Disagrees with Dr. Marty Griffin
I am grateful we still have a free press in West Marin, and that Dr. Marty Griffin has a platform to express his concerns over the lawsuit filed against the California Coastal Commission (CCC) by Phyllis Faber and the Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture (ALSA). Dr. Griffin does a good job of reviewing a few of the many charges brought against the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm (DBOF) by the CCC in its ongoing collaboration with the National Park Service in an illegal and decidedly immoral campaign against aquaculture on over 55% of the State of California’s water bottom shellfish leases.
I would like to thank Dr. Griffin for his years of service to the cause of conservation in Marin, and express my regret that he has apparently swallowed the narrative of the pro-wilderness faction that has nearly succeeded in destroying the single most important sustainable marine protein source of our community.
I could not disagree more with Dr. Griffin’s view of oysters as an irrelevant luxury food item, readily replaceable with seaweed in the human diet. I invite him to review the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s list of “super green” seafoods. Johnson’s Oyster Company (JOC) harvested some 800,000 pounds of shucked oysters annually prior to the company’s collapse. The planting of 19 million oysters may sound significant to those unfamiliar with the production process, but the net effect is that DBOF has gradually rebuilt the farm’s annual harvest to about 400,000 shucked pounds, roughly half that of JOC.
I would also invite Dr. Griffin to learn more about Didemnum vexillum, which is ubiquitous in estuaries globally. Oyster culture did not cause its presence in Drakes Estero, and it is not possible to eradicate it, even if all cultured oysters were removed.
I also want to reassure Dr. Griffin that there is nothing frivolous about our lawsuit, undertaken only after much deliberation and careful legal analysis by our pro bono legal team. I was particularly moved by the anguish expressed during our pre-filing deliberations by Ms. Faber, whose own lifetime of laudable service to the cause of conservation in Marin rivals even Dr. Griffin’s, including her tireless efforts to help bring about the Coastal Act and her service on the original CCC. I would have hoped, therefore, that the suit, and Ms. Faber’s participation in it, would have given Dr. Griffin, and many others, cause to review CCC actions in this matter.
Fortunately, for those of us who care about abuse of government power and the future of food production in our community, the presiding judge does not appear to have agreed with Dr. Griffin regarding the lawsuit being frivolous.
As made clear in our brief, we believe the CCC has greatly exceeded its authority in this matter, working diligently against its own statutory requirements to support coastal dependent activities, particularly aquaculture, and both replicating and exceeding authorities of the Fish and Game Commission, in direct violation of the Coastal Act. We await the outcome of this case.
Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture April 25, 2013
Supports Coastal Commission, opposes Faber
I felt compelled to set the record straight after reading Phyllis Faber’s lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission. I have known and worked with Ms. Faber for many years, but her lawsuit in support of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) seeks to evade the most basic coastal regulations that sustain our coastal heritage and tourism industry.
Much of Ms. Faber’s letter is not based on fact or reality. I simply cannot stand by while she sues and places blame on a state agency that is largely responsible for California’s billion-dollar coastal tourism industry. The Coastal Commission has worked tirelessly the past several years to try to bring DBOC into legal compliance, but the company has refused.
The simple truth is that the DBOC has been in perpetual violation of the Coastal Act, and has failed for 7 years to submit a completed coastal development permit application to the Commission despite dozens of written notices and conversations making clear that this was required. DBOC’s refusal to comply with the law left the Coastal Commission with no choice but to initiate enforcement proceedings. And this is not the first time – in 2007, DBOC entered into a Consent Order in an attempt to bring it into Coastal Act compliance. Unfortunately, the record shows that DBOC violated that Order repeatedly which finally led the Commission to initiate proceedings to protect the invaluable coastal and ecological resources in Drakes Estero wilderness area.
No other aquaculture operation in the State has continuously engaged in such documented unlawful behavior as the DBOC. Given the DBOC’s egregiously unlawful behavior for 7 years, the Commission staff has had every right to shut down the operation. Instead, the Commission staff has spent a considerable amount of its limited staff resources to try and get this company into legal compliance but the DBOC has refused to cooperate.
