Category Archives: Carquinez Strait

Stephen Golub: Don’t Let Duck Hunting Ruin Benicia’s ‘Great Day by the Bay’

Fish and Game Commission, Don’t Let Duck Hunting Ruin Benicia’s Great Day by the Bay

By Stephen Golub, May 29, 2023
Benicia resident and author Stephen Golub, A Promised Land

As many know, Benicia’s catch-phrase is “A Great Day by the Bay.” Well, that great day – and great years, lives, livelihoods and life savings – is endangered by a practice that puts at risk the things that make Benicia great.

I’m talking about duck hunting, which in effect takes over much of Southampton Bay and potentially all Benicia residential shoreline waters for a good part of the year. It figuratively threatens to blast away the well-being of kids, seniors, all residents, boaters, kayakers, bicyclists, strollers, folks fishing, business owners, employees and visitors within earshot of their buckshot or otherwise harmed by the activity.

To be clear, I respect duck hunters and their enjoyment of the sport. As I’m sure most Benicians do, if the hunting takes place in appropriate, secluded, safe spots.

But we’re talking about thousands of Benicians already affected in their far-from-secluded homes, and potentially thousands more, by a relative handful of hunters.

Here’s why:

For at least the past several decades, and maybe much longer, Benicia had no history or tradition of duck hunting in its residential shoreline waters. But that changed in late 2020, as a few such hunters started doing their thing here, typically setting out from the 9th Street pier. Their shots can be heard at dawn and other times of day by hundreds of households nearby.

The duck hunting season runs from October through January. There is even the possibility that it could be extended.

Imagine waking to gunfire. And not knowing exactly when it might echo through your neighborhood. The shooting can reverberate very loudly. Think of how well many of us can hear Amtrak, all the way across the water. Then compare that with the sound of shots much closer by.

That’s a reality for many residents living near Southampton Bay.

It’s also a potential reality for many more of us. There’s nothing to stop the hunters from parking themselves on the waters near 1st Street or any other waterside location that we might reside near or otherwise enjoy. Or many more descending on Benicia in years to come.

However, this problem could end if enough of us act quickly enough.

A petition to change this situation was submitted to the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) in January of 2022. Its core request was, “Make duck hunting off limits and not permissible along the shoreline of Benicia, the Benicia State [Recreation Area] waters, or the Southampton Bay waters.” Numerous Benicians have since contacted the Commission to back the petition.

On Tuesday, the Benicia City Council passed a unanimous resolution asking the FGC to approve the petition’s request at its upcoming meeting. In person or via email, about three dozen Benicians backed the move. A few folks emailed in opposition to it, though it’s not clear whether they all hailed from Benicia.

No one who spoke opposed duck hunting in general. But the practice steps on the freedom of Benicians and their children to enjoy peace, quiet and security in and around their homes. In addition, as demonstrated by various studies, excessive stress can have a demonstrated negative impact on the health of children, seniors and everyone in-between.

This activity also can block Benicians’ ability to benefit from their investments (even including their life savings) in their homes. If they sell their houses, they may be forced to disclose the fact of regular gunfire nearby or otherwise see their value plummet. That could even affect property values throughout town.

And what about the freedom of Benicians to own a business and earn a living? Benicia’s economy and vitality partly hinge on the many recreational, commercial, cultural, historic, entertainment and other attributes that make it special. Several months a year of nearby duck-hunting could damage all that, either directly or by harming the city’s reputation.

Again, in contrast with thousands of affected Benicians, we’re talking about a relative handful of hunters who can enjoy this pastime at any number of places in far more secluded areas, not too far a drive away. I’m sure that most duck hunters would not dream of firing their guns near their neighbors on a daily basis.

Nor would they want that done to them. Nor do we want it done to us.

I could raise other potential issues relating to this matter, such as the risk of a water sport enthusiast getting shot, or gunfire close to shipping lanes, or buckshot maiming ducks that don’t get killed.

But let’s leave it at that for now.

