Tomales Bay Vessel Management Plan

The Final Tomales Bay Vessel Management Plan (Plan), (PDF, 13Mb), August 2013, was developed by Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (the Sanctuary) staff and the California State Lands Commission (CLSC) staff in collaboration with nine other local, state and federal agencies with jurisdiction in Tomales Bay collectively known as the Tomales Bay Interagency Committee. The Environmental Assessment and Initial Study (EA/IS), which is included as an appendix to the Plan, analyzes the potential environmental effects associated with implementation of the Plan consistent with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and California Environmental Quality Act.

Since the adoption of the Plan in August 2013, the Tomales Bay Mooring Program Requirements (Policies and Criteria) have been developed and finalized. The Mooring Zones and mooring exclusion areas described in the Plan have also been modified slightly, due to the availability of more recent data regarding California State Park jurisdiction, seagrass beds and aquaculture lease areas. The updated zones and exclusion areas can be found in the Tomales Bay Mooring Program Requirements (Policies and Criteria) (PDF, 1 Mb) document as well as on the Tomales Bay Mooring Program Interactive PDF Map.

The Plan is the result of a long-term multi-agency effort to streamline and coordinate vessel management activities for the benefit of the public. The Plan aims to improve water quality, protect wildlife and habitat, protect public health and ensure recreational opportunities in Tomales Bay. It also implements the mandates and regulations of both the Sanctuary and CSLC. It represents extensive input from the boating community and other local stakeholders, and addresses numerous issues including vessel sewage discharge, impacts from moorings to eelgrass beds and other sensitive habitat, derelict or deserted vessels, introduction of invasive species, disturbance of wildlife, and discharges of oil, fuel, and vessel maintenance products. The Sanctuary has regulatory authority over all these issues, and the applicable regulations can be found at 15 CFR Part 992 Subpart H.

The Plan provides guidance to the agencies and the public for improving the water quality, protecting and restoring the natural resources and ensuring public health and safety of water-related uses of Tomales Bay. The Plan does not establish any new legal authorities; none of the proposed actions will alter existing authorities with regard to management of resources or regulation of activities within Tomales Bay.

Tomales Bay Interagency Committee (TBIC)

As members of the Tomales Bay Interagency Committee (TBIC) GFNMS and CSLC collaborated closely with the nine other TBIC agencies in the development of the Tomales Bay Vessel Management Plan. The TBIC includes the numerous local, state, and federal agencies with laws and regulations pertinent to the waters of Tomales Bay and the nearshore adjacent areas. The mandates of the agencies involved include maintaining and/or improving water quality, maintaining and/or improving native wildlife populations and natural habitats, protecting public health, access and safety, and providing opportunities for recreation and ocean dependent commercial uses. TBIC agencies include: • California Coastal Commission • California Department of Boating and Waterways • California Department of Fish and Game • California Department of Public Health • California Department of Transportation • California State Lands Commission • California State Parks • Marin County and Marin County Sheriff’s Office • NOAA’s Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary • National Park Service, Point Reyes National Seashore • State Water Resources Control Board and Regional Water Quality Control Boards

Contact Information:

Karen Reyna
991 Marine Drive, The Presidio,
San Francisco, CA 94129

(415) 970-5247

Public Process

Throughout the process to develop the Draft Tomales Bay Vessel Management Plan, GFNMS and CSLC were committed to engaging boaters and the local community in providing input for the development of the plan. To that end, Greater Farallones Sanctuary Advisory Council initiated a Working Group for Tomales Bay Vessel Management. The Working Group consisted of representatives of boating associations, shellfish growers, commercial fishermen, boat services operations, conservation organizations, shore-side property owners, and state and federal agencies with jurisdiction in Tomales Bay.

GFNMS and CSLC would like to thank the following Working Group participants for their contributions to the development of the Plan:

  • Dominique Richard, Chair, GFNMS Advisory Council
  • Colin Smith, National Park Service
  • Nanci Smith, State Lands Commission
  • Tom Moore, Dept. of Fish and Game
  • Jerry Abbot, Inverness Yacht Club
  • Mark Bartolini, Tomales Bay Boaters Association
  • George Clyde, East Shore Planning Group
  • John Finger, Hog Island Oyster Company
  • Fred Smith, Environmental Action Committee of West Marin
  • Gordon Bennett, Sierra Club
  • Willy Vogler, Lawson's Landing
  • Gene Maffucci, Herring Fishman
  • Skip Vilicich, Marshall Boat Works
  • Jeremy Fisher-Smith, Fisher-Smith Boat Works

Summaries of Working Group Meetings:


Tomales Bay Interactive Map

A layered PDF was developed by GFNMS staff as a complement to the Draft Plan to provide a geographic context and visual representation of the proposed Tomales Bay Mooring Program criteria and other boating-related resources on the bay. This user-friendly interactive map enables the viewer to overlay several different map layers and to determine the geographic coordinates of specific locations without the use of specialized software. A revised version of the interactive map is being developed and will be available soon.


Previous Documents & Presentations

Vessel Usage Scoping Document

In 2007, GFNMS and CSLC produced the document, "Protecting Tomales Bay by Managing Vessel Usage: A Document for Public Input." The document was a result of a multi-agency effort to coordinate current and future vessel-related activities to improve water quality, protect wildlife and habitat, and protect public health and ensure recreational opportunities in Tomales Bay. The document presented activities currently being implemented by the participating agencies as well as proposed concepts for vessel management. The purpose of this document was to solicit vessel management recommendations from individuals and organizations in the local community and users of Tomales Bay to protect the ecosystem and public health in the bay. The document was released for a 60-day comment period and two "brainstorming" workshops were held.

Download the Draft Vessel Management Plan - EA/IS, released Aug. 23, 2012 (PDF, 3Mb)

Download the Notice of Intent (PDF, 135Kb)

Protecting Tomales Bay by Managing Vessel Usage: A Document for Public Input 2007 (26.2 MB PDF)
Appendix I: Government Agency Jurisdiction and Regulation (352 KB PDF)
Appendix II: Tomales Bay TMDL (72 KB PDF)
Appendix III: Mooring Criteria-GIS Information for Maps (24 KB PDF)

View response to Public Comments
2008 (176 KB PDF)

Presentation by Suzanne Olyarnik, Bodega Marine Lab: Seagrass Beds in Tomales Bay: The Unsung Heroes of Habitat (20.9MB PDF)