Coastal Post Online


August, 2003

The Irony Of It All
By Judy Borello

Tomales Bay. Let's take, for instance, the 75% reduction of coliform in Tomales Bay. Is it realistic? No!!! Has it been studied and tested long enough where it has proven scientific data behind it? No!!! Will it be costly to do so? Yes! Should it be done? Yes, if you want to really know what we are dealing with instead of shot gunning agriculture, septic, or wildlife without knowing what we are aiming at, let alone what we are aiming for.

If the goal of 75% is ever reached, which I doubt, we will have a really dying bay. Coliform, I've learned, has a lot of nutrients which a lot of creatures feed on and it fertilizes the Bay's bottom. So remove the coliform and deaden the Bay.

Now what could be harmful to oysters, people, etc. is e-coli and pathogens of a sick and unhealthy nature.

When Sonny Grossi, the President of Marin County Farm Bureau, and I embarked July 15 on a seven and a half hour around the clock meeting starting at 1:00 in the afternoon and ending at 8:30 at night, I was worn out and never wanted to hear another abbreviation such as TMDL or WDR ever again. And the worst was totally sick: about 7 hours of being briefed on the word "defecates."

Now I run the Borello septic ponds every day. Day in and day out I communicate with the manger Marty Medin and we discuss septic-what level the ponds are at and how many hauls have been brought in. So then discussing things of a fecal matter for 7 hours straight really did it for me. "I don't want to talk 'shit' at all today," I told Marty the next day. But discussing it is a lot cleaner than what Marty has to do!

Professor Chris Kitts, a Cal-Poly biologist, explained his study of Morro Bay and found that the main sources of e-coli were birds, humans, cattle, dogs and wildlife. Morro Bay is a lot smaller than Tomales Bay. The Morro Bay Watershed is 77 square miles compared to Tomales Bay Watershed at 216 square miles. Morro Bay is 3.5 miles long, while Tomales Bay is 12 miles long. Morro Bay's depth is 11 feet while Tomales is 20 feet. The flushing action of Morro Bay is a lot greater than Tomales Bay. The rainfall at Morro Bay is 18 inches while Tomales is 35 inches. The human population of Morro Bay is 25,000 while Tomales is 11,000. The shellfish population in Morro Bay is 260 acres leased to 513 acres leased in Tomales Bay.

Now common sense tells me that human waste would be the number one culprit in that Morro Bay is a lot smaller than Tomales Bay with many more human inhabitants. But it isn't. It's the birds.

Since Tomales Bay's human population is a lot smaller and the oyster population a lot bigger, could it be that oysters "shit" in their own beds and cause a lot of the problem themselves? Every living creature takes in "stuff" and lets out "stuff." So why not the almighty oyster?

Why do the Invernessians think they control the whole bay? On the west shore of Tomales Bay, they reside and build homes at a steady pace and a mile or so across the bay live the Pt. Reyesians, who can't build a home on their own property because the Invernessians won't allow it. The Invernessians constantly dictate, or try to, on agriculture which has nothing to do with their west shore of the bay. I guess they can see the cows across the bay out of their picture windows and it probably disturbs them when they see a cow make a cow patty.

The paranoia of development on agricultural lands is just that, paranoia. When was the last time a rancher on the east shore of Tomales Bay built a home naked to the bay? Probably not since Bob Giacomini's house was built in the late 60s or 70s.

And let's take on the fish issue while we're at it. If the fish come back big time out here, what will happen? In the big picture, I see so many "day trippers" and "weekend warriors" coming to the area from several counties away to fish that even the locals will not find solace and peace in their own endeavors of fishing.

A few zealot environmentalists have professed wanting the creeks and streams to turn back 100 years ago when they were supposedly laden with fish. Well, I say dredge the bay because it's becoming Mud Flat Bay, and make it like it was 100 years ago where the schooners go all the way down to the Olema Farmhouse Restaurant.

Some of this article is done tongue in cheek, but a lot of it is true. The more man tinkers without scientific facts, the more he makes mistakes and then he finds out what he really didn't know!

PS Since the best of our summer months are yet to come, ENJOY! And tell your kids not to pee in the bay, the river or a creek because the "taste police" will get them for poisoning the oysters!



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