Best Management Practices for California aquaculture – still waiting for them…

Below you will find an update on my ongoing efforts to protect Tomales Bay from the historically poor practices of shellfish growers, and a long history of virtually no oversight by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Fish & Game Commission (CFGC). The CFGC leases state water bottoms in California to shellfish growers. Given the shortage of suitable coastline with clean water, you’d think the CFGC would be charging a premium rent (supply and demand). You would be wrong. More on that in a future post.

If you care for Tomales Bay and want to protect it, please write the following people and tell them to implement and enforce strong Best Management Practices over shellfish growers. Tell them to fix the woefully inadequate escrow cleanup bond system. And kindly ask them to make a better effort at enforcing existing litter laws and to regularly monitor aquaculture statewide. Our state bays and estuaries are priceless treasures for ALL to enjoy.

Valerie Termini – Executive Director of California Fish & Game Commission (CFGC) – Sacramento, CA fgc@fgc.ca.gov

Susan Ashcraft – Marine Advisor to the California Fish & Game Commission (CFGC) – Sacramento, CA Susan.Ashcraft@fgc.ca.gov

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Responsibly practiced shellfish aquaculture, properly sited, adds value to life in the form of delicious shellfish, jobs and the continuation of a long tradition. Authentic stewardship is paramount to assuring this practice does no harm to the precious bays and estuaries of the ever changing (and rising) sea.

Three things I have been requesting since I set out to right numerous wrongs are:

1) Growers need to stop losing so much plastic, wood and other gear. They also need to regularly pick up the debris that they do lose. All of the legacy debris left by growers from days gone by needs to be removed from the bay.

2)      A. Best Management Practices (BMP) need to be developed and become an   enforceable part of being allowed to profit from public trust tidelands.

2)      B. The cleanup fund escrow system to address abandoned infrastructure and other damages done to a lease needs to be redone so that it is actually applied, AND is not based on cost estimates made by the growers themselves.

3) CFGC and CDFW need to actually DO their job: regular monitoring of leases, enforce existing laws, ensure growers are not diverting creeks with un-permitted structures or altering the bay-floor by dumping large quantity of oyster shells or other materials into the bay.

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Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

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1) Growers need to stop losing so much plastic, wood and other gear. They also need to regularly pick up the debris that they do lose. All of the legacy debris left by growers from days gone by needs to be removed from the bay.

This is taking place. The growers are losing less gear and making a noticeable effort to pick up that gear still getting loose.

There is still room for improvement, as bags and other culturing devices are still getting loose. But overall, a vast improvement!

Thank you growers!

Unfortunately, much of the legacy debris continues to blight the beauty of Tomales Bay. You can see what I am talking about here.

2-A Best Management Practices (BMP) need to be developed and become an   enforceable part of being allowed to profit from public trust tidelands.

On April 8, 2015 (1087 days ago and counting), a proposed list of BMP that I drafted were delivered to the CFGC at their commission meeting in Santa Rosa. The growers and numerous agencies have mulled over and massaged this list since then.

The latest revision put forth by the CFGC is very close to what I originally proposed, except it does not include that growers must mark all their gear with their name & phone number. Marking all gear is important in order to ensure growers practice authentic stewardship.

My most recent iteration of what I think are good common sense BMP are below.

 

These BMPs shall be an integral part of each lease. The practices shall be mandatory practices meant to ensure Tomales Bay and the ocean in general is kept free of lost plastic and other debris from aquaculture operations.

To have the intended effect of reducing litter in Tomales Bay attributed to aquaculture, it is imperative that these practices be adequately and regularly enforced.

Harming the environment is a criminal matter, not an administrative matter.

 

  1. Growers shall uniquely and clearly identify all of their gear with company name and phone number. Possible means of uniquely marking gear include: unique colors of bags, wires, tags, PVC pipes, rope, and “branding info into gear.”

 

  1. Growers shall train all employees in concepts of Leave No Trace, see http://LNT.org, or similar training about environmental stewardship.

 

  1. Growers shall continually improve gear and methods in a quest to lose less gear.

 

  1. Growers shall replace single use items (i.e. zip-ties, copper wires) with more durable items such as stainless halibut clips.

 

  1. Growers shall NOT use floats that are easily degraded by sunlight or pecked by birds in search of food.

 

  1. Growers shall securely tie large groups of non-floating bags together when deploying bags for future securing to anchor lines to ensure they do not drift.