If you’d like to weigh in on this matter, here’s what you can do:

Contact the Fish and Game Commission

Contact the Fish and Game Commission, stating your support for petition number 2022-01, which seeks to prohibit duck hunting near Benicia. It would probably be useful to include that petition number and description in an email’s subject line. The FGC’s contact information is:
(916) 653-4899 or (916) 653-7229

Crucial FGC discussions of whether to ban duck hunting in Benicia’s waters could be occurring right now. So if you’re interested in taking action, it makes sense to reach out to the FGC at this time, as well as the following officials.

Contact Governor Gavin Newsom

Contact Governor Newsom by googling “Contact Governor Newsom,” which takes you to a link and then a form for emailing him. You can also click this link to reach the same form:

Contact our elected state representatives

Contact State Senator Bill Dodd. His Capitol office can be reached at (916) 651-4003 and his Vallejo office at (707) 551-2389 . You may also send Senator Dodd a message via web form by clicking this link:

Contact Assemblywoman Lori Wilson. Her Capitol office can be reached at (916) 319-2011 and her District office at (707) 438-7359. You may also send Assemblywoman Wilson a message via web form by clicking this link:

Contact our county supervisor

Contact Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown, at (707) 784-3031 or

Supervisor Brown has been extremely supportive of Benicia’s situation. Senator Brown and Assemblywoman Wilson have also been laudably sympathetic, but may be holding off on weighing in until the FGC makes a decision. Hearing from constituents could help buttress their positions now and down the line.

For what it’s worth . . .

For what it’s worth, I don’t live near or hear the gunfire myself.

And again, no one wants to interfere with duck-hunting in general.

But, as opposed to A Great Day by the Bay, we don’t want Benicia to become known as A Bad Day by the Buckshot.

We just want Benicia to remain a great place to live, work and visit.


[A version of this article first appeared in the May 28 edition of the Benicia Herald. Stephen Golub also writes about national and international affairs at his blog,]


Tell Benicia City Council – ‘no more gunfire near our homes and waterfront!’

Benicia City Council to vote on boosting citizens’ petition to halt early-morning gunfire barrage during hunting season 

By Nathalie Christian, May 22, 2023

On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, Benicia City Council will vote on whether or not to adopt a resolution in support of a citizens’ petition to California’s Fish & Game Commission (FGC) to prohibit duck hunting near Benicia’s residential shoreline.

According to the petition brought by Benicia resident Cathy Bennett and several community members, for the past two seasons duck hunters have been discharging their weapons within 150 yards of residential homes and parks. The barrage of gunfire has reportedly traumatized both residents and animals – including young children, pets, wildlife and adults – and potentially lowered the value of homes in the area.

However, the FGC has yet to place the matter on an upcoming agenda for consideration, effectively stalling the effort in its tracks.

To support the safety of residents as well as business interests in the area (considered prime waterfront real estate), Benicia City Council is seeking public input on whether adopt a resolution “to reinvigorate the urgency of the matter to the FGC with the goal of having the merits of the petition discussed at the August 2023 meeting.”

Show your support

Benicia residents are strongly encouraged to show support for our neighbors living on the shoreline who, for two hunting seasons now, have been awoken by loud gunfire early in the morning. The impact on human, wildlife and business interests in the area has been severe.

Take a stand with your Benicia neighbors by making a public comment telling our City Council that enough is enough – we have a right to safety, peace and quiet in our own homes.

Showing your support can be as easy as writing an email, but commenting in person is a great way to be heard.

How to write and email a public comment

Members of the public may provide public comment via email to the City Clerk by email at Any comment submitted to the City Clerk should indicate to which item of the agenda the comment relates (DUCK HUNTING IS ITEM 21.B).

– Comments received by 2:00 pm on the day of the meeting will be electronically forwarded to the City Council and posted on the City’s website.

– Comments received after 2:00 pm, but before the start time of the meeting will be electronically forwarded to the City Council but will not be posted on the City’s website.

In your email, put the item number in your subject line (e.g., “Public comment re. Item 21.B”).

