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June, 2006


Moo Town News
Pt. Rayesins News
By Judy Borello

Boo! Boo! The State Water Resources Control Board last week approved the long-fought Tomales Bay Cleanup Plan. The ranchers, some environmentalists, some doctors of science and biologists fought this plan for years based on the premise that the State Water Quality Control Board (SWQCB) would not base their testing for pathogens and bacteria sources on modern DNA testing, which shows animal and what kind of animal, human, and birds.
Not only was the Water Board's science inadequate. It also ignored the written public comments and oral testimony.

A study was conducted by UC Santa Barbara Professor Dr. Patricia Holden in October of 2004. The state Board asks the question, "Does this analysis present a sufficient scientific justification to proceed with adoption and implementation of the TMDL?"

Not in the opinion of this reviewer.
Dr. Corey Goodman of Marshall said, "The state water board review is unlike any scientific peer review process that I have seen, and appears to have (serious) deficiencies in protecting the integrity of the scientific process."

At the Regional Board's meeting in April, 2005, many scientific objections identical to those heard last week including Mark Commandatore's letter to the State Water Quality Control Board. Mark works for the California Department of Health Services and he stated, "The regional board's appraisal may not be adequate to improve and protect water quality."

So what does this mean to the ranchers and home owners along Tomales Bay? It spells big trouble. It means that the State Water Board can "shotgun" the Bay and all its tributaries, guessing at the problem rather than knowing precisely what the problem is if it had used DNA testing.

The cost of this plan would be $15 million paid by the stakeholders along the Bay, which are ranchers, homeowners and businesses. The board wants us to pay for a plan that doesn't make any sense at all.

Compare the cost of $15 million to the $1 to $2 million it would take to have DNA testing which would show emphatically if the pathogens are coming from wild herds, domestic or wild animals, or humans. The State Water Control Board has paid for this kind of DNA testing in other areas such as Sonoma County.

Does this make sense? No, but it's job security for them. They can spend lots of time prodding and poking around, have meetings to discuss what they think they've found instead of solving the problem scientifically and efficiently!

On the oyster front, a study conducted by Jesse Wechsler which led to his master's thesis from UC Davis in 2004 in Marine Biology, concluded, "There is no statistically significant difference in fish abundance or species richness among the sampling locations." This indicated that the oyster farm had not exerted a noticeable effect on the fauna of Drake's Estero.

The gist of this is that the National Park wants to close the oyster company in 2012 and convert the estuary to wilderness.

Many of us don't want this to happen and it sure was refreshing to have research proving the fact the oysters are not harming the estuary.

Many in this area want to see Lunny's Drake's Bay Oyster Company stay because the Lunny's have done a great job refurbishing the buildings and supply 50% of oysters in California. The family has worked hard to improve the oyster beds. One thing that stands out with the Lunny's is INTEGRITY. And I'm selfish like everybody else out here. I like the oysters. I like them a lot!

PS Don't forget Western Weekend and the parade June 4th at High Noon. It should be a bash!!!

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