Snowy plovers, with helping hands, increase in seashore

In spite of ravens, wind and sprawling invasive grasses, Western snowy plovers’ nests have nearly tripled at Point Reyes National Seashore since last year. Still, the seashore’s snowy plover biologist, Carolyn Campbell, worries. Half of the federally threatened birds’ 20 nests have failed this breeding season, which began in March. Just two of seven failed last year. Ms. Campbell surveys a roughly six-mile stretch from Kehoe Beach to North Beach five days a week, combing the sand for nests, called scrapes. Around the most vulnerable sites, she sets up a 5-foot-wide by 5-foot–high circular cage, known as an exclosure. Though the breeding season ends in September, it can take 60 days for a snowy plover’s offspring to reach maturity: about three to nest, three to mate and lay eggs, 28 to incubate the eggs, and...

Midwives hope for autonomy from state bill

Legislation passed by the state assembly in May and by a senate committee on Monday would ease some restrictions faced by midwives in California but would not lift a requirement of physician oversight. That law, though currently unenforced, effectively bars Medi-Cal recipients—25 to 30 percent of Marin’s pregnant women—from midwifery services. Pushing to allow licensed midwives to operate independently and lawfully are both midwives themselves and a coalition representing families. They say home birth offers a holistic model of pregnancy that empowers women during the nine-month journey to motherhood as well as during birth. Assembly Bill 1308 would ensure that licensed midwives have access to medical supplies, lab tests and other necessities to serve women seeking to give birth in their homes; it would also allow...

County will sit on Chicken Ranch 

Restoration plans for a popular section of beach on Tomales Bay don’t appear to be in the cards in the near future, but the proposal to recreate a floodplain and wetlands system at Chicken Ranch Beach has garnered two different price tags. Tomales Bay Watershed Council in May sent a proposal to restore a section of Third Valley Creek, which bisects the beach on the southern end, to the parks department and Board of Supervisors. The plan, developed with county involvement over eight years, addresses an intractable water quality problem that plagues Channel B. The strip of land often dries up during the summer but fills during storms and the rainy season; it also acts as an end point for much of the animal feces and waste in the nearby watershed. Neysa King, coordinator for the council, pegs the cost of the restoration...

Plastic bag ban upheld in court

Retailers in unincorporated Marin are still banned from giving out single-use bags after the First District Court of Appeals ruled in favor last week of the county’s 2011 ordinance against dispensing bags for one-time use. About 40 retail stores in unincorporated areas of Marin are affected by the ban, according...

Longtime UCCE advisor retires

UC Cooperative Extension advisor Ellie Rilla retires today after 25 years with the agency, leaving a legacy of fostering water conservation, agriculture and agritourism in Marin and Sonoma Counties, according to a press release. Ms. Rilla brought in 75 grants totaling $9 million for a gamut of projects conducted throughout...

Terrace bluff stabilization sought

The Marin County Deputy Zoning Administrator will hear a Bolinas resident’s application for a coastal permit today to build an underground concrete pier wall and beams to strengthen the bluff under the cliffside Terrace Avenue property. The emergency repair results from ongoing slides that have exposed four feet of the...

Drug charges filed in batting case

A photographer and former Inverness Park resident who allegedly attempted to murder her roommate has also been officially brought up on drug charges. Kelsey Winterkorn, 26, has been in custody since allegedly beating her roommate on the head with a baseball bat and then repeatedly ramming her vehicle, a distinctively...

Bolinas asked to curb water use

The Bolinas Community Public Utility District is asking town residents to immediately curb landscaping in light of a sharp rise in water use. District manager Jennifer Blackman attributed the increase to both the dry winter and people “losing their vigilance” in terms of water conservation. “This last weekend, it went way up,” she said. Although temporary water rationing in 2009, which limited households to 150 gallons a day, had a significant lasting impact in subsequent years, conservation has declined in 2013. While Ms. Blackman noted the surprise rains early this week were welcome and will temporarily allay the need for water used for landscaping, “I don’t believe it will make the kind of difference that will mean we don’t need to remind people that they need to be conserving...

Complaints from Tomales High

A group of parents at last Thursday’s Shoreline Unified School District board meeting expressed concerns over the school counselor at Tomales High, claiming he has unfairly told some students that they are not “college material.” The parents have hopes that, with a new superintendent taking the helm in July, action...

Cob oven puts a finishing touch on Bolinas park

The latest incarnation of a parcel of land in downtown Bolinas long known as Burnt Park received a finishing touch this weekend as volunteers installed a steel barrel oven covered in a natural building material called cob. Though the long-term maintenance plan for the lot remains unclear, the park has come a long way. The roughly 50,000 square-foot lot was purchased by the Mesa Park Board with funds from Michael Moritz, a Welsh venture capitalist who owns a house in town, from Ernie and James Tacherra. The Tacherras had owned the land since 1971, a few years before the lot’s former owner burned...


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