 

  1. Growers shall remove all tools and materials each day after working on lease areas, including: fencepost drivers, gloves, water bottles, PVC pipes, wires, and ropes. Work barges shall be secured to ensure items are not blown into the bay.

 

  1. Growers shall NOT dump shells, lumber, bags or other debris on the bay floor to walk upon or for any reason.

 

  1. Growers shall promptly (within 90 days) remove culture structures and other items comprising a method that did not work as desired or is no longer used.

 

  1. Growers shall patrol lease areas and the shores of Tomales Bay on a monthly basis, twice monthly during windy or heavy surf times. Patrols must occur at both high and low tides to ensure gear buried in the mud is promptly collected.

 

  1. Growers shall uniquely and clearly identify all of their boats and barges. Boats should be clearly identifiable with binoculars from a distance of 1 mile. Unique color, large letter and/or number or combinations of these may work.

 

To support item 11 above, the below images show some of the boats used by various growers. Notice how many of the boats look identical. Also shown is one suggested ID method to allow distant observers to know which grower a particular boat belongs to. Also, how many of these boats are properly licensed?

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The reason for my concern centers on the damage done to the eel grass beds on or near the leases. Below are three images recorded from overhead, showing deep and permanent damage done to the eel grass by the propellers of boats accessing the lease areas.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

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On numerous occasions I have witnessed oyster boats operating at low tides, attempting to access areas of the bay not deep enough to access without driving the prop of the boat into the bottom of the bay, destroying everything that the prop meets, like a blender, loudly throwing a tall, brown rooster-tail into the air, easily visible/audible from a mile+ away.

If boats were clearly labeled, interested stakeholders would be able to give the Commission/Department accurate information with which to hopefully take action.

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The below images show the reasoning behind item 8.

Growers shall NOT dump shells, lumber, bags or other debris on the bay floor to walk upon or for any reason.

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2-B The cleanup fund escrow system to address abandoned infrastructure needs to be redone so that it is actually applied, AND is not based on cost estimates made by the growers themselves.

The figure below (from K. Ramey files acquired via Public Records Access [PRA]) shows how much has been contributed (allegedly) by each grower. Total on account (allegedly) is $106,255.

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Click on the image to enlarge it.

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Below is an image showing part of the main contract paid by the NPS for the cleanup of aquaculture debris left by DBOC in Drakes Estero. This is not the entire sum. Beyond the $3,460,750 shown below were other substantial fees associated with the removal of oysters and clams left by DBOC.

Important to note is the self-assessed cleanup cost given to the Fish & Game Commission by DBOC for two years running: $10,000

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Click on the image to enlarge it.

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Below are images of some current leases, showing rough dimensions as well as the amount paid into the escrow fund.

These values are self-assessed cost estimates provided by the growers.

Have you ever been asked by a landlord how much of a cleaning deposit you think you ought to pay?

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3) CFGC and CDFW need to actually DO their job: regular monitoring of leases, enforce existing laws, ensure growers are not diverting creeks with un-permitted structures or altering the bay-floor by dumping large quantity of oyster shells or other materials into the bay.

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This request needs no further support.

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The slide seen below was created by the State Aquaculture Coordinator.
The yellow text I have highlighted reads: “Emphasize CA’s strict environmental standards as advantage”

How can one have an advantage based on strict standards if the laws those standards are based on are not enforced?

Please enforce current laws!

Click image to enlarge it.

If you care for Tomales Bay and want to protect it, please write the following people and tell them to implement and enforce strong Best Management Practices over shellfish growers. Tell them to fix the woefully inadequate escrow cleanup bond system. And kindly ask them to make a better effort at enforcing existing litter laws and to regularly monitor aquaculture statewide. Our state bays and estuaries are priceless treasures for ALL to enjoy.

Valerie Termini – Executive Director of California Fish & Game Commission (CFGC) – Sacramento, CA fgc@fgc.ca.gov

Susan Ashcraft – Marine Advisor to the California Fish & Game Commission (CFGC) – Sacramento, CA Susan.Ashcraft@fgc.ca.gov

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Respect Tomales Bay – TBOC makes a huge effort, cleaning up legacy trash left by others.

Click on the words above “Respect Tomales Bay – TBOC makes a huge effort…” to see this entire post.

