RBRA Meeting Report – Dec 1 2016

Marin County Deputy Sheriff Kyle Couture responds to protesters at the Dec 1 meeting  |  photo and story by Court Mast

On Thursday, December 1, 2016, the Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency (RBRA) held an open meeting at the Sausalito City Council Chambers. This meeting was highlighted by the RBRA’s “Enhanced Enforcement Program,” which is the first active step in using the Sausalito Police and Marin County Sheriff’s Department to remove some of the 225 illegally anchored-out vessels, and other marine debris, from Richardson’s Bay.

The Program has targeted 30 unregistered and uninhabited vessels for removal by the end of the year. Since the beginning of September, 12 have been removed. Police also removed 20 out of a targeted 60 “mooring balls” – floating objects, like boat fenders, life jackets, or actual mooring balls – that are attached to something on the bottom of the Bay. When police pulled up the ropes and chains, they found an assortment of non-marine items, including auto parts leaking oil and buckets filled with concrete.

This was the most contentious meeting in the last year, as owners of anchored-out vessels continually disrupted the proceedings with protests against the removal program. One protester smacked a video display showing the logos of the RBRA, Sausalito Police, and Marin County Sheriff. Another protester was removed from the room for continuously shouting at the Board members.

In response to the RBRA’s efforts, the anchor-outs have formed a “Special Anchorage Association.” They claim to represent 231 vessels and 145 people living on the water. They want the Turney Street boat ramp in Sausalito extended to accommodate them.

The following items were also addressed as part of the RBRA’s agenda:

  • The water quality in the Gates Co-op area is improving dramatically as the Waldo Point Reconfiguration moves toward completion.
  • Local boat marinas have paid for the upgrade and replacement of the red and green markers along the Sausalito ship channel.
  • The markers along Strawberry’s Saltworks Channel are yet to be done.
  • Currently a large metal vessel is taking up most of the Army Corps of Engineers loading ramp, slowing the removal of other vessels from Richardson’s Bay.
  • The RBRA also requested an additional $20,000 in funding from the regional authorities involved.