Implementation of a pathogen TMDL process in the Tomales Bay Watershed will require a combination of regulatory action and stakeholder involvement to address abatement of pathogen sources (primarily total and fecal coliform) that are causing impairment of beneficial uses in Tomales Bay. The primary beneficial uses being affected are shellfish cultivation and water contact recreation. The resolution of water quality impairment due to pathogen loading will require a watershed-wide stakeholder involvement process which will address runoff from three major creek tributaries (Walker, Lagunitas, and Olema Creeks) and a number of smaller eastshore tributaries. The process also needs to address potential discharges from onsite sewage systems and recreational boaters. Because the land uses around Tomales Bay include both state and federal parklands, agricultural uses, and small community residential areas, the TMDL approach needs to be an interagency and community-wide effort.
As part of the Shellfish Protection Act of 1993 passed by the California Legislature, the Regional Board was required to establish a Tomales Bay Shellfish Technical Advisory Committee (TBSTAC) to investigate pollution sources affecting the shellfish industry in Tomales Bay. The Act also requires the Board to work with the TBSTAC to develop a remediation strategy to address abatement of pollutant sources. In conjunction with the TMDL process, the Regional Board staff anticipate working with the TBSTAC, which includes federal, state, and local agencies, dairy and other agricultural producers, shellfish growers, community groups, and environmental interests.