you want to directly help keep the coast of California clean, click that “Donate” link up above. Your generous donation will be put to work undoing the damage we humans continue to inflict on our only home, earth.

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