Our mission is to protect the habitat of Puget Sound tidelands from the underregulated expansion of new and intensive shellfish aquaculture methods. These methods were never anticipated when the Shoreline Management Act was passed. They are transforming the natural tideland ecosystems in Puget Sound and are resulting in a fractured shoreline habitat. In South Puget Sound much of this has been done with few if any meaningful shoreline permits, limited public input, and with minimal peer-reviewed science. It is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to prevent.

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/protectourshore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline
Older News: from 2006 to 8/20/10
(This blog evolved from: http://protectourshoreline.org/)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WDFW Maps Show Declining Densities and Negative Recovery of State Geoduck Tracts Adjacent to Commercial Farms

“If you cut down a forest, it takes a very long time 
to come back. So you need to be very careful with the harvest rate.”
Bob Sizemore, WDFW

WDFW Map showing plots sampled which have
declining densities and negative recovery
adjacent to commercial intertidal farms.

In "The Poaching of Puget Sound" from OPB's KCTS 9, Robert Sizemore with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife notes concerns over declining densities of wild geoduck in subtidal, publicly owned tracts, previously harvested. Provided by WDFW is a map showing the few plots sampled and those which have "declining densities" and "negative recovery" (tracts in red above). On Harstine Island, where some of the most intensive intertidal geoduck farming is occurring on private tidelands, those wild, subtidal state owned tracts co-managed by WDFW and DNR immediately adjacent to the commercial farms are not recovering as expected. In fact, they are declining in density.

Spencer Cove, Northeast Harstine Island
Intertidal farms/dive harvesting
are circled in red. The inset shows where
Washington's subtidal tract is located.

Wilson Point, Southeast Harstine Island
Private intertidal farms are circled in red. The
inset map shows DNR's subtidal geoduck tract
which is declining in density.

If all those geoduck are spawning why are they declining?
WDFW and DNR should both be concerned over how they are managing these public assets. Is it simple coincidence that some of the largest private farms are immediately adjacent to the tracts not recovering? Unlikely. Adding to why WDFW - and DNR - should be concerned is a recent study published shows the farmed geoduck in these commercial farms reach maturity and begin to spawn at 2 to 3 years of age. Why, if the high density geoduck on intertidal farms (40,000+ per acre) are spawning for a period of 3 to 5 years are subtidal tracts adjacent to them not recovering faster than normal? (see here for study: https://app.box.com/s/8glqtmh1v3vmbynwnzaga8spw7cn0ymc)

Is there a fox in the hen house?
Is poaching by those operating the farms adjacent to the state owned tracts occurring? Or is the commercial farming on private tidelands causing die-offs on subtidal tracts from sediment disruption or plastic pollution or a genetic problem? The answer needs to be found before the wild geoduck reach the same fate as the native Olympia oyster, now near extinction from overzealous shellfish farmers who simply sought a profit at the public's expense.

There's more to managing wild geoduck than
just counting how many are harvested.
As Mr. Sizemore with WDFW is quoted as saying, “If you cut down a forest, it takes a very long time to come back. So you need to be very careful with the harvest rate.” It's why DNR requires replanting of forestland after harvesting. As Commissioner Goldmark begins his campaigning on how he is managing state resources he may want to consider why DNR does not manage its subtidal tidelands like it does its forest land and require replanting of state owned subtidal tracts after geoduck ahve been harvested.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

UW's Climate Impacts Group Releases "State of Knowledge: Climate Change in Puget Sound"

The University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group (CGI) has released their "State of Knowledge: Climate Change in Puget Sound." (29 mb file)

In the report CGI details current projections of how climate change and increasing levels of CO2 may impact Puget Sound. Topics range from how changes to freshwater inflows may impact the circulation of Puget Sound's waters (e.g., salinity, dissolved oxygen) to warming temperatures increasing the risks to human health (e.g., increasing toxicity of diatoms such as Pseudo-nitzschia and increasing harmful algae blooms) to overall ecosystem changes increasing the risks to native species (e.g., introduced non-native species being able to adapt to changes more quickly and displacing the native species).

It is lengthy (over 280 pages) but contains a great deal of information on what changes may be anticipated in the near and distant future.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ecology Calls for Comments on Herbicide Application in Washington Waters

I just think this timing table leaves too much wiggle room
 from someone in WDFW to mess with the permit.
Kim Patten, WSU Extension Office, Pacific County
Commenting in 2011 on herbicide application.
(supporter of neurotoxins on shellfish beds)
What's in your shellfish?

