Access to Piper Slough/Owners rights
- Hello all,
This may be slightly off topic so I apologize ahead of time if it is. This
morning I visited Piper Slough at the north end of Bethel Island in Contra
Costa County, a pretty well-known site for Bay Area birders who are searching
for Blue Grosbeak, Yellow-breasted Chat, Black-chinned Hummingbird, etc.
This morning I was told by a man who says he is the landowner that I was on
private property and that I would have to leave. He was extremely sarcastic
though I have to admit I was as well. My understanding in the past was that
these levees were public property even though the land behind the levee
wasn't. We have been visiting the site for well over ten years and have
talked with several different people claiming to the the landowner as well as
workers from the city of Bethel Island and have never had a problem.
Fishermen have always been kept out, I think primarily because they damage
the rip-rap but perhaps also because they have apparently planted marijuana
out there in the past.
Anyway, I know this issue came up recently when the Smew was in nearby San
Joaquin Co. I'm hoping someone can provide me with good answers as to public
access to levees or direct me to who it would be most helpful to contact.
In the meantime I suppose it would be best for birders not to enter the
property until we can establish whether the landowner does indeed have the
rights he claims to have.
Perhaps it would be best to contact me privately and if there are no
complaints about this post being too off-topic I will post the results if
anyone is interested.
Thanks in advance,
- Steve and others,
Sorry if this has been answered (I was stuck in DC and am sifting thru 568 messages). In Yolo, most levees are publically owned but some are indeed privately owned (e.g., many around Conaway Ranch). Of course, someone may claim ownership when really a public easement exists.
Steve Hampton, Ph.D.
Office of Spill Prevention and Response
California Dept of Fish and Game
PO Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 323-4724 phone
(916) 324-8829 fax