In your email body, share why you support the resolution. You don’t have to write much. You can simply say, “I support a resolution to prohibit duck hunting near Benicia homes.”

The important thing is to send the email on time, ideally before 2 pm on Tuesday, May 23.

How to view the meeting and/or make a live public comment

You can participate in the meeting in one of four ways: 

1) Attend in person at Council Chambers
2) Cable T.V. Broadcast – Check with your cable provider for your local government broadcast channel.
3) Livestream online at
4) Zoom Meeting (link below)

The public may view and participate (via computer or phone) link:
  • If prompted for a password, enter 449303.
  • Use participant option to “raise hand” during the public comment period for the item you wish to speak on. Please note, your electronic device must have microphone capability. Once unmuted, you will have up to 5 minutes to speak.
  • Dial in with phone:
    Before the start of the item you wish to comment on, call any of the numbers below. If one is busy, try the next one.

        • 1 669 900 9128
        • 1 346 248 7799
        • 1 253 215 8782
        • 1 646 558 8656
        • 1 301 715 8592
        • 1 312 626 6799

•  Enter the meeting ID number: 885 0804 7557 (*please note this is an updated ID number*.)

Say the item you wish to speak on. (DUCK HUNTING IS ITEM 21. B)

Once unmuted, you will have up to 5 minutes to speak.

Enter password: 449303

When prompted for a Participant ID, press #.

Press *9 on your phone to “raise your hand” when the Mayor calls for public comment during the

Any member of the public who needs accommodations should email City Clerk Lisa Wolfe at, who will use her best efforts to provide as much accessibility as possible while also maintaining public safety.

Oppose gunfire in the Carquinez Strait near our Benicia homes and recreation!

Is Duck hunting off the Benicia residential shoreline really a good idea?

By C. Bennett, by email

For those of you who haven’t yet been woken at dawn by the sound of gunshots, for the second season in a row a group of local resident duck hunters have been hunting off the Benicia shoreline & State Park waters. Our beautiful straits that used to be filled with peaceful water recreation, have recently been overshadowed by duck hunters from late October to late January.  Our usual mixture of kayakers, paddleboarders, windsurfers & hang gliders have receded.  Who can blame them?  Sharing the waterways with men shooting guns is a kill joy, not to mention unsafe.

It turns out it is technically legal.  For the past 40+ years duck hunters have known that hunting was inappropriate so close to a residential community, so they hunted in nearby appropriate venues including Grizzly Island, Suisun Marsh, Mare Island & along the shores of San Pablo Bay & non-residential sections of the Napa River (all quite close by).  Hunters respected the residential shoreline of Benicia & the State Park waters as off-limits to hunting. But a new generation of local hunters think differently, despite the polite request of their neighbors to hunt elsewhere.  Their response is, “It’s legal. We can hunt here if we want to.”  So they persist- 2-3 days a week, starting usually at sunrise, sometimes staying out on the water til noon, (or all day) returning at sunset.

Dozens of calls to the Fish & Wildlife Dept have failed to impart any change. Benicia police say, “It’s out of our jurisdiction.”  Residents have consulted the mayor, the city attorney, the police chief, and the city manager.  Apparently, as long as it is technically legal, there is nothing the city of Benicia, or its residents can do to stop it.  Casual hikers along the SF Bay Trail, families & children playing or picnicking in the waterfront parks, bicyclists on the State Park pathways, & people whose houses look out upon the straits are unwittingly exposed to the jolting harshness of gunfire, & a visual of ducks being shot from the skies.  On the west side of town it wakes and alarms children, sends dogs into a panic, and triggers those with PTSD. It is an intolerable affront to the peaceful enjoyment of our lives.  Without some type of action to stop this, it may well grow to more & more hunters, eventually altering the personality & character of our town.  It will impact the type of tourists we attract, & the type of businesses that may or may not prosper.  It will quite likely change the very nature of our town. To most nature lovers, being viscerally exposed to duck hunting along the Benicia shoreline is not consistent with our motto

It’s a Great Day by the Bay”.