During that time, the DBOC aquaculture operation went from planting approximately 100,000 non-native oysters and no invasive Manila clams to planting 19 million non-native oysters and 2 million invasive Manila clams. The DBOC’s refusal to submit a coastal development permit application deprived the Commission of the opportunity to review, assess, and mitigate the individual and cumulative adverse ecological impacts from the DBOC’s huge increase in production of non-native and invasive shellfish.
The DBOC is the only one to blame for the Cease and Desist and Restoration Orders that the Coastal Commission unanimously placed on it on February 7. DBOC’s expanded operations have allowed a highly invasive yellow tunicate, Didemnum vexillum (a.k.a. “marine vomit”) to spread all over its oysters, and even onto eelgrass. DBOC was notified by the National Academy of Sciences in 2009 that it needed a management plan to address the spread of this aggressive invader, but it did nothing. Now, after making millions of dollars and creating a biological mess, it seeks to evade its responsibility. That’s an abuse of power.
Oysters are a luxury item and a marginal source of protein – seaweed has over three times more protein than oysters. Growing oysters is not about feeding people, it’s about making money. I hope that the court will defer to the Coastal Commission – it is the state agency that rightly performed its due diligence prior to bringing the necessary Cease and Desist and Restoration Orders against the Drakes Bay Oyster Company. It would be disastrous if other commercial businesses within the coastal zone operated with impunity in this manner. Ms. Faber’s lawsuit is frivolous, and should be thrown out of court.
Dr. L. Martin “Marty” Griffin April 18, 2013
Thanks to DBOC supporters
We would like to thank over 400 people representing the community supporting the Drakes Bay Oyster Company family for coming to the benefit at Lagunitas Brewing Company on April 1. It was a rockin’ great evening of amazing food, fantastic music and above all friendship and solidarity. The shuckers could hardly shuck fast enough for the crowd who managed to consume a vast array of oysters, many of which were flown in from Virginia and Washington oyster farms that stand solidly behind Drakes Bay Oyster Company, along with the local food producers and purveyors in bountiful West Marin. The entire evening was comprised of donations of all kinds and for that we are truly thankful. We are grateful to, among others, Tomales Bay Oyster Company, Hog Island Oyster Company, Drakes Bay Oyster Company, Saltwater Oyster Depot, Osteria Stellina, Stubbs Vineyards, Sean Thackrey Vineyards, Chileno Valley Beef, Liz Cunningham, Kim Labao, Julii Ashby, Stemple Creek Ranch, Star Root Farms, Straus Family Creamery, Cow Track Ranch, Cowgirl Creamery, Point Reyes Artisan Cheese, Barenaga Ranch, Star Root Farms, Fresh Run Farms, Brickmaiden Bread, Clarks Summit Farms, Kathy Siegal, Perrys Delicatessen, Williamson Farm, the contributors of the 60 amazing silent auction items, musicians Mike Duke, Staggerwing, Midnight on the Water, Howard Dillon and Daniel Will-Harris who provided endless entertainment, the creative chefs and professional caterers, the countless and tireless volunteers, and especially Lagunitas Brewery and staff. You guys rock. It was a magical evening indeed.
Thank you all!
Barbara Garfien, Creta Pullen, and Loretta Murphy April 18-2013
The War on Plastic
Big thanks to Claudia Chapline for her thoughtful review of Ocean Plastic at the Bay Model and The True Cost of Plastic at Gallery Route One in her April 11 ARTswell column.In addition to reporting about the exhibitions and efforts to use art to effect change, she makes a strong and important statement about the action we all need to take to stem the tide of plastic pollution: STOP BUYING PLASTIC. We applaud Ms. Chaplines rallying cry to begin by not buying any plastic this Earth Day, April 22.
At Gallery Route One, we have set a sand table as the stage for a battle between the toy soldiers and the piles of plastic that we have found on Kehoe Beach. The call to action is to look. Look at the plastic invading our lives. Plastic is in our clothes, our transportation, our food packaging, our shelter, our recreation. We all know this, but we hardly realize that the occupying army has spread around us engulfing the entire nation. There has been a silent coup.
What to do? First look. Then listen. The voices that soothe us into the belief that this dictatorship of hydrocarbon is benevolent. Greenwashing abounds. Our job is to resist every bit of plastic that comes toward us. We are the rebel army. Fight fiercely with us, sisters and brothers. Draw a line in the sand.
The True Cost of Plastic at Gallery Route One, Point Reyes until April 28 with Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang.