Ten days ago while walking the mudflats at the mouth of Walker Creek I came across a most interesting find.

A large amount of abandoned oyster racks and grow out bags.

Now, those of you that follow my efforts on Tomales Bay might say, “Richard, what is so interesting about abandoned oyster racks and grow out bags? You have been finding and ranting about that stuff for a few years now…yawn.”

Well, let me tell you what is so interesting about this particular find.

As you may know by now, a series of unpermitted fences meant to redirect the flow of Walker Creek have blighted The Bay for upwards of 15 years. You can read about these structures here, here, here and here for starters.

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Here are two images showing one such fence before removal, as it was on 17 January, 2015.

Now removed Walker Creek diverting pile of plastic and oyster shells.

Now removed Walker Creek diverting pile of plastic and oyster shells.

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Those fences were removed last year before an epic series of storms graced the area with much needed rain, rain that made its way down Walker Creek with a full head of steam. Instead of being shunted to the north by a wall of plastic bags, PVC pipes, concrete pilings, plastic-coated copper wire and zip-ties – all that lovely water was once again allowed to run freely.

The huge volume of water that poured naturally through what had for 15 or more years been a mudflat uncovered an enormous amount of abandoned iron racks and plastic bags (many filled with dead non-native oysters). This debris was left there after the 1982 epic flood that buried much, if not all of the oysters being farmed by International Shellfish Corporation.

Of course I made photographs and recorded Lat/Lon waypoints of this find.

I shared this information with all the current growers (including TBOC, on whose lease this legacy debris had remained hidden all these years), as well as some of the alphabet soup of agencies responsible for caring for the precious coastline – CFGC, CFDW, CCC amongst them.

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Map showing debris and where it was located (click on map for larger image)

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Unable to lift out this mess myself due to an injured back (from lifting non-oyster farming debris out of the bay a month prior), I gave this information to the growers and agencies and hoped that someone would take the ball and run, before the tides once again covered it back up.

The next day, most, if not all of the TBOC crew was onsite pulling this gear out of the mud, piling it along the newly formed channel. How awesome is that!

A big thank you to TBOC for stepping up to remove gear that was on public land which they lease, though not their gear. They recovered 223 bags, some still with dated tags from 1980 on them, as well as many hundreds of pounds of sharp, rusty iron racks.

Let’s hope other growers on the bay follow this lead and remove legacy gear from public land they now lease, littered with gear from years ago. Ideally the agencies tasked with regulating aquaculture on public lands will pitch in to help current growers deal with messes left by those that came before them.

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Debris recovered and removed by TBOC!

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Image showing location where legacy debris was removed by TBOC staff. Red line shows location of former unpermitted creek-deflecting berm.

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Image showing location where legacy debris was removed by TBOC staff. Red line shows location of former unpermitted creek-deflecting berm.

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Removing the vast amount of Oyster Farming Legacy (OFL – rhymes with awful) is not as simple as heading out and picking up this stuff. Some permits are needed in order to do needed cleanup work in the coastal zone. Permits that TBOC had in hand to effect the (almost) complete removal of the last of their creek-deflecting structures.

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What must now happen is for the Fish & Game Commission and Department of Fish & Wildlife to step up and take responsibility for their growers of days gone by (some under their watch, some before their watch began) and do the necessary leg work to secure permits for the removal of the remaining OFL blighting Tomales Bay, as well as make the removal happen. Growing shellfish along the coast is OK by me, as long as it is done truly sustainably, by those practicing Authentic Stewardship.

Now more than ever we need to protect the environment.

Undoing the damages from past practices, as well as incorporating Best Management Proactices (BMPs) into leases and redesigning the cleanup fund escrow system to remove the numerous conflict of interest issues, as well as to give it teeth make good sense. This is especially important in light of the new application to practice aquaculture in Tomales Bay that has been recently submitted.
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Below are images showing some of the debris still left all around Tomales Bay by growers of yesteryear needing to be removed by Authentic Stewards.

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Some of the many dozens of sharp, rusty iron racks littering Tomales Bay, presenting a danger to all who boat there.

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Some of the many dozens of sharp, rusty iron racks littering Tomales Bay, presenting a danger to all who boat there.

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Four telephone-sized treated pilings and ten or so sharp rusty racks, all abandoned in The Bay long ago.

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140+ treated pilings abandoned long ago near Tom’s Point.

