Save our Tomales Bay – part 7

Click on the words above “Save our Tomales Bay…” to see this post as it was meant to be seen.

Historic-Oyster-Trash

I’ve been boating the waters and walking the shore of Tomales Bay the past few months to see what the impact of oyster farming is on this body of water.

You can see my first post on this topic here.

You can see what I collected over 3 years from the soon to be closed oyster farm on Drakes Estero here.

Until recently I have only visited the area around Tomales Bay Oyster Company in the southern reaches of Tomales Bay.

There was so much debris to collect, it took me a while to get to other areas. And, as I said I would, I finally got up to the Walker Creek area to have a look at how the oyster growers in that area clean up after themselves.

More than one local told me that the folks at Hog Island expended great effort to clean up the mess that is inevitable when one tosses thousands of oyster filled bags into the bay for years at a time. The wind and waves wait for no one. Gear is blown all over the place, some, who knows how much, is sucked out to the open sea for the animals to contend with.

So, after loading my boat and gear onto my car, off I went to the north end of Tomales Bay.

I’ve made three visits to this area, this post will show what I found after visit number two.

This first image is from Google Earth. Each yellow pin shows where I found one or more grow out bags or other oyster debris.

Map of Walker Creek mouth area showing oyster farming debris locations. Click for a larger image.

Map of Walker Creek mouth area showing oyster farming debris locations. Click for a larger image.

The next 60+ images show what I found at each yellow pinned location.

Tired of making many, many trips with my tiny boat to haul this garbage from others back to my car. Even more tired of destroying my car by hauling all of this trash belonging to those making a profit from public lands in my car, I had an idea. I was going to pile this trash where anyone driving by on route 1 could see it.

The last few images of this post will show the beginning of the monument to oyster profits for a few over a clean environment for all.

A future post will go into more details on this monument, and how it was received.

As you peruse these images, ask yourself if what I was told by a long time Hog Island worker and a parent of a Hog Island worker is true. That is, we take better care of the environment than do our colleagues to the south of us.

Did you see the monument to oyster profits for a few over a clean environment for all as you drove by? Please send me a note, or picture you made.

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

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This first pile is what I collected as I drifted down Walker Creek. I hauled it up to the side of route 1 for collection later, where I found the following…

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Someone decided that the right thing to do with this artwork and materials was to toss it over the side of the road. Does anyone recognize that painted fabric?

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Above is what it looks like as I found it. After flipping it over to remove the eel grass camouflage is seen below.

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Above is what it looks like as I found it. After flipping it over to remove the eel grass camouflage is seen below.

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A short video showing a high density of oyster grow out bags abandoned on the shore of Tomales Bay.


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The next few images of heavy machinery are, I was told by a long-time West Marin resident, from oyster farming operations of long-ago.

Leaving a mess seems to run in the DNA of oyster farmers.

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My boat loaded down with as much as I dare take on such a windy day as this one was.

The following images are of the debris where I hauled it to make the monument to oyster profits for a few over a clean environment for all.

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As you can see in this image taken from the side of route 1, even at 200 mm magnification, the monument is too far away to make an impact on even the most unusual of tourists that may make the effort to get out of their car before taking the iconic picture of nature.

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I could move the oyster farming debris closer to the road for ease of viewing, but no, that would make it harder for the oyster farmers to come pick up their trash on their own. Even after doing the heavy lifting and long walking, I figured I needed to make this easy if they were going to clean up after themselves.

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of “Save our Tomales Bay”, or “How to get the mess makers to clean up after themselves, or better yet, not make a mess in the first place…”

Those of you that made it this far are rewarded with the main reason I visit the wild places of California as often as I can.

This is why we all need to do our utmost to protect the environment that many, many species besides humans call home.

Black Turnstones on the wing. Click for a larger image.

Black Turnstones on the wing. Click for a larger image.

Egrets on the wing. Click for a larger image.

Egrets on the wing. Click for a larger image.

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Next related post may be found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.

Waves & foam & kelp & human debris

Click the words above “Waves & kelp & foam…” to see this post how it was meant to be seen.

For those of you not able to visit the coast, here is 3.5 minutes of waves and foam on a remote beach at Point Reyes National Seashore

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Yet another black plastic oyster tube spacer from the Drake Bay Oyster Company. I found 6 this day. I wonder how may were found by pelagic birds and picked up as food?

Yet another black plastic oyster tube spacer from the Drake Bay Oyster Company. I found 6 this day. I wonder how may were found by pelagic birds and picked up as food?

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Drinking water for people with more dollars than sense. Nothing smart about this water.

Drinking water for people with more dollars than sense. Nothing smart about this water.