Ocean Plastic, at the Bay Model, Sausalito until May 5 with Dino Columbo, Felicity Crush, Tess Felix, Georgia Gibbs, Richard James, Michael Knowlton, Judith Selby Lang, Richard Lang, Alex MacLean, John Norton, Lina Prairie, and Heidi Sandvoll.
April 18, 2013
Judith Selby Lang
Will the ranches be next? Published January 17
I would like to take this opportunity to agree with Paul Lesniak’s letter in the January 10 Citizen. I think the Citizen has done a good job reporting on the many-sided, complicated, and confusing issues surrounding the DBOC controversy.
Personally, if I may offer a conjecture, I think the NPS was out to get rid of the DBOC long ago, and that was when ex-Superintendent Neubacher started the ball rolling with the controversial “scientific” studies started on his watch. People in his position do not do questionable things like that except as per NPS policy that has been decided on. The case against DBOC was open and shut, all the NPS needed was something to justify their plan. “Law and Policy” as Secretary Salazar said, while on his dog & pony show here.
Another conjecture: If the “Wilderness” ruling holds up, and in spite of the lease extensions supposedly granted to the ranches, how can the NPS allow the on-going “pollution” of a “wilderness” area by the businesses (ranches) that drain into the estero? Out go the ranches.
I hope I’m wrong.
I write to thank your publication for doing such a great story on my gender transition. Reporter Mary Olsen obviously put much care and feeling into the article, and the result was quite flattering. There were a few errors, but really nothing worth mentioning except: the implication that my bus driving is limited to the Kindergarteners and First Graders of Inverness School is not quite accurate—I drive for all ages, K-12, at West Marin, Inverness, and Tomales High Schools, and even, rarely, for other schools in the district. But it’s true that more of my driving, and my heart, is with the little ones of Inverness than with any other school.
Thanks again doing so well by me.
Leslie Richelle Scott
Goodman role criticized
Assigning Cory Goodman, one of Drake’s Bay Oyster Company’s most prominent and outspoken advocates, to report on DBOC’s preliminary injunction request against the Park Service, sets up a conflict of interest. While Goodman’s article is not as overtly anti-Park Service as was Dave Mitchell’s front-page piece a while back, the fact remains that he presents only one side of the story, with nothing to counter-balance it. I have no problem with Dr. Goodman, or anyone else, writing opinion pieces that hold the Park Service’s collective feet to the fire (although I have, at times, found the rancorous tone of the discourse to be off-putting). And I realize the good folks at the Citizen are (a) understaffed, and (b) passionate about this case, as are so many people of worthy intent, both near and far. But you do your readers, and the community at large, a disservice in allowing a news article to be slanted, however subtly, in favor of one side, at the expense of the other. Should a spokesperson for the Romney campaign have been allowed to report on a Presidential debate? Surely not. The words “fair and balanced,” may have been given a black eye by Fox News. But they nonetheless continue to define the first and foremost responsibility of any newspaper in a democracy.
As for Frank Gyorgy’s accusation that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ruled the way he did vis-a-vis DBOC because he “will be resigning...to run for governor of Colorado,” and thus needs the environmental vote to win, the facts don’t support that claim. Yes, there has been some speculation that the Secretary may decide to run for governor if the present office holder, fellow Democrat John Hickenlooper, is nominated to be Secretary of Commerce, assuming he accepts, and is confirmed. No surprise there: our nation’s capital is rife with speculation about everything under the sun. But speculation does not equal truth, and hopefully never will.
Steve Quirt “What is Truth?”
In the Gospel of John, Pontius Pilate finally throws up his hands in frustration and calls out, “What is Truth?” He walks, handing the whole mess over to the mob. It is, after all, not his deal, but something in the Jewish religious realm.
Jesus has just put the decision for his fate in Pilate’s jurisdiction, with this statement, “I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.” (John 18:37) Pilate did not have the courage to bring the highest issue of truth to the table, and bailed on a significant event, “Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” he addresses the crowd. He is even a bit fearful. These guys are pissed, and they could make me a lot of trouble, he thinks. “I find no basis for a charge against him,” he cries out. (John 18:38) But the crowd wants blood, and he caves, “...it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!”
