BY KIRSTEN JONES NEFF • PHOTOS BY TIM PORTER
WHERE PEOPLE LIVE IN THEIR BOATS ON THE BAY?
he idea of conservation is complex, and the word may be used in the context of both wildlife and human rights. Much of our recent Marin County history is a story of the push and
pull of two aspirations — to protect flora and fauna on one hand, and to preserve quality of
life for people on the other — and the beryl-blue water of Richardson Bay is currently a host to this
Whether in the Sausalito and Tiburon marinas or out on the open water, humanity strives to peaceably and symbiotically coexist with one of the most important and ecologically rich waterways in the
hemisphere. The ongoing struggle to find a humane and environmentally successful balance on the
bay has been unfolding for decades. Over the past few years, discussions about the “anchor-outs,” a
group of people who live on illegally anchored and moored boats, have been especially acrimonious
and polarizing, pitting those who live on the water and their supporters against shoreline dwellers
and regulatory and environmental organizations such as the San Francisco Bay Conservation and
Development Commission (BCDC) and Audubon California.
On April 5, after months of study and community input, the Richardson Bay Regional Agency
(RBRA), an entity charged with management of Mill Valley, Tiburon, Belvedere and Marin County
waters, announced long-awaited updated policy recommendations for the management of Richardson
Bay. Over the course of the past year, RBRA and the City of Sausalito, which broke from the agency
last spring to monitor its own jurisdictional waters, have grappled in public and private with the issue
of how to better manage the long-standing community of boaters.
GIVEN A LONG LIST OF CONCERNS FROM VARIOUS GROUPS,
IS IT POSSIBLE TO PRESERVE
A HISTORIC AND RARE COMMUNITY