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Comment on the Oakland Estuary at BCDC Meeting on Wednesday

Many sailors have expressed their concern over the many problems plaguing the Oakland Estuary. After months and years of neglect, the Estuary is finally attracting the attention of several agencies, such as the BCDC, which has its next scheduled enforcement committee meeting for Wednesday, September 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

You can email comments, attend via Zoom, attend via teleconference, or even attend in person at the Yerba Buena Room at 375 Beale St. in San Francisco.

Your options are here:

Click here for Zoom. Learn more about public participation here.

To join by teleconference, dial (816) 423-4282. Conference code: 052719, passcode: 123244

Click here for September 27 Enforcement Committee Meeting Materials.

If you would like to comment on an item scheduled for a public hearing, then you may do so by emailing comments one day in advance to [email protected].

Comments provided during the public comment portion of the meeting will be by telephone or via the web. Public speakers participating via web will be asked to raise their hands and speak when called upon.


  1. Candy 2 months ago

    I really hate to say it but the last meeting was a joke. Basically BCDC spent virtually the entire meeting talking about Richardson Bay & the eel grass. The Estuary was their last item & they got an earful from lots of concerned folks. In the end, their response was akin to wringing their hands, expressing sympathy & saying there really wasn’t anything they could do claiming they didn’t have any sort of enforcement powers. Really? They said it was Oakland’s & Alameda’s problem.

  2. Ken Brinkley 2 months ago

    Apparently the buck does not stop there ! Holding elected officials accountable is nigh impossible,but appointed officials bah humbug !

  3. Brock de Lappe 2 months ago

    There are a minimum of four parties responsible for the current conditions on the Oakland Estuary. The first is the City of Oakland. The city simply has not allocated necessary funding and support for the OPD marine patrol unit. At present there is only one dedicated marine patrol officer, Kaleo Albino, and it should be obvious that there are limits to what one guy can do in the way of on-the-water law enforcement. The Port of Oakland is the 4th largest port on the West Coast. Beside the port at the mouth of the estuary they have properties and revenues throughout the length of the estuary. With their annual income they could certainly do more to help with a cleanup. And speaking of the length of the estuary, there are over 3,000 slips in recreational marinas and all of those boat owners pay annual property taxes to Alameda County. And beyond the boats there are several multi-million, and in some cases, multi-billion dollar residential developments along the shoreline. One can only image the tax revenue that these generate. And yet, Alameda County has recently disbanded their marine patrol unit. Just what services are being provided to estuary residents, why no law enforcement?

    And last but certainly not least, there is the BCDC, Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which has the responsibility to protect San Francisco Bay and its shoreline. Granted they do not have direct law enforcement capability, but consider their action to clear out homeless encampments from Union Point Park. They first issued a Notice of Violation to the Port and City of Oakland. When this resulted in absolute no action they upped the ante to a formal Cease & Desist Order with the threat of a $6,000/day penalty if the park wasn’t cleanup up by a specific date. And so it finally was.

    In February of 2022 BCDC issued a directive for the City of Oakland to remove all illegal anchor-outs from the estuary by February of 2023. While this deadline was missed, the Oakland City Council did unanimously pass a new Nuisance Vessel Ordinance in March that gives the OPD the laws and protection necessary to proceed with a cleanup without the threat of being sued. This ordinance was the work of Officer Kaleo Albino and is the first of its kind in the nation. He is now awaiting SAVE grant funds from the California Division of Boating & Waterways which will enable him to proceed with a long overdue cleanup.

    What is absolutely critical is that once the estuary is again cleaned there should be ongoing rigorous on-the-water patrols to ensure that the problem doesn’t just start again. If the first anchor-out is stopped in a timely manner, there will never be 2,4,8,16… Nip it in the bud. This isn’t rocket science, it simply requires a modicum of support from the Oakland city administration. It never ceases to amaze me that they are so lacking in values that they fail to protect what should be the Oakland Gold Coast.

  4. Brock de Lappe 2 months ago

    And of course there is a 5th party that also has a burden of responsibility for what has happened on the Oakland Estuary and that is the United States Coast Guard. Coast Guard Island sits in the middle of the estuary with both large cutters and a fleet of smaller MSST patrol boats. For years the island has been surrounded by illegal derelict anchor-outs which frequently break loose and drift up on their shore. These vessels are not registered or insured and lack proper sanitation and safety equipment. Recreational boaters are familiar with being boarded and inspected for such items, yet the anchor-outs are given a free pass.

    Being homeless does not entitle one to break the law.

    These illegal anchor-outs are clearly a risk to the inhabitants, the environment and the general public.

    For years the Coast Guard has relegated this issue to local authorities which are very understaffed. Given the recent international press on this matter, the USCG has now said that they will now engage with their substantial resources of vessels and personnel. This is a very welcomed development.

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