“What is Truth?” Pilates question is still ringing in our ears. Who is right? Who is wrong? What is wilderness? What is sustainable? Who is happy? Who is sad? Who breaks a law? Who obeys a law? Who interprets a law? Who writes a law? One may finally throw up ones hands and cry out, “What is truth?”
The swirling emotions and issues that accompany the Drakes Bay Oyster Company situation plead for relief, and resolution. Maybe there is a legalistic solution or practical resolution, some kind of finality. But, I don’t believe so. Any outcome will have blood on it, as so many have been injured. I talked with a friend who has associates in the Park Service, who are suffering from this. They report that the closing is like a death in the family, which echoes language from the Oyster Company supporters. There is no gloating here, but staff employees are taking hits, both emotional and verbal, from those who feel overrun by Secretary Salazar’s decision. Endless rehashing of scientific findings, law interpretations, meanings of intent, John Muir philosophy vs. working landscapes, will not lead to the truth, but unlike Pontius, we cant throw up our hands and leave it to the mob.
I have supported and encouraged the Lunny family from day one of this sad tale, but I don’t claim to know the truth, far from it. Some may claim a victory, others, an irreplaceable loss to community and culture. Many of us are confused, and this kind of confusion incubates even more confusion. Some of us will continue to fight for the lawsuit, others will watch, some will write, some will suffer, some will gloat, some will move on to other toxic issues, and some will fight for truth. But, as Pontius Pilate exclaimed 2000 years ago, some will ask “What is truth?” Maybe this is the real issue. December 13,2012
Supporting Salazar decision
You state in last week’s Citizen that you haven’t received any letters to date supporting Salazar’s decision to let the oyster company’s lease expire. My wife and I will stand up in support of his actions. At our ages, we quietly celebrated with lunch at the Pine Cone and split a big chocolate milkshake.
It seems to us that it was a relatively easy decision for Salazar to make; he just followed the law. Congress passed legislation in the ‘70s that Drakes Estero with its oyster farm, then operated by Charlie Johnson, would revert to wilderness status after the farm’s 40-year lease ended. No matter that the last years of the lease were purchased by another party. No matter what squabbles were to occur before the end of the 40 years. No matter that Drakes Estero might not meet the definition of “wilderness” in the eyes of some purists. And we’ve always supported the principle that federal park lands belong to all the people of our nation, and no private commercial enterprises should be permitted in any designated wilderness areas. We’re glad that Salazar agreed with us. But, we’re sure it wasn’t easy for Salazar, what with oyster company friends in high places and all the local support for a 10-year lease extension. But after 10 years, if the lease were extended, then what? Yes, we feel sorry whenever jobs are lost; even more so for the thousands to be let go by Citigroup (announcement the same week).
Will Salazar’s decision affect the future of cattle and dairy ranches in the park? Dick Spotswood, in his column in Sunday’s Marin Independent Journal, hypothesizes that they will go the way of the dodo within the next 20 years. He may not have heard or read statements by the current park superintendent as to the park’s commitment to ranching, or read pages 6 and 7 in Salazar’s released statements, November 29, 2012.
We’re proud to wear the title of “environmentalist” when we add up all the accomplishments made by fellow outstanding individuals and environmental groups in Marin.
We gathered names on petitions in the ‘60s to help increase funding for expanding Point Reyes National Seashore Park. We sat in on meetings about wilderness designation for some of the park. (One prominent Novato business person wanted roads through the middle of the park, so he could drive his elderly grandmother there). Some people may not have had a wilderness experience or don’t appreciate the concept. Now, Drakes Estero becomes the first marine wilderness on the west coast, effective, December 4, 2012, as stated in the Federal Register. The estero provides vital habitat to a large number of fish and wildlife, including one of the largest populations of harbor seals in California.
And the fight goes on with legal action by oyster company proponents to reverse Salazar’s decision. The nonprofit watchdog group, Cause of Action, decided to challenge the Park Service on behalf of the oyster farm. This group’s focus on regulatory overreach has led some news outlets to describe it as right-leaning. Its young director, Dan Epstein, may be an unlikely figure to head a Washington nonprofit, with a resume made up of internships, a stint at the conservative Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and 3 years on the House oversight panel. While the oyster company wants to save its farm, Cause of Action is unabashedly putting public exposure first. “Our causes are secondary and the clients we select are secondary to our educational mission,” Epstein said (Google references). Interesting as to how this may play in Marin.
