Drakes Estero Wilderness Federal Consistency Determination
|Summary||The Point Reyes National Seashore (Seashore) submitted a consistency determination to the Commission to remove shellfish debris and infrastructure in Drakes Estero Wilderness area. The Seashore proposed to remove 95 pressure-treated wood racks spread across seven acres of the estuary, comprising between 200,000 and 250,000 board feet of lumber (approximately 470 tons) previously used to support mariculture operations.
The Seashore estimated that approximately 0.59 acres of eelgrass would be temporarily impacted by the restoration work. However, the restoration would remove so much debris and wooden structures that it is anticipated that 2.8 acres of eelgrass habitat would be created, resulting in a restoration ratio of 4.7:1. This is much higher than the typical restoration ratio of 1.2:1. The Commission staff’s analysis concluded that the Seashore’s restoration plan takes appropriate precautions to ensure the protection of biological resources and public access, to avoid harbor seal disturbance, to minimize the spread of non-native bio-fouling organisms, to prepare and adhere to an oil spill prevention and response plan, and to adhere to an anchoring plan that minimizes placement of anchoring devices in eelgrass.
|Outcome Description||Commission voted unanimously to support the consistency determination as conditioned in the staff report to require a post-project Eelgrass Monitoring and Restoration Plan.|
|Why You Should Care||Drakes Estero Wilderness area is the only congressionally designated marine wilderness area in the continental U.S. It has long been considered the “ecological heart” of Point Reyes National Seashore. It is a major breeding area for harbor seals, and is home to an estimated 5-7% of California’s coastal eelgrass habitat, making it a nursery and foraging stop for countless marine species and migrating birds. Its restoration will remove thousands of pounds of artificial structures and plastic trash, as well as non-native oysters and non-native clams. Its restoration will fulfill a promise that Congress made to the American people in 1976 to provide a marine wilderness experience in Drakes Estero.|
|Decision Type||Federal consistency determination|
|Staff Recommendation||The Commission staff recommends the Commission conditionally concur with consistency determination CD-0001-15 with the addition of a condition providing that an Eelgrass Monitoring & Restoration Plan be submitted for Executive Director review and approval prior to the initiation of project activities.|
|Lobbyist/Agent||Cicely Muldoon, Superintendent, Point Reyes National Seashore|
|Opposition to Project||Phyllis Faber, William Bagley, Corey Goodman|
|Coastal Act Policies||30233, 30230, 30231, 30210, 30211, 30220, 30232, Section 15 CFR Sec. 930.4 [Federal Consistency regulations]|
Voting Detail for Drakes Estero Wilderness Federal Consistency Determination
|Mary K. Shallenberger|
View Meeting Page for the meeting where this issue was discussed/voted on.