I am a diehard Oakland Athletics baseball fan. Despite growing up on the other side of San Francisco Bay in San Bruno – without a doubt San Francisco Giants territory – I was always more enamored with the at the time far more successfully but less popular Athletics. So these days, myself and other Oakland fans are on edge as the team pushes for badly new ballpark to replace the antiquated Oakland Coliseum location. The team has focused on one location only, a proposed gorgeous waterfront facility in the Howard Terminal area of Oakland, not far from the entertainment location of Jack London Park. After years of failures to secure a ballpark for the team, the team is at a crossroads, and if this project is rejected by the city of Oakland or Alameda County, the Athletics are also in talks with Las Vegas – where another of Oakland’s iconic franchises, the National Football League’s Raiders – now resides, as a possible relocation destination.
I won’t burden you anymore about the complications of the twists of turns of this melodrama, but local sportscaster Brodie Brazil, who hosts the Athletics’ pregame and postgame TV shows on NBC Sports California, discussed how even fishing would be impacted the new Oakland waterfront ballpark could have. It was part of a 3,500-page Environmental Impact Statement recently released, as the project is as close as ever to giving my beloved team the new stadium it needs.
Here’s Brazil on the fishing aspect of the Howard Terminal project.
“Take all this in perspective, as we’re literally talking about a fishing pier for Howard Terminal or the waterfront district,” Brazil says from his YouTube page. “It basically says that they want to put a fishing pier somewhere… I think what they’re saying is that they’ll allow fishing from the shore – from the edge of the land to the shore – but they’re not going to build a fishing pier.”
The fisherman in me is concerned also about making sure that Bay Area anglers get every opportunity they can to fish. But the baseball fan in me – specifically the Oakland A’s – wants to ensure that this ballpark gets built and my favorite team stays in my native Bay Area!
For what it’s worth, here’s the section on the possibility of a fishing pier from the report:
2.1.2 Fishing Pier Request
In response to a collective request that a fishing pier be incorporated into the proposed Project’s design to be consistent with Bay Plan Recreation policies, City staff considered the Project’s proposed open space (Waterfront Park) along the wharf and consulted relevant regulatory and oversight agencies to determine the viability of the requested pier structure and fishing activity from the Project site.
As currently designed, the proposed Project would not physically prohibit recreational fishing activities from Waterfront Park along the wharf. However, to summarize Response to Comment A-12-59 in Chapter 5 of this document, the City’s initial consultation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, and Port of Oakland regarding activity in the federal navigation channel (estuary) and Inner Harbor Turning Basin, determined that (1) no separate fishing pier structures could be developed; (2) fishing activity (including casting of lines) would be limited to approximately 128 feet out from the face of the wharf, which is the existing edge of the federal navigable waterway and a distance subject to change; (3) fishing from the southeast edge of the wharf could be prohibited as to not interfere with existing emergency use vessels (of the Oakland Police and Fire departments), the U.S.S Potomac and U.S. Lightship Relief museum ships, and existing State Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) ferry activities; and (4) fishing from the western edge of the wharf would be prohibited because it is the Inner Harbor Turning Basin. In response to these comments and input received from relevant agencies, the Project sponsor could install signs along portions of Waterfront park indicating where fishing is allowed and where it is prohibited.