Monday, January 14, 2008

Dear Fish and Game Commission

by Arch Richardson

15 January 2008

California Fish & Game Commission
1416 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Commissioners

Ref: MLPA, North Central Coast Region

The big question???? Are the Governors cut backs going to affect the MLPA process in the making? Will it take away moneys from signage, enforcement or any other part of this process?

IF these cutbacks will hinder or slow down the MLPA process in anyway please stop it now, before it gets completed incorrectly. The MLPA staff has stated from the beginning that they “are only going to do this once, and do it right.” Well that is not happening. The rules set in their guidelines have been altered to fit their timeframe and the region they are dealing with. There are 5 regions in this process…why should the guidelines and process change from region to region? Is that fair to the Central Coast Region which is already law? From meeting to meeting I’m observing heated discussions between Stakeholders, Scientists and Staff…why? Because the guidelines are either changing or not deciphered the same way by all. It’s your job to get them back on track. The parallel process is now a jetport. “Hold off, we will use it in the next region”…No I say, use it in all regions or none. And it is a valuable tool, and proven to be of value.

IF in the North Central Coast Region the SMR’s were not put adjoining private property the enforcement problem would be minimized. As landowners historically have protected their lands and the adjoining waters. All large chunks of private lands North of Salt Point State Park and on to the Alder Creek area have been targeted for SMR’s. Why, it is our feeling as private property owner on the coast that we have been targeted because of “our private lands”. We have heard comments from Stakeholders, Scientist and yours truly Mr. Ken Wiseman, Exec. Director that “Your land is not user friendly,” “If it is private, close it,” and “If there is not public access, close it.” Was this bill written and passed about the ecosystem or public access? As one representing one of the 3 major land holding potencionally targeted for a SMR, I’m defiantly concerned and think this process is going in the wrong direction. The three major private land holders in this study region are the Richardson Family, Ratcliff Family and the Havens Neck LLC. The major property on this coast with miles and miles of coastline is the California State Parks System…look at your maps please. The Richardson Family owns about 5 miles of coastline here on the Sonoma Coast, everything between Salt Point State Park and The Sea Ranch, and the MLPA process has selected ALL of our lands for SMR’s. We are loosing 125 years of heritage, 125 years of care and management of our terrestrial and non-terrestrial ecosystem. 100% LOSE!!!!! Is this fare?

IF the Governors cut backs included Fish & Game Officers as well as other law enforcement agencies, who will take the enforcement role? If State Parks are being closed, I’m assuming some Stake Park Personal will also be cut. Will this affect any of the Marine Life Protected Areas that are potencionally being earmarked in our area? We as good stewards and property owners throughout time have patrolled our own lands. Check out fences daily and doing the work of all law enforcement agencies. But will defiantly stop patrolling if this goes the way it is going. If we do see a problem or violation we will call someone…maybe…but who will come? Is Cal Tip going to be cut back too, or will there phone just ring and ring. Please think this over. Be advised the trespasser who crosses our lands and goes to a “targeted” reserve, SMR, is going there for a reason. He or she will be entering the Fort Knox of the Abalone Kingdom. At $100.00 per abalone on the black market…who wants to deal with this guys??? And all SMR’s will be a poachers delight if they boarder private lands.

IF our area was represented fairly on the Stakeholders Group, some of this would have never happened. There is NO private property owners, NO small business owners, NO Chamber of Commerce Members, NO retired F & G Wardens (as they know the problem areas) and NOBODY that know the history of this coast. I have offered my years of experience and my services to the MLPA process…and they don’t want me, or do they ask me questions…Hey that’s a loss to the system.

IF more rules, regulations and laws were enacted years ago we would not have this MLPA process today. In fact we might be money ahead (if there is a shortage) to cancel the MLPA process before we all end up in court and just make more and better laws.

Now who am I? … I’m a 60 year old native Sonoma County resident, 4th of 6th generation, representing 5 ranches in this battle, some 84+ family members. Past Pres. & First Pres. of The Sea Ranch VFD, Retired Sonoma County Reserve Deputy Sheriff (10 yrs, Badge #835), retired from the retail business in Stewarts Point in 2004, NRA Life Member, X-Commercial Salmon Fisherman, taught the F&G Hunter Safety Classes for 10 yrs, hold both a California Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License, Life Member of the California Rifle & Pistol Assn, Past Pres. of the Gualala River Steelhead Project, starting the restoration on the Gualala River, worked with the Dept. of F&G…probably more…

...but most of all I care! Care about what happens on this coast, both to the ecosystem and the great people that live here and visit here.

IF our coastline was in jeopardy or deprived of sea life, then yes, put an SMR here. But it is not, the Abalone count is up and the fish counts are unknown, as no studies have been done in this area. The system is placing SMR’s in this area just to keep the Bay Area people happy…Ask the scientist about fish studies in this Region…sorry there is none. As you can see there is way too many IF’S in this letter and this MLPA process.

Hope to meet you all at the BRTF Meeting on February 13th in Pacifica

Archer J. “Arch” Richardson
32333 Coast Hwy 1
Stewarts Point

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