Doran Boat Launch Facility Improvements

The project is located on the Sonoma Coast at an existing boat launch facility adjacent to Bodega Harbor. Bodega Harbor is located at the northern edge of Bodega Bay. It is bounded by Bodega Head to the north and west and by a spit to the south on which Doran Regional Park is located. It is a soft-bottomed harbor with tidal mud flats and eelgrass beds. The bay supports California sea lions, Pacific harbor seals, and many kinds of fish, including ground fish, coastal pelagic fish, Pacific salmonids, and clam beds. On land, adjacent habitats are mostly shoreline, saltgrass flats, and northern foredunes. The small community of Bodega Bay is to the east.

Bodega Harbor is used by recreational boaters and fishers and by small commercial fishing boats. Principal fishing catches include salmon, herring, various kinds of ground fish, and Dungeness crab. The mudflats also provide clamming. The harbor has three marinas with a total of approximately 450 berths and four boat launches; one of the marinas and three of the boat ramps are operated by Regional Parks.

Project Description

Doran Regional Park is a 127-acre facility located on the spit between Bodega Harbor and Bodega Bay that offers two miles of sandy beach, day use, and camping facilities, as well as the boat launch, which is on the main channel through Bodega Harbor. The existing 1-lane boat launch has a boarding float on only one side. A parking lot is located adjacent to the launch and can handle 30 vehicles with trailers. There is a fish- cleaning station at one end of the parking lot and hoses for boat washing at the other. Immediately northeast of the project site is a U.S. Coast Guard Station with its own boat launch.

The area for the proposed Doran boat washdown is located on the south side of the road, approximately 250 feet east of the existing boat launch. The area is sand leading up to a dunes community. The Cypress Day-use Area is located on the same side of the road as the proposed boat washdown area and provides entry to the beach on Bodega Bay. It has a parking lot for approximately 50 vehicles, picnic tables, and restrooms.

Project and Purpose of Funding

The purpose of the proposed project is to provide improved access, amenities, and safety at boat launching facilities in Bodega Bay at Doran Beach Regional Park. An assessment of existing site conditions has identified priority upgrades. Specifically, work will improve: 

  • Ramp safety.
  • Worn out parking lots.
  • ADA access.
  • Degraded/non-hygienic fish-cleaning stations.
  • Boat-launch access at Westside.

At Doran, repairs are needed to the ramp, entire boarding float system, parking lot surface and drainage, fish-cleaning station, and boat washdown. The concrete base of the boat ramp is stable, but the surface has eroded, and safety grooves are almost worn away in the critical tire area. The boarding float and piles are worn out; the parking lot has a broken and worn surface on the eastern portion and is only dirt and gravel on the west side; and the striping is almost entirely worn away. Both east and west portions of the lot drain to a low point at the center, where it percolates into a gravel swale and through the riprap. The boat washdown is adjacent to the center dirt area where the parking lot drains and is in an area that is both an exit lane from the east portion of the parking lot when it is full and may be used to position boat trailers for loading or unloading on the ramp, creating use conflicts and increased accident potential. The problem is exacerbated by the worn parking lot striping that provides inadequate guidance on parking lot use. The existing fish station is serviceable but has missing roof shingles and a worn wooden cleaning surface that does not meet current food handling standards.

Proposed Action

To address the safety hazards and degraded facilities described above, Regional Parks, with a grant from the California Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW), proposes improvement of the boat launch and supporting facilities. Specific improvements would include:

  • Boat Ramp Refurbishment: The boat ramp would be resurfaced, probably by using precast concrete planks. Worn out piles and boarding floats would be replaced. The replacement floating dock would begin with a gangway and include a low-freeboard portion for small boats and ADA access. 
  • Boat Washdown: The boat washdown would be moved out of the parking lot and across the street for improved traffic flow and safety. The new location would be a pullout from the east-bound lane across from the Coast Guard Station.
  • Fish-cleaning Station: The fish-cleaning station would be repaired/upgraded, which would involve structural repair or replacement, fish-cleaning surface replacement, and hose upgrades.
  • Parking Area: The parking area would be resurfaced and restriped. Improvements may include features such as raised islands of plants or vegetated swales. A pedestrian sidewalk would be added along the water side of the parking lot for improved safety. The gravel parking area immediately west of the currently paved area would also be surfaced and striped. A vegetated swale for improved water retention and filtration would be added in the center of the parking area between the existing paved and gravel lots.

Questions or Comments?

Contact Project Manager:

Mark Cleveland
Call:  (707) 565-3349
Email:  Mark Cleveland

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