By Dan Richards
For the last 3 mornings I have sat on the hill above Highway 1 watching the ranch and enjoying the view. Watching the same cars, 3 days in a row northbound before the tide and then again watching them go south after the tide. Where are they going? North for abalone at some open to the public area: Stornetta Ranch, Mote Creek and maybe The Sea Ranch, except the County Parks do no open the gates until after sunrise. Hundreds of cars storming north. Cate and her family sat and watched the same migration at their ranch near Sail Rock, below Saunders Reef in Mendocino County. It was a windy and rough ocean, not even a boat from the South came North. And they will be back again for the big -1.9 tides in late May and again in late June.
Then I looked at our ranch, less than 8 people in three days (none this morning). Only 9 abalone were taken in 3 days, a couple sea trout and a handful of cabazon and 20 lbs of mussels. What impact do we have on the resources. Very little if any. What good is it to close these private lands? The locals that own lands here on the coast are not the problem of diminishing resources. It is outsiders. How do we save the resources by punishing the private landowners who have been the stewards of the ocean and the ecosystem for years? We have done nothing wrong for 130 years, but we are the ones who lose if the IPA is implemented. The migration of people will still appear here on the coast to rape it. What are they losing? At this time not much of anything. So without closing some of the public access trails (The Sea Ranch/2XA) nothing changes. If 2XA is adopted, the ecosystem gains by having a longer stretch of coastline protected by The Sea Ranch and the Richardson family. And the Sonoma County Park access trails are already in place for enjoyment and study of an SMR, unlike private lands which don’t have trails and you don’t even know if you can access yet…or ever.
And now that brings us to the cost factor. You and Comm. Kellogg have the right idea. Just send it back to the state for their real opinion of the cost for the future. I don’t think this will happen, so we will just have to guess. With the present budget how it is and prop 84 in limbo, where will it come from? As the state is broke and for how may more years will it be broke? Will the outside interests still be there in years to come…or will they take it over from the state. What would happen if the state dropped all funding and the outside organizations took control? Is this legal? Would the Fish and Game still have a say in what goes on? Will it really cost $60 million a year as I have read about?
Before any action is taken by the Commission I think it is advisable that you all come take a look at our coast on a major abalone low tide. Either in person or have F&G personal take pictures of the parking lots and coastline in key access areas. You will see first hand what is happening to our resources. Once the process is put into place, and it doesn’t really mater which one, the overload will begin. New regulations must follow ASAP…lowering the daily and seasonal limit, shortening the season, restricting the gear type…boats should go!!! More enforcement personnel is needed to patrol and enforce both open and closed areas. As the landowners will not be keeping an open eye any longer. Cal-Tip will have to put in more lines. The illegal activity, commercial take of abalone will flourish under these or any changes.
I’m at a loss for what really is going to and will happen, it is a slap in the faces for those of us that have lived here for generations. If anything does happen I sure hope that 2XA is the “chosen one” and we deal with the financial problems as they arise. See you on the 14th and let’s hope all goes well. As my family and the people of Sub-regions 1 & 2 can only live with 2XA. It doesn’t matter what “she” says…It was the popular and supported proposal in this area…2XA!!!
The 5 Richardson families, 5 ranches, 4.6 mile of coastline, 130+ years heritage
The thousands on the coast that support 2XA