Click the words “Save our Tomales Bay…” above to see this post in its entirety.
Saturday morning while walking the shore of the Bay picking up oyster farming debris just south of TBOC, as I have done for the past few months, something most interesting happened.
Two TBOC employees saw me with bag in hand heading south along the shore, stooping down to pick up the bazillionth discarded cable-tie (zip-tie, tie-wrap), they shouted at me in their accented english, “Hello mister, hey, hello, can we help you?”
Can they help me I thought to myself?
They sure can I thought to myself. I stopped and turned, waiting a few seconds as they jogged over to me.
“You sure can help me.“, I offered.
“You can stop leaving all the plastic garbage along this beach and all over Tomales Bay”
They both looked a little confused.
“Basura, mucho basura todas.” I offered in my simplistic spanish.
“Porque basura siempre aqui?” [Why always trash here?]
I dug into my bag and showed them the handful of cable-ties, wire segments, oyster tags and rope I had collected.
Eric, I later learned his name, said “We do the best cleanup of the bay of all the oyster growers!”
I chuckled a few times, shaking my head. “I’ll have to disagree with you there. I have cleaned up nearly this entire bay shoreline a couple times, and the area around TBOC is by far the messiest, covered with oyster trash.”
I explained that I had been cleaning this shore near their operation for months, bagging what I’d found, and dating each bag, as well as photographing the hundreds of grow out bags I’d found nearby. These photos are up on the internet I told them.
They asked me if I’d talked to Todd about this. Yes was my reply, with little to show for our discussion.
After a little more discussion, I thanked them for their time, we shook hands and parted ways.
I continued walking south, picking up what I’d missed on the way north.
Not five minutes after the boys had left, I turned a corner of the shore and not two-hundred feet south was Todd Friend walking towards me, with a large stick in his hand.
Hmmm, this could get interesting, I thought to myself.
He saw me and then reached down to pull a large two by four out of the driftwood pile, abandoned oyster racks likely.
As we closed on one another, it became apparent that Todd was picking up trash as well.
In another minute we were upon each other and he said “Hello Richard.”
We talked a bit about what I’d been finding, I showed him the contents of my bag, explaining this was a fraction of what I had usually found. He explained the likely source of each item.
The upshot of our conversation is that he agreed that TBOC had been leaving a mess and that they could do better.
I explained that if they did good things on the bay, I’d write good things about them. He looked me in the eye and said “Deal!”
“But, if you continue to do what you’ve been doing, I’ll continue to document that as well.”
I asked about changing methods so that less gear was lost. I also asked if TBOC talked with other growers about best practices. He said not really, but a meeting of all the growers was coming up.
I shared a different way of attaching bags to the line used by a grower further north, the clips cost more, but they lose much fewer bags, so it actually costs less.
This is great news and I hope to hear more of their plans to reduce lost gear.
I’ll continue to record debris locations and offer maps to the growers. It would be great if they could use their boats to get to remote areas, then walk the shore to recover gear, as walking is the best way I have found to find lost gear.
A great morning indeed.
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Previous related post may be found here.
See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.