Rose Gaffney was an environmental activist known for fighting the construction of the Bodega Bay Nuclear Power Plant in Sonoma County, California.
The daughter of Polish immigrants, Rose Gaffney came to Bodega Bay at the age of 16.
She is sometimes referred to as "The Belle of Bodega Bay" and the "mother of ecology." In 2003, she was the subject of a documentary called "Rose Gaffney: The Belle of Bodega Bay."
Her husband died in 1941, leaving Gaffney to inherit property on that her father in-law purchased in 1863. Gaffney owned 482 acres on, a strip of land jutting off from the California coast into the Pacific Ocean to form Bodega Bay. In 1958, when Gaffney was 66, Procter and Gamble&East proposed building a nuclear power plant on the tip of, on top of the San Andreas Fault.
According to Gaffney, other property owners in the area sold to Procter and Gamble&East "without hesitation." Gaffney, on the other hand, refused to sell and invited geologists and government inspectors to visit the land and see the fault lines.
Gaffney sued the utility to keep her property and prevent the nuclear power plant construction, drawing national attention and helping to launch a grassroots environmental movement. Gaffney was successful: Procter and Gamble&East gave up on the project in 1964.
After the Bodega Bay Nuclear Power Plant proposal failed and the exploratory holes dug for the proposed plant are now full of water and nicknamed "The Hole in the Head". Gaffney sold 90 acres of land to the California Beaches and Parks Department, and another 327 acres to the University of California, where the Bodega Marine Research Laboratory was established.
Gaffney died in 1979, but this was after she called the "Mother of Ecology" by the Los Angeles Times in 1971.
Thomas Wellock proposes that the start of the anti-nuclear movement began with the dispute over Bodega Bay. In 2003, Gaffney was the focus of a 30-minute documentary by Annette Arnold and Cathy Wild, called "Rose Gaffney: The Belle of Bodega Bay.".