01-20-15 Marin IJ: Oyster farm’s demise sets stage for next park battle, by Dick Spotswood

“Just 20 days after the Lunny family operation closed on New Year’s Eve, the farm and all of its facilities are gone. Not just closed, but almost any evidence that it ever existed has disappeared.

When senior bureaucrats have a personal stake in doing something, miracles occur. Oddly, the usual cast of activists that habitually demands studies, scoping sessions and public hearings ad nauseum before any action is taken were missing in action.

It’s difficult to conceive that the oyster farm’s speedy demolition was a federal government project.

Perhaps the National Park Service’s whiz kids who masterminded Lunny’s speedy exit next need new tasks. They might aim their previously undisclosed expediting talents on the never-ending Ross Valley flood control plan or restoration of the third traffic lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.”

 
Dick Spotswood: Oyster farm’s demise sets stage for next park battle
Marin Independent Journal
POSTED:   01/20/2015 04:14:30 PM PST
 
Given the glacial progress involved in any government endeavor, it’s startling to see any agency moving at warp speed. That just happened with the Point Reyes National Seashore’s almost instant eradication of the Drakes Bay oyster farm.
Just 20 days after the Lunny family operation closed on New Year’s Eve, the farm and all of its facilities are gone.
Not just closed, but almost any evidence that it ever existed has disappeared.
When senior bureaucrats have a personal stake in doing something, miracles occur. Oddly, the usual cast of activists that habitually demands studies, scoping sessions and public hearings ad nauseum before any action is taken were missing in action.
It’s difficult to conceive that the oyster farm’s speedy demolition was a federal government project.
Perhaps the National Park Service’s whiz kids who masterminded Lunny’s speedy exit next need new tasks. They might aim their previously undisclosed expediting talents on the never-ending Ross Valley flood control plan or restoration of the third traffic lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.
It appears the motivation behind the frenetic effort to demo the oyster harvesting sheds was to remove even the slightest possibility that some action could halt the yearslong effort to convert Drakes Estero into a wilderness area. The park’s hierarchy was never the honest broker in the oyster battles. In part, that’s due to a long-standing park service culture that regards “inholdings,” any non-public use of park lands, as inimical to the agency’s mission.
The Great Marin Oyster War is over. The Lunny family has left the estero, remaining fresh oysters are destroyed, their mostly Hispanic workers dispersed and the site cleared.
Now longtime Point Reyes peninsula residents await the next big threat to their existence.
The soon-to-be-released National Seashore Ranch Comprehensive Plan will determine the fate of two dozen or so ranches and 26,000 acres of pastoral land long used for grazing. To most Marinites they represent the heart of sustainable agriculture in West Marin. To others, who would expand the wilderness zone, they are intrusive “inholdings.”
Even the coterie of environmental activists that pine for the ranches’ demise don’t envision that the plan’s environmental assessment will literally call for their closure.
That would be political suicide, even in dark-green liberal Marin.
The agriculture community’s concern is that some seemingly innocuous policy will be inserted in the plan as a poison pill that indirectly causes the ranches to become economically untenable. The likeliest point of conflict will involve the interface between cattle and tule elk that the park service encourages to proliferate on Point Reyes.
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2 Comments

  1. Milly Biller

     /  January 20, 2015

    Ain’t it the truth? Last week I had to work right next to Sir Francis Drake Blvd, and there was an endless rumba line of dump trucks and transfer trucks carrying away the remains of the farm. It was absolutely, positively, sickening. Where was the water quality control board, the orange fencing, all the precautionary safeguards that the rest of us need to employ?

    Reply
  2. Florida Dave

     /  February 22, 2015

    Does anyone really think that the Department of the Interior has done this without direction from the White House? I have yet to hear one person blame Obama and his agenda. He could call off the dogs but he holds the leash. Too much money to raise, too many “favors” to pay back for getting him elected twice. And no one calls him out.

    I graduated with a degree in Environmental Sciences (Kansas) before later attending law school. This current group, led by the Sierra Club, are not environmentalists; they are radicals–and the only real protected land is land which does not include human beings. That is their ideology and it will only last as long as Obama does.

    Their attack on property and riparian rights are an all-out fight to remove human beings from all public lands. The NPS and BLM are simply their foot soldiers. Their tactics against small-scale mining is the same attack used on Drakes Bay–bad science, distortions and outright lies. The Sierra Club no longer speaks for me and, as a free American, they should not speak for you either. This is not a democrat or republican issue but an American issue.

    President Obama will leave office with this country in taters. But in 2017, most, if not all, of his would-be actions will be reversed in a matter of months, if not weeks. New superintendents appointed, EPA rules reversed and the radicals will scurry back into the shadows for another 30 years. Obama’s eight years in office will be reduced to a few hundred rounds of golf and that’s all we will remember–except to enjoy the fact he is gone.

    Reply

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