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America’s Cup continues to deliver – Marine Debris

As the spectacle that are AC72 boat races continue inside SF Bay, the pieces of Larry Ellison’s big-boy toy that pitch-poled last October keep washing ashore on the beaches of Point Reyes.

This piece had been laying out on the sand so long, spiders have been using it for nest building.

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Go Larry!

Go out and pick up after yourself that is.

Save our Tomales Bay – Part 5

Click the words above “Save our Tomales Bay…” to see this post as it was meant to be seen.

The past several weeks I’ve been picking up the trash left behind by local oyster farming operations on Tomales Bay.

In this post from 29 June, I wondered aloud if those responsible for the mess would pick up after themselves, or would I need to find more help to rid the environment of the trash of private enterprise.

A week later and a few of the larger bales of plastic oyster grow-out bags had been recovered.

This past weekend I went back to have a look at some of the submerged bags, those filled with gravel and embedded in the sand, mud and gravel.

Unfortunately they were still there. as were the many bags I had tossed up high on the shore to keep the tide from carrying them away.

I found that by slicing along one edge of the buried bags, the sand and gravel can be more easily emptied out. But, the freshly sliced plastic is also very sharp. My punctured thumb bled profusely after learning this the hard way.

What follows are images showing the consequences of sustainable, low-impact, no inputs required mariculture of West Marin.

Have a look and ask yourself if this truly is as earth-friendly as it is being portrayed. I imagine with some thought, as well as more labor, oysters could be grown and harvested without leaving such a mess behind.

In a future post, you’ll see evidence of the origin of many of the oysters sold in West Marin to a public that thinks they are buying “local”, as well as sustainable.

All images can be seen larger simply by clicking on them.

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Above or below, which view do you prefer?

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Next related post may be found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.

Save our Tomales Bay – part 3

Click on the words “Save our Tomales Bay” above to see this post as it was intended to be seen.

For the many thousands of you that wait on the edge of your recliner for my next batch of images showcasing the worrisome ways in which humans lay waste to the watersheds of the world, I apologize.

Today while visiting the shore of Tomales Bay, as I have the past few weeks in search of debris to remove from the shore and water, I found that much of it had been removed.

Woo hoo!

Last week I opined that with the volume of oyster grow-out bags still littering the shore (hundreds), either the people that put them there would need to pack them out, or I’d need lots of help.

I’m, not sure who did it, but thank you!

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The above bundle of bags is gone, Hopefully retrieved and no longer poised to explode and spread plastic all over the bay. Thank you.

Today the tide was higher and I was on land, not in my boat. So I had no easy way to see if the piles of iron and dozens of submerged, gravel filled bags buried in the bottom have been removed. I hope they were. I’ll come back again to see.

I did find fewer than ten bags on shore and only a few in the water.

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Location -     38.119608° N   -122.864715° W   Datum WGS84

Location – 38.119608° N -122.864715° W Datum WGS84

This work site still had the fifteen or so bags laying about I saw weeks ago. I left them then, and I left them today. The wind can easily take these bags into the water where the tides can carry them out to sea. Surely this work area can be kept cleaner!

Location -  38.128490° N   -122.864172° W   Datum WGS84

Location – 38.128490° N -122.864172° W Datum WGS84

Location -  38.128490° N   -122.864172° W   Datum WGS84

Location – 38.128490° N -122.864172° W Datum WGS84

The sad new discovery was the anchors shown in the banner image and again above. Ten to twelve large plastic trash cans or barrels filled with concrete. Who left these here? This is 2013, not 1950. We have known for a long time that we can’t simply extract resources and leave our mess behind for others to deal with. Our planet is buckling under the damage caused by that out-dated thinking.

Who amongst you has an idea on how to get this blight out of Tomales Bay?

Location -   38.125753° N   -122.862869° W   Datum WGS84

Location – 38.125753° N -122.862869° W Datum WGS84

I could have had a V8!

Location -    38.125670° N   -122.862855° W   Datum WGS84

Location – 38.125670° N -122.862855° W Datum WGS84

Still more rusty oyster infrastructure from days gone by, littering the bay.

Location -    38.125670° N   -122.862855° W   Datum WGS84

Location – 38.125670° N -122.862855° W Datum WGS84

Next I plan to visit the area around Walker Creek and Preston Point to see what sort of monuments to the human madness are mired in the mud up that way.

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Here are a few images showing what a healthy shoreline looks like, plastic free!

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Next related post may be found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.

Save our Tomales Bay – Part 2

Click on the words “Save our Tomales Bay” above to see the related banner image.

Today and last week I boated across Tomales Bay with the intention of seeing what sort of plastic debris I could find and haul out.