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Century old bat-ray fence abandoned long ago, now causing sedimentation in the southern bay as well as providing hard substrate for the invasive oyster drill to colonize upon as well as lay many, many thousands of eggs. These oyster drills prey upon the threatened native Olympia Oyster

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Tomales Bay Triptych – Preston Point Sheep Grazing

Click an image for a larger version.

Do sheep belong in a wetlands area?

Sheep grazng on wetlands at Preston Point. ~ 400 meters away are millions of oysters growing in the mudflats.

Sheep grazng on wetlands at Preston Point. ~ 400 meters away are millions of oysters growing in the mudflats.

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Sheep grazng on wetlands at Preston Point. ~ 400 meters away are millions of oysters growing in the mudflats.

Sheep grazng on wetlands at Preston Point. ~ 400 meters away are millions of oysters growing in the mudflats.

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Sheep grazng on wetlands at Preston Point. ~ 400 meters away are millions of oysters growing in the mudflats.

Sheep grazng on wetlands at Preston Point. ~ 400 meters away are millions of oysters growing in the mudflats.

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Save our Tomales Bay – 39 Leasewalk M430-17, Point Reyes Oyster Company, a 2nd look

Click the words above “Save our Tomales Bay – 39 Leasewalk M430-17…” to see this entire post.

March 2015 I shared some disturbing images of an area used (misused) by Point Reyes Oyster Company to grow oysters using a method known as rack & bag culture. Click here to see that post.

August 2015 a meeting was held at Marconi Center in Marshall where most growers and most agencies with jurisdiction over Tomales Bay were present. The owner of PROC was present as I made a presentation on the state of the messes left by mariculture practices in Tomales Bay for nearly a century. See that presentation here.

At this meeting, the owner of PROC stated that he did not like losing gear and would appreciate it if I, or anyone else that found his abandoned oyster/clam bags would simply return them to him.

Another attendee of this meeting, Tom Baty mentioned that as the leader of the Tomales Bay cleanup project for 11 years, this group, at the suggestion of the growers, would leave found bags at the boat ramp at Marconi Cove for the growers to pickup. Tom stated that no bags were ever picked up by the growers.

November 2015 I recorded images of this area yet again. It appears that no effort had been made to pick up any of the bags strewn about on the bay bottom. Watch the 6 minute video below and see for yourself.

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Click on this image, then click again to see it in great detail.

Overhead view of rack & bag culture area on lease M-430-17.

Overhead view of rack & bag culture area on lease M-430-17.

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Harsh winds and waves disperses these bags all over the bay. In the wetlands at the mouth of Walker Creek, in less than three weeks, salt grass and pickleweed grow through the mesh and almost completely cover a grow out bag, making it a permanent and invisible part of the precious ecosystem that is Tomales Bay.

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This bag lay here for less than 3 weeks.

This bag lay here for less than 3 weeks.

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If growers what to continue to use public waters to make a profit, they need to show greater respect for the planet. Improving their methods so they lose less gear, and recovering any lost gear themselves.

Likewise, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife needs to take a more active role in enforcing litter laws and actually monitoring the leases they administer on a regular basis.

In the future, additional coastodians near Morro Bay and Humboldt Bay will help ensure growers adhere to Best Management Practices [soon to be included in all mariculture leases]. These new coastodians will also monitor the job being done by agencies whose mission is oversight of growers profiting from public lands and waters

Each year, 8 million metric tons of plastic are dumped into the seas of our tiny planet. Each of us needs to redouble our efforts in making sure we are not adding to that number, and, that we do all we can to help others meet the same goal.

According to a recent report by The World Economic Forum, by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.

CSIRO researchers predict that plastic ingestion will affect 99 per cent of the world’s seabird species by 2050, based on current trends. Study abstract here.

Be sure to click to watch on a large screen and click the small rectangular icon in the lower right of the video window to view in full-screen mode.

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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 22 Leasewalk M430-17, Point Reyes Oyster Company

Click the words above “Save our Tomales Bay – Part 22 Leasewalk M430-17…” to see this entire post.

On 14 March I paid a visit to the large lease operated by Point Reyes Oyster Company (PROC) at the mouth of Walker Creek.

Below you can see some images showing the state of this leased area on that day.

I have lifted and shaken many bags on this lease, and as far as I can tell, all the oysters in these bags are dead.

