Municipal Regional Stormwater NPDES Permit – Oakland

Click on the words above “Municipal Regional Stormwater NPDES Permit – Oakland” to see this entire post

The images below are a small selection of the images I have recorded over the past three years in Oakland that show the huge problem of municipal trash. Much, not all, of this trash originates at homeless camps around Oakland. Much of this debris is plastic and ends up in San Francisco Bay.

Since 2009 I have collected nearly 7 tons of trash off the beaches of West Marin and from Tomales Bay.

Each winter I collect a few dozen, sometimes more, dirty syringes that have washed up on the beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore, including but not limited to Limantour, Drakes, South, North, Kehoe and McClures beaches.

Since 2016 I have been visiting Lake Merritt and other locations in and around the western edges of Richmond, Albany, Berkeley and Oakland in search of the source of these needles.

I’ve collected thousands of needles from in and around the homeless camps in these communities. I’ve also learned that needle exchanges are not actually exchanges. For example, The Berkeley Needle Exchange will hand out 600 needles to anyone that asks, with no need to turn in a single dirty needle. I believe this is wrong and is responsible for the horrid amount of syringe litter that blights our cities and waterways.

Here is a short video recorded during the heavy rain on 7 December, 2019 at Lake Merritt.
One can see the failing containment boom at Glen echo allowing debris to slip past in the high flows.
At Trestle Glen, the smell of oil / gas on the water was nauseating and very noticeable on the surface.

.

Click on an image to see a larger version.

2016

.

2017

Street trash washed into Lake Merritt on 16 November, 2017

Street trash washed into Lake Merritt on 16 November, 2017

Street trash washed into Lake Merritt on 16 November, 2017

Street trash washed into Lake Merritt on 16 November, 2017

.

2018

.

2019

Broken boom leaks debris at Glen Echo

Municipal Regional Stormwater NPDES Permit – Berkeley

Click on the words above “Municipal Regional Stormwater NPDES Permit – Berkeley” to see this entire post

The images below are a small selection of the images I have recorded over the past three years in Berkeley that show the huge problem pf municipal trash. Much, not all, of this trash originates at homeless camps around Berkeley. Much of this debris is plastic and ends up in San Francisco Bay.

Since 2009 I have collected nearly 7 tons of trash off the beaches of West Marin and from Tomales Bay.

Each winter I collect a few dozen, sometimes more, dirty syringes that have washed up on the beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore, including but not limited to Limantour, Drakes, South, North, Kehoe and McClures beaches.

Since 2016 I have been visiting Lake Merritt and other locations in and around the western edges of Richmond, Albany, Berkeley and Oakland in search of the source of these needles.

I’ve collected thousands of needles from in and around the homeless camps in these communities. I’ve also learned that needle exchanges are not actually exchanges. For example, The Berkeley Needle Exchange will hand out 600 needles to anyone that asks, with no need to turn in a single dirty needle. I believe this is wrong and is responsible for the horrid amount of syringe litter that blights our cities and waterways.

.

Click on an image to see a larger version.

Codornices Creek – Border between Albany and Berkeley near Interstate 80

Gilman at 80



SeaBreeze / University camps area at 80

Ashby Beach – where Ashby intersect West Frontage at SF Bay

Whales off Point Reyes send message to delay crab season

Click the words above “Whales off Point Reyes telegraph message to delay crab season” to see this entire post.

While recreationally crab and rock fishing off the Point Reyes beach this past Monday the 18th of November I was witness to some amazing whale activity I’d never before seen.

At least three whales (Humpback?) were repeatedly and rapidly slapping the surface of the sea with their tales.

Maybe they could sense that soon, many thousands of heavy traps with ropes and buoys were about to be dropped into the sea where they feed.

Maybe they were letting us recreational crab fishermen know that human activity takes a huge toll on whales and other marine life.

Whether it be from the millions of pounds of plastic humans dump into the sea each year, or, the deep cuts into their flesh when they and their relatives get tangled up in the ropes used to tether traps to buoys.

I tend to think they were sending a message to us. Are we listening?

Thankfully the CDFW and commercial crabbers got the message and pushed back the day when up to 170,000 traps with thousands of miles of plastic rope and hundreds of thousands of buoys are repeatedly dropped in the sea in search of dungeness crab.

Support clean coasts and oceans by supporting your coastodian.

Click on an image to see a larger version.
.

Whales slap the surface of the sea off Point Reyes on 18 November, 2019. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Whales slap the surface of the sea off Point Reyes on 18 November, 2019. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Whales slap the surface of the sea off Point Reyes on 18 November, 2019. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Whales slap the surface of the sea off Point Reyes on 18 November, 2019. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Whales slap the surface of the sea off Point Reyes on 18 November, 2019. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Whales slap the surface of the sea off Point Reyes on 18 November, 2019. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Whales slap the surface of the sea off Point Reyes on 18 November, 2019. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Whales slap the surface of the sea off Point Reyes on 18 November, 2019. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Whales slap the surface of the sea off Point Reyes on 18 November, 2019. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

.