Given my last post about the oyster farming debris I dug out of the shore of Tomales Bay and packed out, I did not think I’d find nearly so much.

How wrong I was.

Last week, a little north of the area of my last visit on the SE shoreline of Tomales Bay, I beached my boat and began to walk the wrack.

I stopped counting oyster grow-out bags after 20.

There were so many, I had to make 3 trips back across after loading my boat as tall as I dare. Digging the heavy bags out of the mud high on the beach was exhausting. Lack of energy and daylight prevented me from making another 3-4 trips that I figured were needed to remove all the bags littering the sand, plants and water.

Today I went back to the same area with photography in mind. I wanted to be sure to record the impact of mariculture on our shared bay. To be honest, I also did not want to feel like I’d been hit by a truck, as I felt the day after 8 hours of picking up trash last week.

In four trips across Tomales Bay in a small sit on top kayak, I hauled out 160 grow out bags, along with lots of other bottles, wrappers, foam etc. There is easily twice that many more in this one area. I wonder if the farm(s) that leave this mess there will begin to clean-up after themselves? If not, I am going to need lots of help.

Commerce makes a profit, consumers enjoy a meal. The earth pays a steep price never to be compensated.

When will humans learn that the unpaid compensation will be recovered one day in the form of a dead planet, no longer able to sustain humans as well as many other life forms?

What follows are images that to me, are proof positive that the decision to let the oyster lease in Drakes Estero expire was the right choice. These same scenes repeated themselves throughout The Estero, though I never personally saw this many bags washed ashore on one boating trip in The Estero. I did see dozens of them that had been pulled out by the tides into Drakes Bay and deposited on Limantour and Drakes Beaches, as well as other nearby beaches. How many escaped unnoticed?

See earlier post about the nearly 6000 PVC pipe spacers I collected from Point Reyes beaches.

All of the images can be clicked on to see a larger image.

160 polyethelene oyster grow out bags left to the elements in Tomales Bay

160 polyethelene oyster grow out bags left to the elements in Tomales Bay

Nudibranch dining on a grow out bag

Nudibranch dining on a grow out bag

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160 polyethelene oyster grow out bags left to the elements in Tomales Bay

160 polyethelene oyster grow out bags left to the elements in Tomales Bay

160 polyethelene oyster grow out bags left to the elements in Tomales Bay

160 polyethelene oyster grow out bags left to the elements in Tomales Bay

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Been there so long, pickleweed is growing through it.

Been there so long, pickleweed is growing through it.

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Nudibranch dining on a grow out bag

Nudibranch dining on a grow out bag

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been there so long it is buried

been there so long it is buried

been there so long it is buried

been there so long it is buried

been there so long it is buried

been there so long it is buried

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NOT good!

NOT good!

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In West Marin of all places!

Calling this sustainable mariculture would be as crazy as saying The Inverness Garden Club sprayed Roundup® in a public area near Tomales Bay, without permits, telling no one.

 

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Next related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.

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.
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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.
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Next installment may be found here.

Can you see the real sea, can ya? Can ya?

Click the words “Can you see the real sea…” above to see this post as it was intended to be viewed.

Instead of sitting in front of a television watching contrived drama written by humans wanting nothing more than your money, head outside, find a place away from the din of progress. Sit yourself down, watch, listen, smell, taste, feel, be.

The actual story is there before us, within us, if we pay attention, ignoring the drone of progress.

See the first video clip in full screen by clicking the rectangularish icon in the lower right corner. Crank up yer volume too!

The kelp swaying in the surf is a species of Laminaria



If you must be inside, listen to this now and then to be reminded of the raw power and beauty of the sea, with some nice embellishments. Move your volume to 11. Yours does go to 11? These go to 11.

Orca at California Academy of Science, Indra’s net at Marine Mammal Center

Click on the words “Orca at California Academy” above to read this post and see a related header image.

In Nov. of 2011 a rare offshore orca washed ashore dead on a remote beach of Point Reyes. Read about that event here.

Today I stopped by the CAS In San Francisco to see the progress on assembly of the skeleton of this extraordinary creature.

The last image shows one of the flippers. I packed both of those out in two trips. Each one weighed over 70 pounds when covered with flesh. It is incredible to see the inside.

What an amazing job these folks have done.

See for yourself. The first 4 are from a few weeks ago, the rest are from today.

 

After visiting the orca, I stopped by the Marie Mammal Center to preview a new art installation by my friends Richard and Judith.

They made an amazing piece from a large trawler net I packed off the beach near Slide Ranch last year. It was wet when I packed it out and weighed over 100 pounds.

They have outdone themselves, it is gorgeous.