Sonoma City Council Signs Resolution Calling for Investigation into National Park Service Request for Closure of Drakes Bay Oyster Company
Sonoma City Council Supports Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s Efforts Towards Providing Local Jobs and Its Model for Sustainable Agriculture
Fort Mill Times, June 4, 2013
SONOMA, Calif. —
In a unanimous decision at last night’s City Council meeting, the Sonoma City Council approved a resolution that formally offers the Council’s support to save Drakes Bay Oyster Company and calls for the investigation into the National Park Service’s denial of Drakes’ permit to continue to operate at the onshore facilities at Drakes Estero in the coastal area of Marin County. In particular, the City Council commended the oyster farm for its efforts in maintaining its environmental and agricultural stewardship which presents an exemplary model of harmonious co-existence of sustainable agriculture and resource conservation.
The City Council specifically called on Assembly Member Marc Levine, Chair of the Select Agriculture and Environment Committee, to urge the State of California to assert its rights to continue to lease the water bottoms in Drakes Estero for shellfish cultivation which would include giving support to the Fish and Game Commission in its full jurisdiction. Additionally, the City Council requested Congressman Jared Huffman to support a bi-partisan Congressional investigation by the appropriate House Committee of Natural Resources, which he is a member of, into the questionable science that informed Secretary Salazar’s decision not to grant Drakes Bay a permit for the facilities in Drakes Estero.
For years, the Lunny family, who owns and manages the historic oyster farm and the last cannery in California, has been fighting the Interior Department and the National Park Service over their attempts to close down the farm. In a decision made last November, then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar refused to issue a permit to allow Drakes Bay to continue farming upon the expiration of its 40-year-lease – a lease which allowed it to operate on public land within the Point Reyes National Seashore and which was created decades after the oyster farm’s inception.
“We are thrilled and honored to have the support of the Sonoma City Councilmembers,” says Kevin Lunny. “The next several weeks are an important time for our community, as we continue to build support and make our voices heard throughout Marin County, the state of California, and the country. With the support of the Councilmembers and thousands of community members, we will continue to fight to keep our historic, family-owned and community-loved oyster farm open.”
The Lunnys, who have been pressing for an extension of their lease for years, state that Salazar based his decision on flawed environmental impact studies and contend that the State, not the National Park Service, retains the right to farm shellfish in Drakes Estero and they have already extended that agreement until 2029.
Drakes Bay has already garnered the support of many individuals and organizations within the community who view the farm as a respected steward of the land and representative of the best in environmental protection. Supporters of the Save Drakes Bay Oyster Farm include California Senator Dianne Feinstein, a group of restaurant owners and sustainable food advocates, including Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, as well as many leading scientists and environmentalists throughout the Bay Area. For a full list of Drakes Bay’s 2,000+ supporters please visitwww.drakesbayoyster.com/howtohelp/endorse.php.
About Drakes Bay Oyster Company
Oyster farming in Drakes Estero, located in Point Reyes, Marin County, has been part of the region’s history for nearly 100 years. The Lunnys, a fourth-generation ranching family, purchased Drakes Bay in 2004 to revive a historical part of the local community and ensure the continued environmental health of Drakes Estero. Drakes Bay currently employs nearly 30 community members, and farms sustainably in Drakes Estero, producing approximately one-third of all oysters in California. The Lunny family works hard to participate in keeping the agricultural economic system in West Marin alive. Drakes Bay actively participates in the creation of a more sustainable food model that restores, conserves, and maintains the productivity of the local landscapes and the health of its inhabitants. For more information, please visit www.drakesbayoyster.com.