Whose job is it anyhow….?

Click the words above “Whose job is it anyhow….?” to see this entire post.

Can anyone tell me whose job is it to ensure that the mess left by The Drakes Bay Oyster Company gets cleaned up?

I’ve asked people at the California Coastal Commission, Department of Fish & Wildlife and the National Park Service this very question. Twice!

I’ve not heard a peep from anyone, after nearly two weeks.

It seems important to find out whose job it is. In the past, when oyster leases changed hands in West Marin, or operations shut down, big messes get left – see images below.

All those years profits being made, and every time, the earth gets left holding the [grow-out]bag, [polyethylene]tube, [nylon]rope, [PVC]pipe, zip-tie etc….

As always, click on a picture to see a larger version.

Sustainable oyster farming, West Marin style. Click image to see larger version.

Sustainable oyster farming, West Marin style.
Click image to see larger version.


Above is what Charlie Johnson (and now Kevin Lunny) want to gift to the planet.
No thanks, please clean up YOUR mess.

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Oyster farming trash left on the floor of Drakes Estero by Drakes bay Oyster Company

Oyster farming trash left on the floor of Drakes Estero by Drakes bay Oyster Company

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DBOC Mess in Estero001
Thousands of feral non-native oysters left growing in Drakes Estero by DBOC

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DBOC Mess in Estero002
Some of the hundreds, likely thousands of “french tubes” left to rot on the floor of Drakes Estero by DBOC.

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DBOC Mess in Estero003
Some of the hundreds, likely thousands of “french tubes” left to rot on the floor of Drakes Estero by DBOC.

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DBOC Mess in Estero004
Some of the hundreds, likely thousands of “french tubes” left to rot on the floor of Drakes Estero by DBOC.

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DBOC Mess in Estero005
One string of oysters covered with non-native, invasive tunicate D. vexilium. There are many dozens, possibly hundreds more just like this, left in Drakes Estero by DBOC.

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IMG_0542
Above are iron oyster racks, likely from Drew Alden, left in the southern Tomales Bay lease now operated by Todd Friend at TBOC.
No thanks, please clean up YOUR mess.

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abandoned plastic trays - Tomales Bay Oyster Company

abandoned plastic trays – Tomales Bay Oyster Company


Above was left when Drew Alden sold his lease to Todd Friend over 5 years ago.
Why is this mess still disgracing Tomales Bay?

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abandoned grow out bags covered with marine growth - Tomales Bay Oyster Company

abandoned grow out bags covered with marine growth – Tomales Bay Oyster Company


Above was left when Drew Alden sold his lease to Todd Friend over 5 years ago.
Why is this mess still disgracing Tomales Bay?

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Location -  38.128490° N   -122.864172° W   Datum WGS84

Location – 38.128490° N -122.864172° W Datum WGS84


Not sure who so generously left this mess in Tomales Bay.
No thanks, please clean up YOUR mess.

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RJames.IMG_0770
On the eastern shore of Tomales Bay, north of Walker Creek you’ll find this mess from oyster operations begun and abruptly ended decades ago.
Why is this mess still disgracing Tomales Bay?

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RJames.IMG_0779
On the eastern shore of Tomales Bay, north of Walker Creek you’ll find this mess from oyster operations begun and abruptly ended decades ago.
Why is this mess still disgracing Tomales Bay?

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RJames.IMG_0787
On the eastern shore of Tomales Bay, north of Walker Creek you’ll find this mess from oyster operations begun and abruptly ended decades ago.
Why is this mess still disgracing Tomales Bay?

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If people want to make an honest buck farming oysters, that is fine by me. It is hard work, no question about that. But, taking shortcuts, short-sighted business practices and just plain arrogance has been trashing the planet.

The disgraceful disaster scattered on the bottom of the thousand acre lease of precious Drakes Estero is at zero to ten feet below sea level usually.

We now have an opportunity to see the stewards of the land, with a deep respect for the waters of Drakes Estero show us just how deep their respect is.

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7 thoughts on “Whose job is it anyhow….?

    • Not sure what you are talking about Laurie.

      Perhaps you’d care to point out where the Lunny’s are incorrectly being “blamed”.

      The only thing in my opinion the Lunny’s need do at this point is clean up the garbage left from the operation they ran, as well as the garbage left from the operation they purchased.

      The garbage I showcased in this post from the other oyster farmers was merely to illustrate the need for accountability by the farmers, as well as by those whose job it is to oversee such operations, and ensure no damage is done.

  1. I recall a lively discussion among EXPERTS, concerning the man made materials in Drakes Estero. The consensus at the time was that removal of the infrastructure would cause such a disruption to the marine life attached and around it that it best be left alone to decay. In what appears to be a rather strident effort to make a point, this series of photos certainly shows a number of junk piles that are not in the estuary and should obviously be hauled off.

    • Hi Peter,

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to offer your thoughts.

      While certainly no expert myself, I am fairly certain I have spent more time on, and in the estero than most offering opinions online from far and wide about how sustainable and low-impact raising oysters has been on the estero.

      Though very time consuming, all of the loose french tubes, lumber, bags of oysters, bags of oyster shells, loose shells, feral live oysters and strings of wires and black plastic tubes could be picked up without any more disruption than is already caused by the oyster workers themselves walking all over the place, tossing grow out bags on the mud, dragging bags on the mud etc.

      I think some testing should be done to see just how disruptive it would be to pull the upright lumber from the muddy bottom. If that proves too disruptive, A small crew with a barge could use stainless hand saws to cut the uprights off at the mud, removing all but what is below grade.

      Leaving all that hard surface down there for eternity to rot strikes me as a bad idea. The treated lumber will be there for ages due to the creosote and other toxins it has been injected with to delay decay. The black plastic tubes covered with oyster shells will never breakdown, offering an eternity of substrate for non-native organisms to colonize on. Same for the plastic bags of oysters and french tubes, made from who knows what, they are unlikely to break down in the next hundred years.

      The message put forth by the oyster farmers of West Marin in the form of all the garbage left in the environment over the past decades is more than strident. Especially so when one considers the hackneyed cries of “sustainability”, “stewards of the land“, “deep respect for the waters of the estero“, “no harm to the earth” etc.

      Sustainable means using something without destroying it.

      A steward is someone who protects, or looks after something.

      Other words for respect include admiration, reverence, honor.

      How, after looking at all the images of plastic pollution and toxic lumber carelessly left in the very place being exploited, anyone can use words like respect, stewardship or sustainable to describe oyster farming is beyond me.

      richard
      coastodian

  2. I agree with you…whoever is responsible for the mess you document should be held accountable and the people in charge of overseeing compliance with the law should be more vigilant.

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