Sonoma County officials are crafting long-range plans to renovate the aging public marinas at Bodega Bay, where commercial fishermen tie up alongside weekend sailors and tourists flock for clam chowder and the smell of the briny sea.
The marinas are part of the allure of Bodega Bay, a milieu that includes marshlands, birdwatching, coastal trails and a history of the native Pomo and Miwok and early Russian traders.
"What we see is a natural resource and very important economic base tied together that could provide the public with real insight into the environmental system and economic system and how it all works together," said Caryl Hart, director of Sonoma County Regional Parks.
In the short term, the county will shift the commercial and recreational boating operations at Mason's Marina to Spud Point, which is large enough to handle all of the boating.
Long-term, a renovated Mason's Marina could become the home to the charter boats now located at the much smaller Sport Fishing Center.
There could also be an educational center at Mason's and a hub for recreational activities such as hiking, biking, camping, picnicking, whale and dolphin watching, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, rowing and day sailing.
"What we want to do is preserve a pristine environment at Bodega Bay and a healthy environment," Hart said.
Spud Point Marina, which operates on a $2.5 million annual budget, was built in the 1980s, has 250 slips and is home to the Bodega Bay commercial fishing industry.
Thirty percent of the slips are unused, and the facility is in need of repair. Electrical transformers need to be replaced, said marina manager Betty Tenret, and the aging and breakdown-prone ice machine, critical to salmon and crab fishing, would cost $750,000 to replace. The crane used to lift boats out of the water for repairs, inspection and maintenance also needs to be replaced.
"Spud is a decent marina, it just has some infrastructure needs," Tenret said.