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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
August 15, 2014     The Catalina Islander
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August 15, 2014

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On the Water Baby and the Bathwater BY CAPT. JOHN AFISHINADOS CHARTERS Based on my drive through of Avalon Harbor this weekend, this is going to come as a news flash: It is illegal to wash down ves- sels in Avalon Harbor. Most people do not seem to know that this is a City ordinance. Here is a test of harbor activities you can witness daily, see if you can identify which of the following are violations: A. A county lifeguard in the water Washing the scum off the side of a Life Guard Boat with a rag wetted by sea water. B. The Sea Wolf using buckets of sea water on the top side deck to "cool the genera- tors". C. A local boater scooping out water that had gotten into his dingy. D. A visiting boater using his salt water wash-down to hose off his swim step. E. A charter operator using a John King Columnist mop and buckets of sea water to clean the decks. If you have read the ordinance, then you would know that all of the above are violations! Here is the ordinance: Section 6-13.103 A#6. No person shall discharge non-storm water, including without limita- tion, non-storm water used for pier, boat or surface washing, to Avalon Bay. At first read, this seems like a reason- able law. None of us want our beaches post- ed, we all want clean water, and I think we might all agree that clean water is more important than a clean boat. Righteous, but wrong. The baby has been thrown out with the bathwa- ter. Or, to be more accurate, the boater has been thrown out with the bad water. It is a complicated story, so bear with me. The City of Avalon is currently under a "Cease and Desist Order" that requires the City of Avalon to "cease and desist discharging waste...and to imple- With Capt. John King ment actions to achieve wasteload allocations assigned to the City's discharges of waste and pollut- ants." In human language, we got busted. We had dirty water going into the harbor. We suspected that our sewer system was the problem, but we were not sure and it would be a big expense to fix. So, we looked to other sources for pollutants, including birds, boaters, docks, piers, storm drains, restaurants and waterfront businesses. We found a good number of problems and began fixing them. Birds got abated, boaters had yellow dye tabs in their holding tanks, docks are now washed with a water vacuum, storm drains are a 'work in progress', restaurants and waterfront businesses now must now trap and filter outflow, and the sewer system has had a major work over. Kudos to the City of Avalon. This is a lot to do for a small town and we have made huge strides. Our beaches are now a poster child of progress. All good, so what is the problem you may ask? In the good old days the bird population would spend the night on the floats, docks and under the AFISHINADO00 ENJOY THE ISLE IN STYLE 00.lixci.00om SSS-(00l ]-llll) Free Shipping For Catalina Island Residents Web Ordering Available! Check in-store pickup For free shipping! The Vape Store For The Rest of Us! Everything you need! Beginners to Advanced Users Friendly Service, No Snobbery! 2139 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach Ca 90815 562-494,1442 pier. In the morning the Harbor Patrol would wash the docks off and into the water. Then in 2011 some research suggested that bird poop 'markers' were evident, in our failed beach tests. In the pro- cess, we found that birds do con- tribute to the pollution of Avalon Harbor. Their droppings become con- centrated on large flat surfaces where they roost (docks and floats) and thus the concentration of their impact increases. Wash those floats off into the harbor and there is going to be an immediate increase in bacterial pollution. To assess the level of this impact a moratorium was imposed such that no docks or piers would be hosed off during a 10-day peri- od in 2012. In order to control the study boats were included in the moratorium...uh oh. The results showed that the two test sites closest to the pier and mole had indeed improved during the moratorium, I quote: "Interestingly, the sites where water quality appeared to improve during the moratorium are located close to the Pleasure Pier and the Mole, where bird droppings are routinely washed into Avalon Bay." Great news, we found the prob- lem and fixed it with the vacuum wash down. Unfortunately, the ordinance that was crafted includ- ed boats with docks and piers even though the research seemed to exonerate boat wash downs as a source. There has never been any research to suggest that any of the 'violations' I listed at the begin- ning of this story were in fact contributors. The short version, is that we need to amend this ordinance to remove boats from the same cat- egory as piers and docks. This would seem to be a simple action that could be managed by the City Council, however, just like a smoker trying to quit, when you are on 'the program' any slack in the effort would look like back- sliding to the water board. I think the City of Avalon needs our help. I would like to suggest that all boat operators sign a Code of Professional Operation that states: I will not allow any potential source of pollution that would increase bacterial counts within Avalon Harbor. Let 'em know "we want our baby back, baby back, baby back." Capt. John runs Afishinados Charters and can be reached at or 888- 613-7770. Hike From page 2 Harbors, hike the West End Road to Lion Head and follow the signs. Parsons Beach Trail West End .5 miles Traiihead: West End Road above Parsons' Beach What you'll see: Views of Parsons' Beach below and San Pedro Channel in the distance. How to get there: From Two Harbors, hike the West End Road to Parsons' Beach. ICES From page 1 and parent needs assuring opti- mal student support. Contact the program's leaders for specifics questions. ICES's summer program ended last Friday. However, will start back up on Sept. 3 from 12-6 p.m. This summer there were all kinds of great and fun activities like beach days, trips to different parts of Catalina on a sightseeing tour. ICES summer programs exists to serve the unique academic, physical and social needs of stu- August I through August 21 Shows Nightly at 7:30pm Rated PG-13 Admission: Adult $15.00, Senior or Child $13.00 Matinee - Saturday & Wednesday 4:30pm Admission: Adult $10.00, Senior or Child $8.00 Every Tuesday $8.00 Admission dents who are in a special and critical period of their lives as they change from childhood to adolescence. The ICES staff is committed to creating and main- taining an orderly, stimulating, fun and safe environment where learning is exciting's. All aspects of the ICES organi- zation, curricular, and enrichment programs are child-centered and designed to accommodate indi- vidual learning styles. The ICES team joins the parents and com- munity to assist the students in developing necessary skills to become independent and self-suf- ficient adults who will succeed and contribute responsibly in a global community. eyelashes Call 714-546-2020 For a Saturday clinic appointment at CIME. ltb ORANGE COAST ee center For More Inforrnation Coll 310-510-0179 4 Friday, August 15, 2014 THE CATALINA ISLANDER