Russell & Marge Ridge
Which side ??
By Richard Lang
Friends have asked, regarding my letter to the West Marin Citizen 11/15/12, “Exactly which side are you on? Was that Letter to the Editor simply another, ‘Why can’t we just get along? Kumbaya?’” Maybe...but really, it’s a plea to shift gears. Here in West Marin, two groups fought an internecine struggle while mutually engaged in a shared vision for sustainability, biodiversity, low carbon footprint, healthy farming practices – these two groups have divided themselves into what I’ve come call the Agriculturati and Wildernistas.
As I said, I’d been on both sides of the issue, but now that the decision has been made by Secretary Salazar, my feelings have settled like silt in a pond and now, I’m profoundly sad about how this went down. Families with children are affected, the Lunny family who has put heart and soul into this endeavor is affected, and we are all affected by the loss of a viable and rich source of sustainable food. Food. Not only food but also, the mighty oysters function as nature’s kidneys cleaning the estuary.
Judith, my wife, and I were in DC early this fall to give a presentation at the NEWSEUM about plastic pollution in the ocean. We were put up in a hotel used mainly by out-of-town lobbyists. During our stay we kept running into large, blond, thick-fingered folks speaking with dipthonged A’s – the accent we heard in the movie Fargo. They all had big yellow buttons saying “Ask me about the farm bill.” We did.
They were in DC from North Dakota, Iowa – Midwestern farmers lobbying for an extension of the Crop Insurance Act, a program that allows family farmers to compete with big agribusiness. The Cargills and ADMs of the world can absorb the vicissitudes of weather and pricing, but family farms, always at the financial edge, have a harder time. The farmers told us the thrust of not allowing crop insurance has allowed the agri-giants to absorb family farm after family farm. Bad news for the environment especially as the chemical industry is in the business of making farming drug-dependant – the pushers are Dow, Monsanto, Bayer, BASF – getting farmers hooked is their idea of better living through chemistry.
Disinformation abounds, just last summer the nationally distributed report from Stanford that became a media meme, said organic food wasn’t any better for you than chemically farmed food. Hmmm…. who supported that report and pushed its distribution? Although Cargill had no traceable link to the funding, they fund the department that did the study. And a group from the UK, using the same data came up with opposite results. The crucial and unspoken issue was not the food itself but what “conventional” farming does by destroying the soil, increasing dependency on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
In January of 2009 the Supreme Court acceded to the Citizen’s United case. However, corporations are not people or alive, they are robots whose only purpose is to maximize profits. The “good guys” in the contention are all of us who value the complexity of living systems. The “bad guys” are entities who have little at stake save a quarterly report. And they are not “bad,” per se – there is no evil 007 bad guy working the levers – corporations are simply mindless automatons, disconnected from biological life. Although Lunny was figured in some press reports as a corporate giant, he’s a family farmer, a neighbor and a vital member of our community.
Specifically, here in West Marin we have the opportunity to be a little more free of the burgeoning corporate food business and blessedly free of the corporate “fun” business of a Leisure World Theme Park. Handmade cheese and lettuce that doesn’t kill the soil goes a long way in my book. Let’s be a model of acting like an organism and feel our way through this. So, which side? What I’m for is creative solutions to our problems like Peggy Rathman and John Wick’s Marin Carbon Project. Lunny actually tried to DO something about the environment, raising food with sensitivity while doing an admirable job of tidying up the mess at Johnson’s. Kumbaya? There are some scary forces at work, I’m just sayin’, “lovers of the biosphere, Unite!”
Having just seen the terrific new movie Lincoln, I’m reflecting on the history of the passage of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery – how congressmen basically on the same side, were blocking passage because they weren’t getting exactly what they wanted. And, how Lincoln was masterful at making a coalition to get the bill passed.
And Lincoln, as a model for making tough legislation work, was also a prescient follower of money interests. Before his presidency, Lincoln was an early version of a corporate lawyer, defending the interests of the mushrooming corporations. His specialty was railroads so he knew the danger of the growing giants.
“As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
The passage appears in a letter from Lincoln to (Col.) William F. Elkins, Nov. 21, 1864
Today, we are poised at another history-changing moment, easily as momentous as ending slavery. It’s clear our environmental problems need another Lincoln – our relationship to the natural world must be corrected or we’re finished. And, maybe, in the end we can even get the vote for Harbor Seals.
