Human waste kills Little Tutka Bay

Little Tutka Bay — 40 years ago. Julia and I would go over to her family cabin with beer, lemons, potatoes and pancake mix. We’d stay a week and eat clams dug from the small isthmus, dungies we caught with our hands in the eel grass in front of the cabin, sable fish caught with biting worms dug from under rocks, mussels plucked from where the fresh water of the creek met the sea.  

Folks were few. Outhouses were built back from the small bay that goes dry every tide. This past weekend Mike and I went over. He climbed Sadie and snowboarded down and I poked around Little Tutka in my kayak. There was a  huge algae bloom. And everything was dead. No hope of eating the few clams or mussels left. No dungies anymore or even eel grass for that matter. 

It hasn’t happened over night. 

But the brown foam smelled of feces and the tide pools were devoid of life. I noticed how the houses have gotten fancier, there are more of them and none have outhouses. When you flush your s–t into the bay it does not — according to popular polluters’ beliefs (Parnell, Princess Cruises et al.) —  go away. Out of sight is not out of mind. 

Human waste has killed the back bay at little Tutka. It would be easy to fix if folks took responsibility for their own poop and did not pawn it off on the rest of us and the earth at large. It could be clean and full of life again if each of us lived in a way that enhanced life instead of destroying it. If we paid the full price for our existence.

Shelley Gill