Rimmon Carlton Fay Anthology, Part 1 of 5:

Marine Biologist, California Coastal Commissioner, Environmentalist
Impacts of Humans on Coastal Environment of Southern California

Edited and Compiled by
Robert Jan "Roy" van de Hoek
Marine Biologist
Ballona Institute
Playa del Rey, California
2003, 2008

In Part 1 of this anthology of the "life and times" of Rimmon Carlton Fay, we learn about Rim's critical report on the state of the coastal environment of a significant portion of southern California, namely Ventura County, Los Angeles County and Orange County. He eloquently analyzes the marine wildlife and its habitat and how it is impacted by human pollution and urban development in the three counties mentioned above. Please read below to see excerpts from his report on observations of many places along our coast, such as Del Rey Lagoon, Marina del Rey, Ballona Creek, Newport Bay, and more.

Southern California’s
Deteriorating Marine Environment:
An Evaluation of the Health of the Benthic Marine Biota
Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange Counties

Rimmon C. Fay
in association with
Eugene D. Michael, James A. Vallee
and Gennevieve B. Anderson

Center for California Public Affairs
An Affiliate of The Claremont Colleges
Claremont, California 91711

First Edition 1972
Second Edition 1973

Increased attention to the environmental impact of proposed physical developments of the land and shoreline is being required at the decision making level of government. The recent California Coastline Preservation and Recreation Plan (1) is an appropriate case in point. Here in southern Californiaa, nearly all proposed projects relate more or less directly to the marine environment which is inseparable from the climate, economy, life style and life support systems of this area. It was suggested by the coastal planning program unit of the Southern California Association of Governments that a baseline descriptioon of the health of the biota of the inshore area would be useful in evaluating the potential effect of projects proposed in the member counties of SCAG and to this end the following report has been prepared.

A description of the health of local marine biota has been prepared in a framework... [to be edited and compiled further in the future by Robert van de Hoek.

This report is offered to encourage the development of an understanding of the biological importance of the various marine habitats of southern California, ... [to be edited and compile further in the future by Robert van de Hoek].

Research for more recent works on the geology of the study area was greatly facilitated by the suggestions of Professor Donn S. Gorslin of ... USC ... [to edited and compile in the future by Robert van de Hoek].

A special note of thanks is due to Mr. Frank Hotchkiss of the Southern California Association of Governments for his cooperation in obtaining research materials.

Rimmon C. Fay, Ph.D., James A. Vallee, Ph.D., and Mrs. Genevieve B. Anderson, M.A., marine biologists, are members of the staff of Pacific-Bio Marine Supply Company, Venice, California.

Eugene D. Michael, a geologist, is a senior research scientist with Earth Science Research Corporation.


Page 6


Page 27


Page 31
Ocean waters move in the horizontal and vertical planes both at the surface and depth.


Page 33
The eel grasses, especially Zostera, are also of importance as food and habitat for a number of organisms and especially as a nursery ground for baby fishes.


Page 33
Natural bays and estuaries are among the most densely populated and productive of the marine habitats (chapter XIV). This productivity and high carrying capacity is a result of the interaction of the mudflat with the air as the surface of the mud is exposed either once or twice daily on low tides. [ to be compiled as time and money allow by Robert Roy van de Hoek at later time.]

Rincon to Ventura River
Page 35
Runs of anadromous fishes in the Ventura River are known to have occurred up until about 1940; however, the input of industrial wastes into this stream appears to have ended this biological function in recent years. Some marsh birds live at the mouth of the river.

Venice Canals
Page 36
A canal parallels the marina peninsula and extends about 1 mile into Venice where four shallow canals form a network, two by four blocks in area. A productive clam bed exists at the entrance of the Grand Canal and a number of fishes periodically wander into the channel system. Heavy growth of algae and some ditch weed occurs in the canals in Venice on a seasonal basis. There is no other apparent marine life in this canal system, which is periodically diked to prevent tidal exchange during episodes of construction or maintenance activity.

Del Rey Lagoon and mudflats
Page 36
Del Rey Lagoon has a surface area of about 5 acres. It has functioned periodically as a nursery for fishes but recent use of this nature has been prevented as a result of heavy poisoning of the lagoon, presumably to control plant growth. Some domesticated waterfowl are present in the area. The adjacent mudflats are a habitat for typical salt marsh plants and the waterways are periodically inhabited by fishes, crabs, and snails. A few birds visit this area, which is owned by the Hughes Tool Company.

Point Mugu to Ballona Creek
Page 58
No waste discharge permits in effect, no obvious direct waste discharges to the ocean.........

Ballona Creek to San Clemente
Page 58 to Page 60
Ballona Creek - while constructed for storm drain purposes, this water course receives a considerable input of industrial waste and some oil brines which enter the ocean next to Marina del Rey.

Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Los Angeles River, Dominguez Flood Control Channel, Cerritos Channel - complex of industrial, domestic, thermal, oil brine wastes. Majority of industrial oxygen demanding wastes formerly conveyed to the ocean via Dominguez Flood Control Channel now diverted through the Los Angeles County Treatment Plants and discharged to the ocean at White's Point.

