Have a question for the coastodian?

A story to share?

Write the coastodian at

14 thoughts on “Contact

  1. Hi there,
    I applaud your work. I am a parent, who is concerned/consumed by the plastic waste all around us. I’m finishing up my Sustainable Practices Certificate at Dominican and just completed the Environmental Forum of Marin series. With a fellow parent, and hopefully students, I am trying to expand recycling at the local middle school and elementary schools in Fairfax, and San Anselmo. I wonder if you’d mind if we make our own version of a chicken-wire-life-sized-bottle like yours for campus? They would both hold our recycling and show how many plastic bottles are used in one week. Has anyone done this yet? We think we need an interesting visual pop to get the students to wake up to recycling, and it is a great lesson in volume. We could keep a counter on it, of the date and how many we’ve filled up. Of course, the goal is actually to encourage reusable bottles and get the hot lunch program to stop offering bottled water! We are also hoping to turn in the bottles for the Ca.Redemption value to help fund our non-existent school garden. If you have time, please write. Thank you for these beautiful yet startling photos!
    Thank you,

  2. Like John Muir’s stories and Ansel Adams’ images, sometimes simply showing what’s really going on in the context of nature’s beauty is the wake up call we all need. Thank you for your efforts.

  3. Hi Richard,
    Is Hog Island better at picking up their plastic? Just wondering because I only see pictures of Tomales Bay and Drake’s Bay Oyster Farms. Maybe I missed something.
    Really appreciate your work and wish our newspapers would post your pictures.

    • Hi Laurie,

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comments.

      Tomales Bay is a big place. I live close to TBOC, hence my ability to monitor that area more so. I have visited the northern part of Tomales Bay and found a fair amount of trash up that way. There are 4 growers up that way and they all use similar gear. I will say that the Hog Island folks do seem to really take seriously their responsibility for taking care of the waters in which they ply their trade. The shore too. Recently they were out en masse and picked up huge amounts of plastic, iron and other items. I hope to soon have a post showing the results of their efforts. I have not spoken directly with the other growers.


    • Hi William, Thank you for stopping by as well as for your kind words.

      The folks at Tomales Bay are quite aware of my blog. I speak with the owner a few times a month.

      The progress TBOC is making is encouraging, though I’d love to see more work done sooner, Todd assures me he will get after cleanup of the mess he acquired with the lease.

  4. Is your only job to go around and scold ?
    We live in one of the most pristine areas and I think all of the oyster companies do a fine job – (I live in Marshall )
    Why not worry more about the tourists and what THEY bring in

    • Hi Seana,

      Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your opinion.

      I agree, we do live in an amazingly beautiful place.

      Have you ever spent any time on the water of Tomales Bay? In the water? On the shore?
      I spend a considerable amount of time boating on, diving in and hiking around Tomales Bay.
      It is an amazing body of water, full of so many beautiful creatures and plants.

      Over the past 3+ years, sadly, I’ve seen an enormous amount of litter despoiling this gem we both care about.
      Food wrappers, beverage containers, fishing equipment, diapers, human waste and more from both locals and visitors alike. Hard to know for sure what the source is for some items.

      I’ve also seen thousands of abandoned grow out bags, illegal structures designed to alter the flow of Walker Creek, thousands of plastic zip-ties (cut and dropped in the bay), thousands of plastic coated copper wire ties (untied and dropped in the bay), miles of plastic ropes, tools, PVC pipe, PVC pipe shards, abandoned 2 x 6 lumber (oyster racks), abandoned iron racks and more – all from oyster/clam growers.

      After traveling to and speaking at FGC meetings in Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Bakersfield, Petaluma, Marconi center, Coastal Commission meeting in Arcata, as well as publicizing this breach of the public trust perpetrated by the growers (and more so by the DFW and FGC) guess what?

      The growers have really changed their ways.

      Instead of me going out and picking up 25, 50, 100, 150 grow out bags on one day of boating around Walker Creek, I now find 5 or 15.

      Instead of me walking the beach near TBOC once a week and picking up dozens or even hundreds of dropped zip-ties, TBOC is not dropping them anymore, and THEY are now walking the shore and picking up the mess THEY have made.

      Instead of walking the shore up at Tom’s Point and Preston Point, or the mouth of Walker Creek and picking up dozens of bags, dozens of enormous zip-ties (Hog Island uses huge black zip-ties), I hardly find anything. Yes tourist trash is still a problem, a problem I am working on.

      You may call it scolding. I call it taking a stand for nature, and it seems to have paid off.

      The growers have shown a huge improvement in how they treat the bay. Next is for the regulators and law enforcers to better hold up their end of the bargain. Another problem I am working on.

      As for your suggestion that I “worry more about the tourists”, have you thought about why the tourists come to visit?
      Oysters maybe? The beauty of this place (that tourists [and the growers up til recently] show little respect for)?

      Perhaps you’d like to spend a Monday with me visiting the many pullouts along shoreline highway, picking up the piles of oyster shells dumped in the bushes or in the bay, as well as the beer, wine, water containers, fishing tackle, diapers, cigarette butts, broken glass etc that appears every weekend, left by those pesky oyster-eating tourists?

      Please feel free to work with whoever the next district 4 supervisor is to effect what changes you wish to see with respect to the crowds.

      West Marin is unique in many ways, not just the natural beauty. Between people with 2 or more homes that show up to (this home) now and then, business owners trying to make a living and many who prefer fewer human visitors, it makes for a difficult space to maintain with one set of rules. Business owners want every tourist possible to show up (and spend $), some others less so.

      Worldwide each year over 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean, a number growing each year. This plastic is ground smaller and smaller by sun, wind and waves until it becomes small enough to enter the food chain of animals. A food chain that includes humans.

      After hiking the beaches of Point Reyes Seashore for 5+ years and seeing what washes ashore continuously ( as well as hauling it out), I decided to take a more active role in curbing the plastic and other trash coming from right here in West Marin.

      As long as evidence warrants such efforts, I’ll continue to share with the world what happens on and around Tomales Bay.

      Tomales Bay (and the entire planet) deserve much better than we humans dish out on a daily basis.

      Best wishes,

      richard james

  5. You make some fair points about people living and working in the Lagunitas watershed. You also take some fair shots a people and groups from the valley. It’s easy to point out failures of people but in this case I believe you missed the mark. The Lagunitas watershed has some of the cleanest water of any California creek and the water quality is monitored at several locations and by several organizations. Significant restoration efforts are supported by people living and working in the valley and over the past four years the number of fish migrating back to the ocean has increased several fold. I believe it is because the people of this valley live lightly on the land that we have one of the few viable natural coho migrations and people in our valley fought to maintain our rural character. There are two primary reasons the coho struggle. 1. The dams that we all receive are domestic water from block 50% of the watershed and 2. The changing conditions of our oceans do not always support large coho adult returns Those of us living and working in our valley can’t overcome those two conditions. Yet, the coho continue to return to this small watershed. We’ll continue to watch the returns ebb and flow as we resolve our neighborhood issues. Let’s hope everyone else does the same for the ocean or our efforts might not matter.

  6. Hay i love your work! I want to orginize a needle cleanup! I got the person power where are the best places to concentrate our efforts? Im down to do the orginizing. Would you be interested in helping with strategy and publicity?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.