Drakes Bay Oyster Company has faced another setback in its fight to stay open. For the past year and a half, the popular Point Reyes oyster farm has been battling the federal government over the right to keep its business operating on Drakes Estero, after then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar decided not to extend the farm's lease in November 2012. The case has bounced around district courts, but today the Supreme Court declined to hear the oyster farm's appeal, closing the door on another court battle for the farm.
The farm's legal and PR teams emphasize that they have not yet reached the end of the road. The case will go back to district court in Marin County, and a spokesperson from the farm says that they are still reviewing options.
Just a few days ago, the oyster farm celebrated a legal victory: The Marin County Superior Court overturned a lawsuit against the farm from the California Coastal Commission -- separate from the lawsuit currently pending with the National Parks Service.
Drakes Bay Oyster Company sits on federal land, and opponents of the farm want the business gone so the estuary can return to "designated wilderness," the highest level of government protection for land. But supporters of the farm point to its legacy in Point Reyes and argue that its impact on the land and water is minimal. The fight over whether the farm should stay open has bitterly divided Marin County and environmentalists and conservation groups.
For more background, here's a feature I wrote last April on the farm's history.