A History of Advocacy and Engagement
Engage Locally, Effect Change Nationally
The Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC) was founded over 45 years ago at the height of the environmental movement. EAC took on a critical role locally as a grassroots environmental watchdog focused on protection of the unique environmental habitats, agricultural lands, and the rural community values of West Marin.
During the 1960s and 70s, people became environmentally aware and active after experiencing a river on fire, contaminated water, polluted air, and mass species die-offs due to harmful pesticides. This was a time when being an environmentalist was not a highly divisive partisan issue. Many key pieces of environmental legislation came out of this movement, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. These environmental regulations were enforced by agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency to clean the air, water, and protect habitats and species.
Some of EAC’s earliest campaigns were focused on protection of public lands in the newly created Point Reyes National Seashore, and the mobilization of community efforts in response to the Standard Oil Spill in the San Francisco Bay that devastated beaches and sensitive estuaries like Bolinas Lagoon.
EAC set up shop to protect West Marin’s unique environment, with a focus on protecting wildlife and plant habitats, watersheds, open space, responsible planning, and agricultural lands. Since 1971, EAC has had a substantial impact on protection of the natural resources of West Marin.
Some of EAC’s key accomplishments:
- Since the 1970s advocated for the conservation and protection of the Giacomini Wetlands bringing awareness to this important habitat (EAC organized a well-publicized “sail-in” of local craft that drew attention to the scheme and mobilized public opposition to it. The campaign was successful: the filling was stopped). Eventually, the wetlands were purchased by Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the 2000s and restored in 2008 by multiple agencies.
- Participated in the community effort to stop the controversial Countywide Plan that would have constructed a six-lane highway from the Golden Gate Bridge to Point Reyes and constructed over 1.3 million homes.
- Stopped the expansion of the West Marin dump through a decade long struggle.
- Banned the use of jet skis in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary including Tomales Bay.
- Protected Estero Americano and Estero San Antonio when the City of Santa Rosa proposed to dump its sewage into these estuaries. Later, EAC stopped developers who proposed to build Marin Coast Golf Ranch at the mouth of Estero San Antonio.
- Protected the Tomales Dunes-wetlands complex at Lawson’s Landing (after 40 years of advocacy), striking a balance between protecting environmentally sensitive habitat and supporting the continued operation of this large, family-owned coastal campground.
- Led the effort to secure international recognition for Tomales Bay as a Ramsar Site, or Wetland of International Importance.
- Stopped construction of industrial wind turbines along the ridgelines of the east shore of Tomales Bay.
- Successfully advocated for the designation of Drakes Estero Wilderness in Point Reyes National Seashore.
Due to the commitment of prior generations and organizations, like EAC, West Marin is now an international destination, with three national parks, three state parks, miles of open space, and agricultural lands where people come to enjoy, recreate, appreciate, and discover our natural world.