Other oyster growers may be dropping zip ties by the thousands into Tomales Bay, but Point Reyes Oyster Company seems to prefer to drop plastic coated copper wire with the same fervor.

Can all this plastic and copper be good for the native organisms living (trying to live) in Tomales Bay?

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Area in bright polygon depicts lease M-430-17, the area shown in the images below.

Area in bright polygon depicts lease M-430-17, the area shown in the images below.

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Grow-out bags laying in the mud, racks in a state of disrepair on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

Grow-out bags laying in the mud, racks in a state of disrepair on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

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About 20 pounds of plastic coated copper wire i picked up from under the racks, laying in the mud on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

About 20 pounds of plastic coated copper wire i picked up from under the racks, laying in the mud on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

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Mystery cloth serving unknown purpose (other than littering) on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

Mystery cloth serving unknown purpose (other than littering) on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

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Mystery cloth serving unknown purpose (other than littering) on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

Mystery cloth serving unknown purpose (other than littering) on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

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Mystery cloth serving unknown purpose (other than littering) on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

Mystery cloth serving unknown purpose (other than littering) on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

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Abandoned grow-out bag laying in the mud on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

Abandoned grow-out bag laying in the mud on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

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Abandoned grow-out bag laying in the mud on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

Abandoned grow-out bag laying in the mud on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

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Grow-out bags laying in the mud on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

Grow-out bags laying in the mud on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

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Grow-out bags laying in the mud on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

Grow-out bags laying in the mud on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

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Racks in a state of disrepair on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

Racks in a state of disrepair on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

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Grow-out bags laying in the mud, racks in a state of disrepair on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

Grow-out bags laying in the mud, racks in a state of disrepair on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.

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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 21 Leasewalk M430-15, M-430-10 of Hog Island Oysters

Click the words above “Save our Tomales Bay Part 21 Leasewalk M430-15…” to see this entire post.

On 22 March I paid a visit to the large lease operated by Hog Island Oysters (HIO) near Tom’s Point (lease M-430-15), and another Hog Island lease at the mouth of Walker Creek (lease M-430-10).

I’ve been mostly sharing findings on the leases run by Tomales Bay Oyster Company (TBOC) due to the ease of access to the southern lease, as well as because their leases are some of the messiest places on the bay.

Getting to the far north lease of HIO takes more time and energy, so I don’t get there too often.

Often I am asked by people “What about Hog Island? Do they make as big a mess as TBOC?)

My usual response is “All the growers make a mess, HIO makes the least mess from what I can tell.”

Until now, I thought TBOC and crew were the only culprits when it came to cutting and dropping zip-ties into the bay during harvest. I found 54 zip-ties on this day along a very short section of shore, with only moderate effort.

As you can see from the images below, HIO has room to improve their methods.

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

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Green polygon depicts Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15, near Tom's Point. Red arrow points to location where abandoned grow-out bags were left on 22 March. Each yellow pin shows location of abandoned grow-out bag. T21 is where I reattached 3 bags of live oysters to anchor line.

Green polygon depicts Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15, near Tom’s Point. Red arrow points to location where abandoned grow-out bags were left on 22 March. Each yellow pin shows location of abandoned grow-out bag. T21 is where I reattached 3 bags of live oysters to anchor line.

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned Hog Island Oysters grow-out bag hauled out on Pierce Point (PRNS) on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned Hog Island Oysters grow-out bag hauled out on Pierce Point (PRNS) on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned??? Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags on lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned??? Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags on lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags on lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags on lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned oyster rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned oyster rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned oyster rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned oyster rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned??? oyster grow-out bag on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned??? oyster grow-out bag on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned oyster rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned oyster rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned oyster rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned oyster rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned oyster grow-out bag on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned oyster grow-out bag on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned oyster grow-out bag on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned oyster grow-out bag on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned ??? oyster grow-out bags on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned ??? oyster grow-out bags on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned oyster rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned oyster rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned oyster rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned oyster rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Recovered bags with live oysters, now reattached on lease M-430-15, see waypoint T21 on map at top of post.

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Recovered bags with live oysters, now reattached on lease M-430-15, see waypoint T21 on map at top of post.

