Our life on the coast is tied to the sea in many ways. Either through our local recreation or commercial fishing industry. We all know someone whose livelihood is tied to the sea. Seafood is on most restaurants menus. Crab Feeds during Crab season raises money for local firehouses or non-profits. Hotels, vacation rentals and RV campgrounds need that bump in the winter season during Chowder Day, Fisherman’s Festival and recreational crab season. One year crab season had an extended delayed and the impact on the community was huge. Some have not recovered from that season. Our local Coast Guard and their families are now impacted by the government shutdown.
Local artist celebrate the sea through their art. Local Bodega artist Maralee Wisewomyn creates baskets out of woven twisted seagrass, redwood bark, raffia, roots and buckeyes.
Certain type of wine grapes thrive in the coastal fog and temperatures along the Sonoma Coast. Hartford Wines Far Coast Vineyard is a cool site surrounded by redwood forests, almost two hours north of the Russian River on a Sonoma Coast mountain ridge. Lingering coastal fog in the valleys below yields the right amount of cool on the vines of Fort Ross-Seaview. The region rises above the fogline to occupy a completely unique ecosystem—one that’s dryer, sunnier and warmer than most. This elevated, “coastal cool” maritime climate is ideal for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
We see global warming effects on marine life and weather patterns. There was a time that our tidepools were abundant with starfish. Sea stars along much of the North American Pacific coast experienced a massive die-off in 2013/14 due to a mysterious wasting syndrome. The disease, called “sea star wasting syndrome” (SSWS) has persisted at low levels in most areas, and continues to kill sea stars. Our kelp forest are disappearing. The unprecedented collapse has been observed along hundreds of miles of coastline from San Francisco to Oregon. The region's once-lush stands of bull kelp, a large brown alga that provides food and habitat for a host of wildlife species, have been devoured by small, voracious purple urchins. California fish and game commissioners extended the ban on recreational abalone fishing another two years (2021) to give the ailing species more time to recover from a near-total collapse on the North Coast.
Living on the coast also provides a good life. A way of life worth fighting for no matter what the odds. Visitors find solace and a renewal of life among the crashing ways and coastal trails. The farm/sea to table food sustains us. We come together in good times and bad.