The Coastal Post - July 1999

Joe Nation Wants To Bottle Mt. Tam

Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) Board of Directors is considering bottling spring water from Mt. Tamalpais. The plan is to modify the spring below the West Point Inn along the railroad grade by excavating and building a concrete catchment structure there. Large water trucks will go up the railroad grade three times a year to take 14,200 gallons at a time for bottling. It's MMWD President Joe Nation's baby. He's running for state assembly next time around.

The MMWD has already spent $16,000 on installing a huge poly-vinyl chloride tank and pipe at the spring in preparation for the next step.

The number one environmental impact is the removal of water from the natural system. This spring flows into Redwood Creek, which flows through Muir Woods National Monument and contains threatened coho salmon and steelhead trout. Other impacts include effects on the riparian habitat around the spring, erosion due to heavy trucks, as well as potential impacts resulting from the proposed modification of the actual spring from the excavation and building of a concrete structure.

No environmental review was required for the construction which has been done to date as the district applied for and received a categorical exemption from the state.

The good news is half the money from the project will go back into MMWD for use in the Mt. Tam Watershed Fund. The other half will go to the Marin Alliance for Public Schools.

The bad news is as a matter of policy it moves away from restoration and preservation of a natural resource and commercializes the Sleeping Lady-Mr. Tamalpais. Camel's nose under the tent? God forbid that it might be a success.

It could just be a great no fuss, no muss, no downside, high profile gimmick for an assembly candidate to get a lot of positive press what with the schools, kids, parents and Marin County boosterism.

MMWD is not in financial crisis but sales of bottle water could net between $50,000 and $100,000.

Joe Nation is spearheading the effort to bottle the water. Jack Gibson and Jared Huffman are against the proposal. Dick Hill and John Jaeger are undecided.

Want to get more information from a MMWD Director? Contact:

Joe Nation, President, 453-5086, fax 453-5865, email [email protected]; Jack Gibson, Vice President, 460-0100, fax 459-8978 or 460-1099, email [email protected]; John Jaeger 383-3948; Jared Huffman 460-0100, fax 456-3095 or 460-1099, email [email protected]; Dick Hill 435-2758, fax 435-3925, email [email protected]; MMWD, 220 Nellen Avenue, Corte Madera 94925, Board of Directors 924-1448.

If you support or oppose this idea, attend the Board meeting, July 7 at 7:30 in the Board room at the main office in Corte Madera and make your voice heard. It is possible the vote will happen on that day. Call 945-1448 a few days ahead to check on the agenda, as it could get postponed.

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