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ACTION ALERT (Due 11/29): Tell Obama to Grant Wilderness Protection to the Drakes Estero, a National Ecological Treasure

Environment  (tags: Drakes Estero, California, harbor seal, seal, birds, fish, wilderness, habitat, ecosystem, NRDC, Obama, National Park Service, Point Reyes Wilderness Act, Reynard Loki, 13.7 Billion Years )

- 2419 days ago -
In 1976 Congress allowed a private oyster company to continue operating in Drakes Estero under a non-renewable permit that expires next year. The firm has petitioned for an extension, but the area is eligible for wilderness protection. Comments due 11/29.

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Reynard L (16)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 8:59 am
The NRDC letter:

Drakes Estero is a national ecological treasure and should become a protected wilderness area. It has outstanding natural resources, including one of California's largest harbor seal colonies and tens of thousands of shorebirds, waterfowl, native fish and endangered species that use its wetlands, mudflats and eelgrass beds.

In the 1976 Point Reyes Wilderness Act, Congress recognized Drakes Estero as a unique recreational and biological resource and promised that this irreplaceable resource would formally become a wilderness area when non-conforming uses were eliminated. Your agency permitted a commercial oyster company to grow non-native oysters and clams on 1,050 acres in Drakes Estero for 40 years, or until 2012.

Your own draft environmental impact statement reveals the extensive damage that the existing operation has caused to Drakes Estero and Point Reyes National Seashore's beaches. As you know, commercial operations of any kind are not permitted in designated wilderness areas because of such damage. Further, the Park Service's Organic Act mandates protection of park resources and values and strictly limits commercial operations.

Your approval of the proposal to extend the oyster company's permit would be contrary to the Point Reyes Wilderness Act and would establish a dangerous precedent at a time when America's public lands and environmental laws are already under widespread attacks in Congress and elsewhere.

We've been waiting long enough. It is time to allow that permit to expire and to honor Congress' commitment. We want our bay back.

Reynard L (16)
Wednesday November 9, 2011, 9:00 am
Drakes Estero is an expansive estuary in Marin County on the Pacific coast of northern California in the United States, approximately 25 miles (40 km) northwest of San Francisco. It is considered by many historians to be the most likely landing spot of Francis Drake on the coast of North America in 1579 during his circumnavigation of the world.
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