Unusually high or low temperatures may cause the mass mortality of species not adapted to such extremes. For example, large numbers of clams were killed by abnormally warm water in Alamitos Bay in the summer of 1971.


Page 64
Several projects are proposed for further modification of the shoreline. These projects will have more or less biological effect and some may modify areas of the shoreline which are still in a primitive condition. An incomplete inventory includes the following:

Point Mugu to Topanga Canyon. ... Widening of beaches along the shoreline of Malibu; widening of beach at Las Tunas Canyon; construction of groins on beach. Construction of storm drain systems in Malibu area. Widening and development of Corral Beach and Westward Beach. Potential offshore oil drilling and production. Construction of offshore marinas at Malibu Creek and Topanga Canyon.

Topanga Canyon to Palos Verdes. Expansion of storm drain systems. ...dredging to maintain opening at Marina del Rey and Ballona Creek.

Santa Catalina Island. Construction of offshore landing field at Pebbly Beach. Widening of Avalon Beach.


Page 64
1. Take immediate and effective steps to preserve the remaining natural portions of Mugu Lagoon, Anaheim Bay and Upper Newport Bay.

2. Assure the implementation of protective measures to maintain the healthy condition of the beds of giant kelp now found from Point Mugu to Malibu Point.

3. Impose measures which would prevent the blockage of the natural input of sediments to the shoreline from Point Mugu to Topanga Canyon.

4. Eliminate the artificial input of heavy metals and other toxic substances into the inshore waters of southern California.

5. Implement procedures for the terrestrial disposal of particulate organic wastes.

6. Implement treatment procedures to protect marine organisms from the adverse effects of thermal wastes.

7. A detailed study of the dynamics of the sand beaches is urgently required together with the development of sufficient data to establish a sand budget for these beaches.

8. Criteria are needed to determine which shoreline structures are required and which may be eliminated to avoid costly, disruptive efforts at shoreline stabilization to protect or maintain non-essential structures.

9. A detailed evaluation of the health of the marine biota of the whole of the mainland of southern California framed in a description of marine geology and physical oceanography is urgently required.

10. A biological inventory and oceanographic survey of the Channel Islands of southern California should be conducted while these islands are still in a predominantly natural state.

11. An effective management program must be developed to protect rocky cobble beds and tidepools from excessive disruption by human visitors.

12. Educational and training programs are urgently required to inform the lay public of the value and importanc of the ocean as the fundamental unit in the maintenance of the life support system for the terrestrial realm of earth, and what measures must be taken to assure the maintenance of this life support system.

13. Specific and detailed criteria must be developed to evaluate the environmental impact of proposed and existing developments in southern California in order to achieve planning decisions which are responsible to the environment which we all must share.

14. A quantitative description of the dynamics of the water masses of the inshore area of southern California would provide useful information.

See this link below to read excerpts from another scientific report written by Rimmon Carlton Fay
Distribution and Ecology of the Littoral Ascidians of the Mainland Coast of Southern California

Concluding Remarks
Robert Roy van de Hoek
Marine Biologist, Field Biologist, Geographer, Naturalist

Rimmon Fay is a fine scientist that has enlightened the public about the valuable coast for marine life in southern California. He has blown the whistle about the danger of pollution and over-development in southern California. I have met him now five times in the last two years. I was fortunate to spend a day in the field at Ormond Beach looking at sand dunes, wetlands, lagoons, beach and seashore. He cares deeply about the coast and ocean. And he is concerned with our pollution of the environment.

There are so many observations that Rim Fay made in his 1972 that have a "seer" aspect and his predictions and concerns are ring clear today, 30 years after his report. For example, number 3 recommendations essentially calls for the removal of Rindge Dam on Malibu Creek.

In 1982, Rimmon Fay was asked to write a few words for a new book that has gone through several printings and a new second edition in 1996, called Common Wetland Plants of Coastal California. The author is a good friend of Phyllis Faber, who I also have met at several California Native Plant Society meetings and on a botanical field trip, where I had lunch with her on the Eureka Valley Dunes, located north of Death Valley. Rimmon Fay said the following words about Phyllis Faber's book, published by Pickleweed Press:
... a succinct, explicit, informative guide to an important subject. There is no question but what such a guide is needed, will be useful and will be well received." The book has other quotes by other notable scientists and environmentalist together with Rim Fay's words. Some of the these include Wilma Follette of the California Native Plant Society, Michael Fisher of the California Coastal Conservancy, and Susan Cochrane of the Department of Fish and Game. The title below Rim Fay's name reads: California Coastal Wetland Coalition [and] Former Coastal Commissioner.

I found an eclectic acknowledgement of Rimmon Fay, while he was student at UCLA, that was written and published by Dr. Richard Boolootian at UCLA, and appeared in the Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences (1958).
Specimens of Strongylocentrotus franciscanus collected from Malibu, California, by Mr. R.C. Fay, graduate student at the University of California at Los Angeles, included one with a single, relatively large barnacle, Balanus tintinabulum, attached directly to the test, and smaller barnacle of the same species attached to the larger one.