All this said, ‘duck hunting’ itself is not the problem. Duck hunting off of the Benicia shoreline & the State Park waters is the problem. I’m calling upon all of our conscientious duck hunters in this town to speak to these younger duck hunters.  Share with them your integrity, your knowledge of right from wrong, & help them understand the give & take of being part of a larger community.  So far diplomacy has failed.  We must therefore be prepared to designate the waters along the Benicia shoreline & the State Park off-limits to hunting.  We need to establish a legal basis to return to the common sense and courtesy that prevailed for much of the past four decades.  To accomplish this will require us to combine our individual voices, to unify for a common cause, & be prepared to take the necessary steps to restore & protect the peaceful enjoyment of this beautiful oasis we call Benicia.

Respectfully submitted,

C Bennett

9,700+ people submit comments opposing Bay Area dredging project

Press Release, STAND.EARTH, April 21, 2020
The Carquinez Strait, looking east, the Carquinez Bridge in the foreground and the Benicia–Martinez Bridge in the background. [Wikipedia]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Tuesday, April 21, 2020

9,700+ people submit comments opposing Bay Area dredging project

Community members speak out during public comment period against Army Corps of Engineers proposal, calling it a move by President Trump to expand fossil fuel industry

Traditional Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone Lands (SAN FRANCISCO, CA) — More than 6,000 people have submitted comments in opposition during a public comment period for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal to dredge San Francisco Bay.

The proposal, called the San Francisco to Stockton Navigation Improvement Project, would dredge a deeper channel through 13 miles of San Francisco Bay and the Carquinez Strait. Opponents criticize the project as a move by U.S. President Donald Trump and Big Oil to expand the fossil fuel industry in California — including increasing imports of Canadian tar sands crude oil. The proposal would provide a $57 million subsidy to Bay Area refineries.

“The world needs to start phasing out fossil fuel production — and this plan encourages just the opposite. It gifts four Bay Area oil refineries with millions in subsidies, pumps up the production of petroleum products, multiplies the risk of oil spills in local waters, threatens marine life, and increases greenhouse gas emissions and toxic pollution,” said Isabella Zizi, Climate Campaigner at in an op-ed published in the Benicia Herald.

The comment period on the proposal’s final environmental impact statement was extended from April 6 to April 21 after more than 100 social justice and environmental groups called on the Army Corps to extend comment periods and postpone public hearings while the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, April 21, 9,762 people had submitted comments through an online form during the comment period. An additional 36,492 signatures were collected on earlier petitions calling on President Trump and state and federal leaders to oppose the project, including Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, Rep. John Garamendi, Rep. Jerry McNerney, Rep. Mike Thompson, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and former presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris.

According to the draft environmental impact statement, the dredging project would enable the transport of greater amounts of crude oil imports and refined product exports to and from several oil refineries and other industries in the Bay Area. The proposal coincides with plans by Bay Area refineries — including an expansion proposal at Phillips 66’s San Francisco Refinery — to process greater quantities of Canadian tar sands crude oil. Tar sands, also called diluted bitumen or dilbit, is an extremely toxic, non-floating crude oil that is extremely difficult to clean up in the event of a spill.

Read more about the dredging proposal in this San Francisco Chronicle article from November 2019: San Francisco Bay dredging fuels an unexpected concern: climate change.


San Francisco-based environmental organization is a member of the Protect the Bay coalition, a group of local residents that aims to educate the Bay Area community about the expansion proposal at Phillips 66’s San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo. 
Coalition members include Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), Crockett-Rodeo United to Defend the Environment (CRUDE), Idle No More SF Bay, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, Rodeo Citizens Association,, and Sunflower Alliance. Supporting organizations include 350 Bay Area, Amazon Watch, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth US, Fresh Air Vallejo, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, San Francisco Baykeeper, 350 Contra Costa County, and 1000 Grandmothers for Future Generations.
Learn more about the Protect the Bay coalition at


Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland, Communications Manager,, 510-858-9902