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags collected adjacent to lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags collected adjacent to lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags collected adjacent to lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags collected adjacent to lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags collected adjacent to lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags collected adjacent to lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Pisaster ocreceus that was inside a nearly empty, mostly buried in mud, bag of dead manilla clams

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Pisaster ocreceus that was inside a nearly empty, mostly buried in mud, bag of dead manilla clams

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags (with live oysters) collected adjacent to lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned Hog Island Oysters grow-out bags (with live oysters) collected adjacent to lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Stanway oyster racks and abandoned rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Stanway oyster racks and abandoned rack lumber on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Stanway oyster racks on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Stanway oyster racks on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Stanway oyster racks on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Stanway oyster racks on Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-10 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned zip-ties, rope remnants, float, grow-out bag remnants, PVC pipe remnants, collected from shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 and Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease M-430-04 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned zip-ties, rope remnants, float, grow-out bag remnants, PVC pipe remnants, collected from shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 and Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease M-430-04 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned zip-ties, rope remnants, float collected from shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned zip-ties, rope remnants, float collected from shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned zip-ties & rope remnants, float collected on shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned zip-ties & rope remnants, float collected on shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned zip-ties collected on shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned zip-ties collected on shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned rope remnants collected on shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned rope remnants collected on shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned zip-ties collected on shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned zip-ties collected on shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned zip-ties collected on shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned zip-ties collected on shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

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©Richard James - coastodian.org Abandoned zip-ties collected on shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

©Richard James – coastodian.org
Abandoned zip-ties collected on shore adjacent to Hog Island Oysters lease M-430-15 on 22 March, 2015

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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 18.5, Walker Creek mess, much progress

Click the words “Save our Tomales Bay…..” above to see this entire post.

On 22 March I once again visited the oyster lease area at the mouth of Walker Creek in Tomales Bay.

I am pleased to report that much work has taken place and the amount of debris is significantly less. There are still many large diameter PVC pipes of unknown length in the channel, as well as shell-filled oyster bags to recover, though it seems these too will be removed.

This short video will show you the status of this structure as of 22 March, 2015.

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Here is a view of the structure as I am drifting down Walker Creek channel.

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What follows are some stills of the area that is being returned to a natural state.

As always, click on an image to see it larger.

Area of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

Area of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

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mostly submerged PVC tubes and shell-filled growout bags at area of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

mostly submerged PVC tubes and shell-filled growout bags at area of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

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pile of PVC tubes at area of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

pile of PVC tubes at area of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

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South end of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

South end of unpermitted structure in Tomales Bay at Walker Creek

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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 18.4, Walker Creek mess, progress continues

Click the words “Save our Tomales Bay…..” above to see this entire post.

Yesterday (14 March) I once again visited the oyster lease area at the mouth of Walker Creek in Tomales Bay.

This short video will show you the status of this structure as of 14 March, 2015.

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Here is another view from my boat as I drifted by it, Pierce Point Ranch is seen in the background along with Pierce Point.

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As always, click an image to see a larger version

TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek - Tomales Bay

TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek – Tomales Bay

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TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek - Tomales Bay

TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek – Tomales Bay

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TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek - Tomales Bay

TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek – Tomales Bay

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TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek - Tomales Bay

TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek – Tomales Bay

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PVC tubes from TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek - Tomales Bay

PVC tubes from TBOC unpermitted dike on Walker Creek – Tomales Bay

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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 19, Abandoned oyster bags, same as it ever was

Click the words “Save our Tomales Bay…..” above to see this entire post.

Last week, in addition to monitoring the progress of the removal of the illegal dike along Walker Creek as it enters Tomales Bay, I engaged in a regular activity when boating on Tomales Bay, picking up abandoned oyster grow-out bags.

This day I found nearly fifty. The map below shows where I found the bags this day, as well as where I left them piled up (see red arrows).

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coastodian cleanup map from 2015.03.06

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A map showing the location of the bags where found, as well as where I stacked them so that the growers might come out and recover them will be posted here on Friday [I neglected to upload it along with the images of the trash].

The images that follow show that many of these bags have been there for weeks, or months. One sees pickleweed or salt grass growing through the bag, holding it tightly in place, where, if it were not for me to yank it out of the vegetation, it would likely become part of the environment forever.

This speaks to the urgent need of the growers to do weekly patrols of their leases and a large area near the leases to recover the scores and scores of bags that go missing each week.

