The recent reluctance of the Board of Supervisors to re-install the symbolic fence at Clam Beach is fortunately starting to shed light on the unnecessary hazard this represents.
The story of the young boy getting chased through the fence while riding is but one reason this fence should not even be considered. Fortunately, he was just a little roughed up. Little cowboys are pretty tough. Add the fact that this fence has been proven ineffective for the last four years -- along with the Fish and Wildlife Service reluctantly demanding its reinstallment -- one can't help but start scratching one's head in wonder. Professor Colwell himself recommended against it this year.
Having a recent tsunami event, and no doubt a next one on its way perhaps with far less warning and unpredictable intensity, one would have to think “what are we thinking.” Putting a rope hurdle between a tsunami and high ground on the most popular beach we have goes against any logic I have ever come across. Let's hope that doesn't lead to a lawsuit or worse.
Accidental harm to plover nests by local beach lovers have accounted for essentially 2 percent of the overall nest failures in the past decade. The last one occurred over two years ago by a little girl's curiosity. In other words, we are clearly not the problem. The Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for predator control but has said they are too busy to do anything about it and that the symbolic fence is somehow supposed to protect them from symbolic lawsuits.
I applaud the Board of Supervisors, not for authorizing the fence again this year but for making sure that there is a broader range of community members involved in managing the plover and beach issues. The supervisors still seem a little intimidated by Fish and Wildlife Service but that is waning.
The fence remains a bad idea for a lot of reasons but at least there is now some new light being shed on the myriad problems with the current plover, beach and dune management.
◼ Symbolic fence or fiasco - Uri Driscoll/For the Times-Standard 3/22/2011 - Uri Driscoll is a trail advocate living in Arcata.
Response: ◼ Clam Beach symbolic fencing column was misleading, frivolous - Diane Fairchild Beck