The Bulletin Newsletter
Other TBWC Resources
Topics discussed on this page include:
Our Call to Action, Council Formation & Funding, Proposition 50, Water Quality Monitoring, TBWC Committee Activities
Tomales Bay 'Call to Action'
Tomales Bay is the
geographic heart of the portion of western Marin County that
includes the watersheds of Lagunitas, Olema, and Walker creeks.
There are hundreds of tributaries associated with the three largest
creeksand, and the surrounding landscape can be viewed as a vast circulatory system, connecting all the plant, animal, and human inhabitants. Waters flow into Tomales Bay through wildlands, dairy ranches, forests, parks, and human communities. Its upper boundary is made up of coastal ridgelines a rim of sorts measuring142 miles.
Fog over a coastal ridgeline. Photo by Richard Blair
Within this natural boundary, every human inhabitant and visitor
has a relationship with the Tomales Bay watershed, and all of
our activities affect it. Much of the western and southern portions
of the watershed are under public ownership, while most of the
eastern and northern areas are privately owned agricultural lands.
Fully 60% of our open space is privately owned; its future depends
upon our continued support for evolving sustainable agriculture.
the Bay and watershed have retained much of their beauty, water
quality, and wildlife abundance relatively intact into the early
21st century, there are present challenges to this ecosystem.
All too many estuaries like Tomales Bay. valuable to people and
wildlife alike, have been degraded or destroyed. Tomales Bay
is protected by local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
For the past three decades, the conservation movement in Marin
County has gained increasing local and political support, as
illustrated by the adoption of the Countywide Plan in the 1970s.
However, there remain serious water quality, habitat, and management
issues to be resolved in this watershed.
pressures and population expansion continue to threaten the rural
and agricultural landscape of West Marin. Water quality and habitat
concerns have been increasingly recognized within the Bay and
watershed. One indication of water quality problems in the Bay
has been the increase in closures on harvesting oysters, caused
by high bacteria concentrations in heavy run-off from rainstorms.
In 1986, the Regional Water Quality Control Board identified
Tomales Bay as an "impaired waterbody." In response,
concerned citizens, agencies, and organizations came together
in a collaborative effort to improve the health of the Bay. This
effort recognized the need to include people representing all
points of view throughout the watershed.
TBWC held its first meeting in January 2000 and began working collectively on the Watershed Stewardship Plan adopted four years later. However, a plan is only as strong as the commitment of the people who carry it out, namely the residents of West Marin and the many people who visit the area to enjoy its beauty and recreational features. It is our hope that you will join us in supporting this extensive stewardship effort: responsible action is its own reward.
Watershed Council Formation
TBWC was formed in
December 1999 by the Tomales Bay Advisory Committee and charged with
addressing environmental problems affecting the Bay on a watershed
Council membership is broad-based and representative of all stakeholders,
residential and community groups, agricultural interests, environmental
groups, mariculture, recreational interests, and public agencies.
Community members also actively participate.
- Improve the water quality of Tomales Bay and surrounding watershed.
- Protect and restore the entire watershed in a way that sustains
human and natural resources.
- Produce and help implement the Watershed Stewardship Plan, unanimously adopted in 2004 as a means for preserving and protecting the water and land resources for sustainable uses by agriculture, aquaculture, business, environmental, recreation and residential interests.
There are currently seven Council committees: Executive, Funding, Public
Outreach, Science, Water Quality, Strategies, and Habitat. TBWC
makes decisions using a consensus-based process that involves all
Funding has come from the Marin Community Foundation, the County of Marin,
the State Coastal Conservancy, California Department of Fish
and Game and private foundation grants. In January 2006, the Council received a $460,000 planning grant from the State Water Resources Control Board as part of Proposition 50, the "Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act of 2002."
Since the Tomales Bay Watershed Council is a working group of stakeholders and not a formal entity, in order to begin implementing the "Watershed Stewardship Plan" adopted in 2004, we decided to create a tax-exempt non-profit corporation as a funding vehicle. The result is the Tomales Bay Watershed Council Foundation. All contributions to our ongoing efforts to continue to preserve and protect this valuable watershed are now tax-deductible.
While we have received state and local government funding, our work is never done. Please consider helping us with our preservation and protection efforts, today and in the future, with a contribution payable to TBWCF, Box 447, Pt. Reyes Station, CA 94956.
Proposition 50 Activities
Our Proposition 50 planning grant from the State Water Resources Control Board will fund the development of an Integrated Coastal Watershed Management Plan, as well as a Septic Solutions Report and a Municipal Stormwater Assessment and Recommendation Report.
The facets of our plan address numerous issues, including habitat protection, water supply reliability, flood management and recovery, pollution control and wastewater treatment. We also will assess four Areas of Special Biological Significance: Bird Rock, Point Reyes Headlands, Double Point and Duxbury Reef. For more details, download our Winter 2006 newsletter.
Water Quality Monitoring
As part of our 2004 Tomales Bay Stewardship Plan, we are implementing a Water Quality Monitoring Plan led by Ed Strausser as Water Quality Field Technician. Ed will help us sample water at three local swimming areas Ink Wells, Samuel P. Taylor and Green Bridge. We also plan to begin source area monitoring in Third Valley Creek watershed and at Chicken Ranch Beach, both in Inverness, to gather data on "nonpoint sources" of pollution from septic systems and other human-related activities.
To read more, download the Tomales Bay Water Quality Monitoring Plan and the 2004 Tomales Bay Stewardship Plan
Information on beach closures and water quality monitoring results are available to the public on the Earth911 Web site at www.earth911.org/WaterQuality.
TBWC Committee Activities
Where all of the Council's substantive work takes places, our committee activities now currently include:
¶ Water Quality Committee development of a Monitoring Plan, as well as creating a database for source area and water trend monitoring activities;
¶ Habitat Committee and Science Committee collaboration on identifying prominent watershed issues and establishing guidelines for management decisions;
¶ Outreach Committee Website redesign and participation in community events;
¶ Funding and Grants Committee providing a forum for determining future funding needs, including a $1.6 million request to the State Water Board for Prop. 40-50 funds to assist with the National Park's Giacomini Marsh Restoration Program and TBWC's Water Quality Monitoring Program.
Contact us at Tomales Bay Watershed Council, Box 447, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, 415-868-9081, or email Council Coordinator Neysa King
Copyright © 2005 - 2007 Tomales Bay Watershed Council