What happens when the bad guys win? Generally, we have a bad night’s sleep. I get up early, go sit at my desk and try to write. She pulls up the covers and vainly tries to get more rest. Soon she is up and at her computer. We haven’t really spoken yet. Last Friday morning, I said, “I woke up dreaming about helicopters shooting Axis deer.” She said, “I did too. The exact same dream.” So I remembered a call-in radio show out here in West Marin a while back. An angry, distraught mother was saying that she and her two young children were driving down Hwy 1, looking out the windows and watching the NPS slaughtering Bambi. Hard to explain to the kids.
I myself am local, several decades in Tomales, several more in the region. This letter is supposed to be about Oysters. I am trying to understand what Secretary Salazar meant when he said that whatever the outcome, it will be in the best interest of the people of the United States. I remember old man Johnson, already confined to his wheelchair, chatting with us one grey afternoon. We had come out to buy some oysters – smalls or mediums was the discussion – and he said that someone was coming out to shut him down. Health and housing “issues”. He said he had just about had it with the authorities. Actually, he was going to take his shotgun, wheel himself out onto his crushed oyster shell road and wait. “Let’s see if they can get by me.” He sort of knew us – folks who had occasionally come by over the years. What little I knew of him, he could be an ornery old guy, and yet he was always friendly, funny and respectful to us. Upon his death, the State Assembly adjourned a half-day early in his honor. As we got our two dozen smalls, I noticed the shotgun propped against the wall.
So then there is Drakes Bay, the Estero, and the displacement of farm and family and workers. I see a sad old pattern in the wrenching of these farmers from their way of life. History tells us that for millennia, coastal indigenous tribes thrived off these very lands until “we” removed them like the Axis deer, seizing their lands so that we could preserve it for future generations. Talk about invasive species!
I know, I know. When the bad guys win, my friends always tell me to chill, to behave. Don’t go off half-cocked, running at the mouth. Don’t rant, distort the facts and revise history. Be civil. And yet all I can think of are the Miwoks, the Axis deer, five to ten million too-young-to-harvest oysters, another vanished farm. And all of this stems from a horribly ill-advised, misguided sense of “protectionism” that once again diminishes the very quality of our lives. We live here, damn it. Most of the bad guys don’t. My heart goes out to the Lunnys and their extended families. Their loss is our loss and we are still here as neighbors to help as we can.
Tomales December 6, 2012
Despite the lament of Rodney King and what is witnessed in the TV and movie industry output, we do ”get along.”
That said, it doesn’t serve us, West Marinites, to attempt to prove it to ourselves by adhering to some idea of our “exceptionalism”. This supposed virtue including its “above the fray” hopes, cannot exclude us from involvement in small petty disagreements or to larger contentions like the current, rather lingering Drakes Bay Oyster Company imbroglio. We are subjected to the same myriad politics, bureaucracies and personal preference divisions, whether local or national, as any other population and are subject to equally varied range of emotions and reactions.
I guess what I’m saying is – I think it’s okay to feel pissed, disappointed and even vengeful.
Appropriate expressions of these feelings should be freely expressed and encouraged. Stifling emotion, even anger, seems at a minimum false and most likely unhealthy.
While disappointing, the NPS decision on the DBOC lease is just another notch in the PRNS gun belt in regards to their dealings with the local community and dare I say “neighbor.” Unilateral decisions have been their modus operandi, and community input and reaction somewhere between nuisance and not important.
Accepting this history first, and now incorporating this current decision, I’d characterize my feelings about the NPS and the PRNS as pissed off and my reactions to them going forward as yet to be decided.
As to the Sierra Club and our Local Environmental Action Committee, whose public glee, gloating and celebration on the DBOC decision was enough to embarrass even their most avid supporters, I not only will no longer financially support them – but also will encourage all others to join me. I’m sure they can “get along” without it.
Inverness Park December 6, 2012
Thank you for your coverage of the DBOC and the Seashore over these past months.
I, along with hundreds of others, am heartsick at the final decision and orders of Secretary Salazar to immediately turn the estero into a “wilderness” ( Rather, I fear it will be a sort of Wilderness Theme Park.)
