A sunset over a California bay.

Removing Abandoned Vessels and Recovering Habitat in Richardson Bay

Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency, in partnership with Coastal Policy Solutions, is working to remove 30 abandoned and derelict vessels in Richardson Bay, protect eelgrass habitats, and prevent additional vessels from becoming derelict or abandoned in the San Francisco Bay.

Type of Project: Removal

Region: California

Project Dates: September 2021 - August 2023

Who is involved?
With support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency and community partners are building on a previous project to remove abandoned and derelict vessels in Richardson Bay. This is a collective effort with the Coastal Policy Solutions, United States Coast Guard, Marin County Sheriff’s Office, and United States Army Corps of Engineers, as well as community partners, including the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary, Merkel and Associates, local governments (Belvedere, Tiburon, Mill Valley, and Sausalito), and social services. 

What is the project and why is it important?
Abandoned and derelict vessels can cause problems for our ocean, waterways, and Great Lakes by blocking navigational channels, damaging ecosystems, and diminishing the recreational value of the surrounding area. In Richardson Bay, abandoned and derelict vessels sink, leak contaminants, break apart in the water, and release hazardous materials into the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. These vessels can also damage vital eelgrass beds, which are important to thousands of waterbirds, commercial and recreational Pacific herring fisheries, and the local economy.

To avoid these dangers, this project is removing 30 abandoned and derelict vessels and other large marine debris (e.g., docks, floats, etc.) from Richardson Bay. Following their removal, project partners will also monitor eelgrass beds and water birds in the area to understand the benefits to wildlife and their habitats. The expected total weight of debris removed is approximately 200 tons. Project partners are also leading outreach and education to the boating community to prevent abandoned and derelict vessels in the first place.

For more information about this project, visit the Marine Debris Program Clearinghouse.

Last updated Thu, 02/02/2023 - 04:20 pm EST