The banner image shows the many pieces of plastic coated wire carelessly dropped to the mud after serving the needs of the short-sighted oyster farmer. Note that the plastic insulation has begun disintegrating. This plastic will eventually enter the food chain of the very oysters being raised.

You can see a larger version of the wire image below. These wires were collected in less than 15 minutes as I walked along two rows of rusting iron racks that once held oysters in place to feed on the algae. These two rows were a fraction of the total rows of racks. So what you see is a tiny fraction of the plastic coated copper wire dropped as so much litter. These racks are located in the area leased by Point Reyes Oyster Company, lease M-430-17.

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

long ago abandoned grow-out bag

long ago abandoned grow-out bag

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bundle of 17 bags abandoned north of Walker Cr., east of Preston Point

bundle of 17 bags abandoned north of Walker Cr., east of Preston Point

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bundle of 17 bags abandoned north of Walker Cr., east of Preston Point

bundle of 17 bags abandoned north of Walker Cr., east of Preston Point

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Stanway rack board, I find these all over Tomales Bay, used primarily by Hog Island Oysters

Stanway rack board, I find these all over Tomales Bay, used primarily by Hog Island Oysters

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Abandoned 25" TV tube, full of lead

Abandoned 25″ TV tube, full of lead

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TV inner workings

TV inner workings

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TV inner workings

TV inner workings

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RJames-1397

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RJames-1398

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RJames-1399

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RJames-1400

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RJames-1401

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RJames-1402

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RJames-1403

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deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

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deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

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deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

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deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

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deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

deteriorating plastic-coated copper wire recovered from Point Reyes Oyster Company lease

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This bundle of Tomales Bay Oyster Company bags was found a 1/2 mile up Walker Creek buried in the mud mid-channel, east of the Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease

This bundle of Tomales Bay Oyster Company bags was found a 1/2 mile up Walker Creek buried in the mud mid-channel, east of the Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease

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IMG_1382.cw

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 Tomales Bay Oyster Company workers leave these hay hooks all over the place in Tomales Bay, I find them in the mud, rusted in half, or whole like this one

Tomales Bay Oyster Company workers leave these hay hooks all over the place in Tomales Bay, I find them in the mud, rusted in half, or whole like this one

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PVC pipe, grow-out bag and rope collected on or near the Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease

PVC pipe, grow-out bag and rope collected on or near the Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease

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PVC pipe, grow-out bag and rope collected on or near the Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease

PVC pipe, grow-out bag and rope collected on or near the Tomales Bay Oyster Company lease

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PVC pipes, nearly buried in the mud. The TBOC leases have these pipes in varying states of buried-ness ALL OVER their leases.

PVC pipes, nearly buried in the mud. The TBOC leases have these pipes in varying states of buried-ness ALL OVER their leases.

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RJames-1404

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RJames-1405

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RJames-1406

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RJames-1407

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RJames-1408

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RJames-1409

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RJames-1410

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Abandoned bag, buried in the mud. There are likely thousands of these buried beneath the mud surface

Abandoned bag, buried in the mud. There are likely thousands of these buried beneath the mud surface

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RJames-1412

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Abandoned bag, buried in the mud. There are likely thousands of these buried beneath the mud surface

Abandoned bag, buried in the mud. There are likely thousands of these buried beneath the mud surface

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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 18.3, Walker Creek mess, some progress

Click the words “Save our Tomales Bay…..” above to see this entire post.

Yesterday (6 March) I once again visited the oyster lease area at the mouth of Walker Creek in Tomales Bay.

Prior to reaching the site of an unpermitted structure that has been altering the natural flow of Walker Creek for years, I was blessed with the sight of hundreds of marbled godwits, seasoned with some willets and sanderlings.

There is evidence of progress in the cleanup, which is good.

There is also evidence that the scope of this egregious misuse of the public commons is greater than even I imagined.

The number of plastic grow-out bags used to form a channel moving dike is uncountable. The bags and PVC pipe used to anchor them go on forever into the channel they have harassed for years.

Let’s hope that Tomales Bay Oyster Company keeps at it and quickly removes this pox on an industry whose welcome is teetering on the edge of worn out in some quarters.

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

IMG_0282.cw

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IMG_0283.cw

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IMG_0284.cw

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IMG_0285.cw

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IMG_0286.cw

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IMG_0288.cw

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IMG_0287.cw

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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.