In disregarding all the evidence presented concerning the health of the land and waters, the ecology of the estero, the long tradition of that particular oyster farm, the service to the greater Bay Area in providing locally and healthfully raised seafood, Salazar conveniently passes the buck to “Law and Policy” and effectively insults the intelligence and commitment of those who took time and energy to make well-researched contributions to our understanding of the controversy.
Again, thanks to Linda Petersen, Corey Goodman, Laura Watt, Robin Carpenter and others.
Inverness. December 6
The Middle Path
I commend Charlie Morgan (Citizen, November 1) for trying to find the Buddha’s “Middle Path” on the issue of waterfowl hunting. He speaks of waterfowl hunting going on locally before many current residents moved here. However, my search for a “Middle Path” leads me to a different conclusion. Since we came here in 1971, things have changed. More people visit the National Seashore Park. Now in its 50th year, over 2 million visitors come each year to enjoy the park’s numerous attractions.
Before the National Park Service purchased the Giacomini dairy ranch in 2000, Waldo Giacomini allowed waterfowl hunting on his private property by Point Reyes Station. In 2007-2008, with the financial assistance (millions) from various state, federal and conservation groups, the park service restored the ranch to earlier wetlands conditions.
In 1968 the Tomales Bay Sportsmen organization (now TBA) petitioned the State Fish and Game Department to permit waterfowl hunting on the Tomales Bay Ecological Reserve on state lands adjacent to the Giacomini dairy ranch. They were successful in this. Of over 100 reserves in California managed by the Fish and Game, only a few permit waterfowl hunting.
Now we have a wildlife sanctuary (Giacomini Wetlands), which is attracting increasing numbers of birds including waterfowl, immediately next to a Fish and Game reserve where waterfowl hunting is permitted. It makes little sense, and is not a “Middle Path” to provide a refuge especially for migrating and resident birds and then ambush the waterfowl and disturb all other creatures.
West Marin Citizen November 8, 2012
Thanks to MALT Kitty Dolcini November 1, 2012
If you’ve travelled the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road or Hicks Valley Road, you’ve passed our ranch. It’s the one with the white Victorian house on the knoll, red barns next to fields of produce, surrounded by hills where our cattle graze. We have a farm stand where we sell our produce, eggs and beef. You’ll find our eggs at some of the best restaurants in San Francisco and Marin. Elsewhere in the Bay Area our ranch would stand out, but here in Marin we have plenty of company. In some ways our ranch looks like others you’ve seen along our local roads. The spacious open landscape and rolling hills dotted with cows and barns is an important part of the character of Marin. And it remains that way because of the work of Marin County and Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT).
We, like many of the ranchers and farmers here in Marin, faced difficult decisions concerning the future of our family home. (Our roots run deep as my generation is the fifth one making a living in Marin in agriculture. In 2018, God willing, my family will have been on this particular ranch for 100 years.) With seven siblings, each owning an equal share of the ranch, we turned to MALT for help. MALT purchased an agricultural conservation easement on the farm, which gave my brother Doug and I a way to buy out our siblings. The easement is an agreement that ensures our land will remain in agriculture in perpetuity. Its provisions also ensure continued good stewardship of the land. When MALT protected our ranch, it protected many benefits for the community – local jobs, rural landscape, local food and a link in an active wildlife area. Our place is also open to the public through MALT’s Hikes, Tours & Talks program. The Strawberry Family Day at Dolcini’s Red Hill Ranch has offered grandparents, parents and kids a way to learn where their food comes from.
I support the Marin County Board of Supervisors in their decision to put a quarter cent sales tax measure on the ballot so that the county will be able to provide funds that will in part support MALT’s work to save other farms that need help. More than half of the local farms in Marin are still in need of protection. State and Federal funds for farm and ranch land protection are in steep decline; it is now up to all of us who live, work and visit here to protect the farms and ranches in our backyard. If we don’t help protect these places, we risk losing forever an important part of what makes the quality of life here in Marin so special. Please join me in supporting Marin County’s sales tax measure to support parks, open space and farmland.
ACTION TOMALES BAY: MAKING TOMALES BAY SAFE FOR PEOPLE AND WILDLIFE.
Please visit www.actiontomalesbay.org to find out why a group has organized to address the issue of hunting in the Tomales Bay Ecological Preserve.