Protecting the planet
one beach at a time

I love our coast. The Northern California coast soothes my soul and makes me a better person. And sadly, I see the results of humans dumping eight million metric tons of plastic debris in the planet’s ocean each year. So I walk the beaches from Muir Woods to Jenner with my cameras and trash bags. I always find interesting subjects to photograph and trash to collect. Lots of trash, so far I’ve packed out nearly seven tons. Reducing all trash, especially plastics in the ocean has become my mission.

My passion for the environment draws me closer to her, nourishing my desire to protect habitat and reduce our impact on the coast, especially priceless Tomales Bay. In the past 10 years of combing this coast on foot and by boat, I’ve learned about the devastation of plastics on birds, fish, marine mammals, and of course humans. Plastic trash on the beach arrives mostly from the sea, though visitors and locals also contribute to the mess. Sun, waves and wind grind this plastic mess into tiny particles that bind with other petroleum based toxins. These particles are eaten by fish and birds, and enter the complex food web of which we are a part of.

Trash washes up 24/7/365. My volunteer efforts include collecting trash, leading beach cleanup groups, public education and weaving together businesses, government and non-profit agencies with shared information to mitigate our impact. Our annual Beach Clean-ups and local individual efforts are dwarfed by the wave of new trash arriving every day.

This website is a culmination of my effort to bring the problem to the forefront, discuss solutions and share the beautiful, surprising, often times sad and maddening discoveries. You’ll find reports of my findings going back to 2010, from Beijing 2008 Olympics water bottles that continue washing up, the America’s Cup AC-72 boat pieces, the regular arrival of dirty hypodermic needles at Point Reyes National Seashore beaches, flushed by heavy rains from the streets of Berkeley, Oakland and elsewhere into San Francisco Bay and to the sea.

Silent gratitude comes from my board of directors and occasionally a human. I don’t have sponsors apart from the individual donations to this website.

To take an active role, come walk the beach with me. Join the effort: buy less plastic, reduce your use of single-use items, pick up trash wherever you may be, help spread the word and educate others, support those who promote public policy to bring fundamental change. And, if you can help my efforts, I would be thankful for your donation.

.

Click on image to see it larger

Some of my tracks from hundreds of visits to this beach to remove marine trash.

.

Board of Directors

Crab season is approaching – would you hire a contractor that leaves a mess in your home?

Click the words above “Crab season is approaching – would you hire a contractor that leaves a mess in your home?” to see this entire post.

Commercial crab season is fast approaching. Without any issues causing a delay (domoic acid or other problems) it will open mid-November.

When you hire a contractor to work on your home, one of the criteria in making that hiring decision is how they leave your home once the work is done.

You talk to other customers, ask questions about quality of work, attention to detail, staying on budget and on schedule, right?

You also take into consideration how well they clean up after themselves each day, as well as at the end of the project, right?

If a contractor regularly left their worksite (your home) a mess, scrap wire, lumber, sheet rock laying about, food and drink containers scattered all over your yard and in the street, you’d likely talk to them about it, right?

If they did not correct the situation, you might even fire them and find another crew to finish the work.

You’d certainly be sure to tell anyone that asked about the mess this crew made and to be wary about hiring them.

OK then.

Crab fishing is hard work, no question about that.

But that is no excuse for leaving the ocean and coastline a complete mess each season.

Why do we expect contractors, gardeners, doctors and mechanics to clean up after they do a job, yet, we give a pass to the commercial (and sport) crab fishery each and every year? Even though they dump tons of plastic into the ocean, some of which is ground into fine plastic powder every year.

Recently I walked the southern portion of South Beach at Point Reyes Seashore. The first time I’d been to that area in many months.

I found the usual water bottles, food wrappers, lighters, shotgun shell shot-cups, forks, straws and lots and lots of crab fishing buoys, rope and only one Scotty’s bait jar. Six months since the last season closed and still crab fishing garbage is washing ashore, just like it does each and every day here at Point Reyes.

Crab fishermen, you either need to clean up after yourselves, or pay someone else to do it.

Along the California coast you lose thousands of buoys and traps each year, miles of rope, thousands of bait jars and other items.

This stuff is ground into powder by the waves and rocks and then it enters the food chain of which humans are a part.

Please clean up after yourselves. I’ve asked the Bodega fishermen to clean up the mess they and others leave at Point Reyes.

Their reply was NO, we will not help clean up the mess we make.

My efforts to rectify this situation will increase until marked progress is made.

Images below are from a week ago on South Beach. Links to previous posts on this topic are also below.

Dungeness Crab Season is here – How do I know?

Commercial fishermen are extremely conscious of their impact

Landmark event: Berkeley bans he, she and manhole from city codes!

Click the title of this post to see the entire post.

They need to put their large un-housed, unemployed workforce to work, cleaning up “they’re” mess. A toxic mess that floats across city borders to pollute the San Francisco Bay and beyond.

The Berkeley Needle Exchange (Giveaway) hands out over 11,000 needles each week. They will give anyone that walks in 600 needles, no exchange required. This must stop. A one for one exchange must occur, or we will be swimming in dirty syringes.

Working to reduce troublesome diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C is great. But, make sure you are not creating another problem in the process.

