News from the RBRA

Occupied anchor-outs are scheduled for removal from the Bay  | photo by Michael Nash  | post by Larry Clinton

The next meeting of the Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency (RBRA) is October 14, and an advance peek at the board packet for the meeting disclosed a number of new developments to be discussed.

First, RBRA Harbormaster Curtis Havel has announced his departure at the end of the month to pursue other career opportunities. Anybody want that job?

Next, Havel reports that the number of unoccupied and unseaworthy vessels on the anchorage has been effectively reduced to zero, and all vessels arriving in the bay have been informed of the 72–hour limitation on anchoring. Havel states: “this could not have been accomplished without the support of law enforcement from the RBRA’s member agencies, the hiring of the full–time Assistant Harbormaster, and the constant support of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, the United States Coast Guard, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.”

That leaves 78 vessels and four floating homes anchored in Richardson Bay. The RBRA’s Settlement Agreement with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) outlines a timetable for these vessels to be removed in several phases:

  • Within 2 years: removal of all vessels that arrived after August 2019 (19 vessels) and all floating homes
  • Within 3 years: removal of all vessels that did not enroll in the Safe and Seaworthy Program (45 vessels)
  • Within 5 years: removal of vessels that enrolled in the Safe and Seaworthy Program (14 vessels)

Further, the Eelgrass Protection and Management Plan (EPMP) was adopted by the RBRA Board of Directors on August 12. By the end of this year, RBRA expects to install approximately 15 to 20 temporary moorings to assist in moving vessels out of the Eelgrass Protection Zone, and to finalize a no–anchor zone to protect eel grass beds.

The RBRA has been working with Marin County Health and Human Services (HHS), Downtown Streets Team (DST), the Ritter Center and other agencies in an effort to connect with vulnerable individuals on the anchorage. Recently, DST hired two housing case managers in addition to the two current outreach case managers, and the RBRA has been discussing funding and housing opportunities with HHS. The BCDC has indicated its support of the RBRA’s efforts to continue to connect vessels’ occupants with outreach agencies and organizations who can provide assistance with finding shelter, and to encourage the expansion of shelter and housing opportunities with partner agencies.

The RBRA also continues to collaborate with other agencies in a working group coordinated by State Senator Mike McGuire, including the RBRA, the City of Sausalito and the BCDC, to seek solutions to housing availability, which include efforts to seek funding from Project Homekey. Project Homekey is administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), with $1.45 billion in funding available this fiscal year to local public entities to purchase and rehabilitate housing.

These are all noble programs, but no one from the anchor–outs is getting housed so far. The next five years will be critical for all concerned.