Tuesday, January 01, 2008

End of an Era

Joelle Buffa, Farallons Refuge Manager for US Fish and Wildlife Service for the past 13 years, is moving on to a new job.

Joelle took the ragtag, limping island facilities where electricity was rare, North Landing a crushing hazard, and water tasted strongly of gull, and she improved every aspect of island life and operations. To list her extensive improvements would take many pages, but a short list of the major projects includes:
Replacing cranky and breakdown plagued generators with 3 new gensets and installing a huge solar power system. Demolishing the ancient, defunct north landing crane and installing a new crane, stairs and landing decks including a new Zodiac. When the Coast Guard suddenly stopped delivering water, she revitalized the 100-year-old rainwater collection system and installed multiple filters, ozone and UV treatment. Replacing the tiny Boston whaler we used for east landing with a burly SAFE boat that vastly enlarged the landing possibilities. Remodeling the Murre house interior and replacing windows and exterior siding for both houses. Rebuilding the dry-stacked masonry lighthouse trail. And more.

Joelle has always worked overtime to protect these unique islands and their precious natural resources. The wildlife has always been her first priority, but a close second was always our safety and comfort. The biologists and interns of the Farallon Program at PRBO Conservation Science have all benefited from Joelle's tireless energy and passion for these islands, and she accomplished all of this without a boat.

Thank you Joelle, we'll miss you, but will continue to enjoy your legacy for many years.

One last token of Joelle's affection (and her desire to give everything a nickname) was the rechristening of the two houses on the island as 'Murre' and 'Salamander' after two of her favorite island denizens. Accompanying the new names were beautiful original artwork that now adorn the front doors.

1 comment:

Henry Accord said...

In a previous article you said you had problems with water, but I notice in the photograph that a plastic water bottle is present AND a fire. Both of these can help with the water situation.

First, plastic water bottles offer a durable way to transport water to the island.

Second, you can get some ocean water and burn it until it boils. Then you can burn this water and collect it using a tarp over the burning vessel. This will result in freshwater.