Needles wash up on coastal beaches every year by the hundreds, likely many more than that.

Decriminalize possession of syringes so that IV drug users will not be afraid to carry them to a true needle exchange.

Open safe injection sites so that IV drug users can medicate themselves in a safe place where they can get other services and their needles can be secured.

San Francisco hands out 4.45 million needles each year.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Can we please have a beach without needles & human waste?

Click on the words above “Can we please have a beach without needles & human waste?” to see this entire post.

Recently while visiting the east shore of San Francisco Bay in Berkeley as I attempt to understand where the dirty syringes I find all over the beaches in West Marin come from each winter, I came upon this image.

.

This young mother had brought her son to enjoy the waves.

He is a beautiful young boy. He is also autistic.

His mother’s family took his sister and the rest of the family to Hawaii on vacation.

They did not want him to join them. Which broke his mother’s heart.

He so Looooooves the feeling of water on him.

He would stand as the tiny waves crashed into him, smiling like the giant star he is as each buttery hand washed over him. His smile beaming.

Occasionally the water would knock him down and his mother would rush over and help him up if he was unable to right himself.

I watched with swelling heart for a few minutes. He was in complete bliss.

Slowly I approached his mother and explained that this beach was often covered with raw sewage, needles, condoms and other unhealthy items.

I held up a plastic water bottle with the several dirty syringes I had just picked up from this tiny sliver of sand adjacent to West Frontage Road, itself adjacent to Southbound 80 near Ashby Avenue in Berkeley CA.

She sighed and ran to help her son up from the toxic water.

Again his smile shone like a thousand blazing suns as he relished the feeling of the water caressing him.

How blessed I am to live where I do, so close to dozens of beaches mostly free of used hypodermic syringes and bags of human shit tossed from homeless individuals living in their cars alongside a roaring ribbon of pavement and cars busy taking people god knows where to make the world a better place with the likes, instagrams, ubers, airbnb’s and all manner of progress(?).

I shared with his mother how to get to one of the brilliant beaches I am blessed to live near, giving her a map with directions. I hope she brings him there soon.

She thanked me for my efforts and for sharing with her a beach to take her son to that is not covered with human waste and dirty needles.

.

Here is how Ashby beach often looks.

.

.

.

.

Bag of human feces dropped on road next to SF Bay

.

.

.

.

.

Impact of homeless camps in Berkeley CA – Ashby at Shellmound – 2 February 2019

Click the words above “Impact of homeless camps in Berkeley CA – Ashby at Shellmound….” to see this entire post.

Below images show the areas along West Frontage Road near University and Ashby Avenues

Click on an image to see a larger version, then click on the dimensions above image name to see it full sized.

If you’d like to educate yourself about one of the major causes of the opioid crisis depicted below in images, read the following articles:

Sackler Embraced Plan to Conceal OxyContin’s Strength From Doctors, Sealed Testimony Shows

Origins of an Epidemic: Purdue Pharma Knew Its Opioids Were Widely Abused

Investigation: The DEA slowed enforcement while the opioid epidemic grew out of control

The Family That Built an Empire of Pain

Full Coverage: Oxycontin Investigation

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Impact of homeless camps in Berkeley CA – Sea Breeze Market University at Frontage Rd.– 11 February 2019

Click the words above “Impact of homeless camps in Berkeley CA – Sea Breeze…” to see this entire post.

Below images show the areas along West Frontage Road near University and the Sea Breeze Market.

Click on an image to see a larger version, then click on the dimensions above image name to see it full sized.

If you’d like to educate yourself about one of the major causes of the opioid crisis depicted below in images, read the following articles:

Sackler Embraced Plan to Conceal OxyContin’s Strength From Doctors, Sealed Testimony Shows

Origins of an Epidemic: Purdue Pharma Knew Its Opioids Were Widely Abused

Investigation: The DEA slowed enforcement while the opioid epidemic grew out of control

The Family That Built an Empire of Pain

Full Coverage: Oxycontin Investigation

.

.

What toxic substances are dumped into that drain that flows directly to San Francisco Bay?

.

Numerous propane tanks, unsecured next to busy roadways

.

Lead acid batteries, unsecured next to busy roadways

.

More lead acid batteries

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Impact of homeless camps in Berkeley CA – Sea Breeze Market University at Frontage Rd.– 2 February 2019

Click the words above “Impact of homeless camps in Berkeley CA – Sea Breeze…” to see this entire post.

Below images show the areas along West Frontage Road near University and Ashby Avenues

Click on an image to see a larger version, then click on the dimensions above image name to see it full sized.

If you’d like to educate yourself about one of the major causes of the opioid crisis depicted below in images, read the following articles:

Sackler Embraced Plan to Conceal OxyContin’s Strength From Doctors, Sealed Testimony Shows

Origins of an Epidemic: Purdue Pharma Knew Its Opioids Were Widely Abused

Investigation: The DEA slowed enforcement while the opioid epidemic grew out of control

The Family That Built an Empire of Pain

Full Coverage: Oxycontin Investigation

.

.

.

.

Lead acid batteries unsecured near busy roadways

.

Numerous propane tanks unsecured near busy roadways

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.