News

Water district wins desal appeal

05/30/2013
A desalination plant proposed by Marin Municipal Water District over a decade ago won a small victory when an appeals court this week struck down a Marin County Superior Court ruling that found the project’s Environmental Impact Review (EIR) inadequate. Research for the proposed desalination plant, which was given a...

Impacts of ocean acidity feed oyster grower’s research

05/30/2013
A handful of what looks like damp, grayish cereal sits in a plastic tub on Hog Island Oyster Company owner Terry Sawyer’s desk. It looks like small cornflakes, or maybe cooked quinoa. But actually these are spat: many hundreds of tiny “seed” oysters, each barely a millimeter wide. The hope is that each spat will grow into a tasty treat on the half-shell—but most of this batch is already dead. Like many terrestrial farmers, Mr. Sawyer buys his seed from distributors. In recent years, however, it has become harder to get and harder to grow. Since 2006, West Coast oyster hatcheries have suffered catastrophic collapses, which have led to widespread shortages. The reason? Ocean acidification, a phenomenon that many call the evil twin of climate change. “This has huge impacts, from...

Drakes Bay splits with Cause

05/30/2013
A controversial alliance between a government accountability group and Drakes Bay Oyster Company hit the chopping block on Friday when the company and three of its pro bono law firms split with Cause of Action. The conservative watchdog has stirred unease for both oyster farm supporters and wilderness advocates due...

Homes burn at Spaletta Ranch

05/30/2013
Two mobile homes on the Spaletta Ranch were destroyed Tuesday night in a fire that took the homes of nine people, including three young children and three employees of the organic dairy operating in Point Reyes National Seashore. Winds from the west pushed flames originating in the bedroom of the home of brothers Miguel and Carlos...

Jury fears future of Marin’s trash

05/23/2013
Unused paper plates, crumpled wrappers from long-gone hamburgers, a Starbucks cup, a cracked CD, tattered plastic bags: These were just some of the debris atop the roughly 17 million cubic yards of waste at the Redwood Landfill (RLI) in Novato, the contentious subject of a Marin Civil Grand Jury report...

Sanctuary seeks ban of new bay invasives

05/23/2013
Federal officials are proposing scaled-down regulations to close a loophole they say is threatening more than 300 square miles of federally protected coastal waters in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary with the introduction of non-native and genetically modified species. The proposed restrictions, which were endorsed by the Gulf of the Farallones’ advisory council on Wednesday, have been pared back from an 2008 proposal that would have put a cap on Tomales Bay mariculture. The current proposal would allow current and future mariculture with introduced species like oysters, mussels and clams in all 10.3 square miles of Tomales Bay—as well as catch-and-release of the non-native striped bass throughout the sanctuary and in another protected area off of the coast of Monterey. Staff of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and members of the advisory council have said that aquaculture operations—a nearly $4 million annual harvest in Tomales Bay—are at odds with the agency’s mission to protect and preserve natural habitats. Those statements...

Outdoor recreation on the rise

05/23/2013
There are new signs that outdoor recreational tourism remains strong in California, as more than 7.8 million people observed, hunted and fished the state’s wildlife in 2011, according to data released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Census Bureau. The most popular outdoor activity is wildlife viewing, with 6.7 million participants. There were 1.7 million fishers, mostly residents, who spent $2.3 billion. They spent an average of 14 days on the water, up from 11 in 2006. Nearly 400,000 hunters spent $2,419 per trip, $964 million in total, on equipment, licenses and other expenses on trips that averaged 17 days. Anglers spent $1,333 and wildlife watchers spent $533. The survey, which is released every five years, counts residents and non-residents over age 16 who went birding, photographed and fed wildlife, as well as those who hunted and fished game. The survey buttressed evidence from others that have shown 2011 and 2012 to be strong years for West Marin’s...

Fund issues second grant round

05/23/2013
KWMR, Bolinas Community Land Trust and Turtle Island Restoration Network are just a few of the 20 local organizations awarded funds from the new West Marin Fund in its second round of grants. The latest project, which doled out a total of $50,000, encourages youth to become involved in nonprofits...

Court asked to fine Kevin Lunny

05/23/2013
Marin Superior Court has been asked to fine Drakes Bay Oyster Company for what the California Coastal Commission (CCC) calls the “intentional and knowing” violation of state law and the agency’s orders. The commission’s filing came in response to two ongoing lawsuits on behalf of the oyster farm alleging that...

CCC backs down on tavern pier

05/23/2013
The California Coastal Commission has removed what the East Bay owners of the Marshall Tavern see as the “most egregious provision” of their coastal permit, which is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit, the property’s attorneys said. Tavern owners Daniel Altman and Avi Atid say they can continue with their...

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