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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

April, 2007



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Local Briefs

Tomasini Creek
Residents above where Tomasini Creek crosses under Highway One in Point Reyes Station are getting frustrated by the continuing silting up in the channel under the short bridge.
Since growing silt is impeding full creek flow, it stands to reason that unless this is fixed, flow could be totally impeded, resulting in potential flooding of the properties bordering the creek above. Is CalTrans listening?


West Marin Wood-Burning Stoves
The county of Marin is offering $250 rebates for the removal of old wood stoves. This offer is especially important to those in West Marin, as the use of non-EPA certified wood-burning appliances is banned after July 1, 2008. The Wood Smoke Reduction Ordinance, passed in 2003 by the Marin County Board of Supervisors, prohibits the use of the older, non-compliant stoves after the date above.

Residents can also get a $75 building permit fee refund for removing a non-EPA certified wood burning appliance or replacing it with an EPA Phase II word-burning appliance or a gas or pellet stove. Unfortunately, the new stoves are quite expensive and it is expected that few of the old stoves in West Marin will be voluntarily retired by the due date.


BPUD Water Rates - Bolinas
As Bolinas grows and changes, so do water rates. In order to try to keep water usage at a minimum, BPUD has set three levels - "not much, more and lots," as locals say. The cost depends on how much water is used overall. The problem with that, some locals are saying, is that as the demographics of the village change, adding more wealthy inhabitants, water use for extensive gardens and large homes will grow anyway, no matter the cost per gallon. As usual, they say, the people who will be penalized the most are the old, long-time residents, without the easy resources to pay so much more for the water.


West Marin Organics
It seems odd to note that most of the organic produce for sale in West Marin, ground zero for the organic community, comes from mega-growers far away, not our own home-grown variety of organic farmers. The Palace Market in Point Reyes Station seems to obtain its organic produce from big, national distributors, while Toby's seems to bring in organics from a mix of quality smaller vendors, more local, but many from outside of West Marin.

Tomales Bay Foods, via Shorty's Produce, seems to do a better job of accessing locally grown produce on a regular basis, and the People's Store in Bolinas does a great job of offerings a cornucopia of local organic foods according to the season. Overall, food vendors in West Marin are a mixed bag as to offering local organic produce via organic produce from elsewhere.

Organics in West Marin was always based on both a natural growing process (without chemicals) AND a "locally-grown and eaten" philosophy, based on sustainability. Many decry the addition of Wal-Mart and its ilk to the organic marketplace, believing it portends a softening of organic rules for greater profit to the multi-nationals, negating sustainability. Others believe a widening of the organic "industry" will lower prices to allow all income levels to eat organically. The fact, however, is that negating the local grown/locally eaten rule means even our organic foods are traveling sometimes thousands of miles to our tables, which is not sustainable. Question: where are our local farmers selling the majority of their produce, here or elsewhere?


Tomales Bay Wetlands
Long-time advocates for the transformation of the commercial Giacomini Ranch operation back into the wetlands of Tomales Bay are trying to get the attention of the National Park team in charge of the restoration to point out the re-emergence of the spring or seep that has struggled to stay alive on the edge of C and 3rd Streets in Point Reyes Station. Now that most of the cows are gone, and the old Cypress trees are only now coming out of dormancy, the natural spring is very, very evident!

If those obsolete Cypress trees (planted on county land to try to mitigate the cow smell over 20 years ago) were taken out, their roots would no longer steal the spring's water in summer and the natural creek and pond could fully come back, hopefully to welcome back the red legged frog. Shore birds are already taking advantage of the spring, with a Wilson's snipe photographed there just the other day. Park naturalists are ga-ga over the spring under Los Reyes, protecting it from all intrusion. Yet, Park officials, and even the Sierra Club rep here, Gordon Bennett, are supporting the ultimate building of housing or businesses on the natural spring off C Street, all pre-ordained within the "land swap." Sad.


A Thank You
Let's have a hand for the recent addition of solar capability on two buildings in downtown Point Reyes Station, the Livery Stable and the Tomales Bay Foods building. The Livery Stable is owned by Marshall Livingston of Inverness. So kudos to Marshall. The Tomales Bay Foods building is owned by Sue Conley.

Kudos to Sue too!
Putting solar on such buildings is not cheap. But doing so is not just financially good on a long-term basis, but it is also really, really good for the continued existence of all of us on this planet. Thank you, Marshall and Sue, for investing in the planet.


What's in a name?
The Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC) has recently informed the Park Service that it supports naming the to-be restored wetlands at the head of Tomales bay, the Tomales Bay Wetlands. Seems logical to us. Common sense in these matters is rare, but this is something we all need to get behind. Mother Tomales Bay would probably thank us!



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