Concerned about CO2 and ocean acidification? Not in Willapa Bay.
The Department of Ecology has called for comments on a General Permit covering the application of herbicides in Washington's waters. Included is imazamox, currently being sprayed in Willapa Bay on shellfish beds to kill Japanese eelgrass by shellfish farmers. The same type of aquatic vegetation which was recently found to be "...among the Earth's most efficient and long-term carbon sinks, but coastal development [especially shellfish farming] threatens this capacity." (see "Losses and recovery of organic carbon from a seagrass ecosystem following disturbance" October 21, 2015, in Proceedings of the Royal Society)

See the Draft Permit here
See WDFW timing restrictions here
(Pacific County - Large mouth bass only. Migratory birds? Apparently not important.)
See DOE General Permit site here
See 2011 DOE Response to Comments here (including Mr. Patten's concerns)

Get involved. Unless you don't care about what's in that oyster you're eating.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Senate Considers Eliminating the Need for a Permit to Apply Pesticides on Navigable Waters

Should you need a permit
for the application of pesticides
onto navigable waters?
Protect Our Shoreline's photo.
Some in the Senate believe
"it is a burden."
Some things money can buy.
Politics and pesticide application in US waters: Don't like that you have to get a permit to spray pesticides in US waters? Have Congress pass a bill saying you don't need one.

The Independent Shellfish Growers of Washington (ISGW), an organization based out of Willapa Bay, has released an email asking a bill before the Senate NOT be passed (see below for complete email). Innocently titled as "Sensible Environmental Protection Act of 2015" the bill's purpose is to "...clarify Congressional intent regarding the regulation of the use of pesticides in or near navigable waters, and for other purposes." (see https://www.congress.gov/…/114th-co…/senate-bill/1500/titles) That "intent" would be to eliminate the requirement to obtain a permit for point source application of pesticides into navigable waters.

Some things it cannot.
ISGW has asked for support by signing a petition, asking Senators to NOT pass this bill. There is a great deal of money behind the bill and political support. You can make a difference by signing the petition or by contacting your elected officials and telling them to NOT support S. 1500, no matter what the title.
(Petition located here: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/stand-against-pesticide…)
(Senate contact information may be found here: http://www.senate.gov/…/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm)

Get involved.
Get involved. The waters of the United States and species they support are too important to allow passage of this bill.
Email from ISGW:
Poisons that state,{ Never allow near water } on their label will be used without environmental oversight.
Hi, The Senate committee charged with protecting our environment just passed a bill that would make it a lot easier to spray pesticides in and around our rivers, lakes, and streams. The bill should be called "The Contaminate Waters at Will Act" since it eliminates the need for permitting to spray pesticides into our waterways. The documented health hazards and loss of wildlife attributed to pesticides are the exact reason why businesses and industries are required to obtain permits to spray in and around bodies of water. Please tell your senators to stand against this reckless action now. That's why I signed a petition to The United States Senate. Will you sign this petition??????
                        Click here: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/stand-against-pesticide?source=s.em.mt&r_by=129211 Thanks!
We have apposed the rotten science that is never contested with the real facts to the point of  our members not selling their oysters to the unsuspecting public. We can not make the whole world aware because the big, and sometimes biggest oyster company's are to powerful with the media.I suggest you look up poison oyster or chemicals in Willapa bay Wa. Also google the Bloomberg press article.
Independent Shellfish Growers of Wa. State.

If you are interested in helping other than this petition we need media access to address the issue with science and first hand knowledge.
Radio, T.V., Magazines , Enviromental Groups and Papers

Monday, October 5, 2015

Shellfish Politics: $50,000 paid to Glover Park by Taylor Shellfish and Others to Eliminate Eelgrass Protection

Open Secrets has reported Taylor Shellfish and others have paid $50,000 to the Glover Park Group, a Washington DC lobbying firm. While unconfirmed, at the same time, Washington representatives effectively pleaded with the Corps to drop Condition 7, a regulation which would have provided eelgrass protection in south Puget Sound. The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat and others have written to Washington representatives and the Corps to ask this decision be reversed. (See Coalition letter by clicking here.)

What was the shellfish industry so concerned about? This:
"For continuing activities in 'fallow' areas, those activities shall not occur within 16 horizontal feet of native eelgrass (Zostera marina).  If eelgrass is present in the vicinity of a fallow acreage proposed for shellfish activities, the eelgrass shall be delineated and a map or sketch prepared and submitted to the Corps.  Surveys to determine presence and location of eelgrass shall be done during times of peak above-ground biomass: June - August.  The following information must be included to scale:  parcel boundaries, eelgrass locations and on-site dimensions, shellfish activity locations and dimensions."
Get involved. Caring about clean water means nothing if critical marine habitat is being put at risk by this industry.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Willapa Bay: Oysterville Sea Farms Court Decision May be Appealed by Pacific County

Intensification or Expansion?

What guidance will Pacific County's commissioners give the prosecutor? What guidance will Pacific County residents give the commissioners?
The Chinook Observer writes on the recent court decision in Pacific County over whether Dan Driscoll and his Oysterville Sea Farms operation are in violation of county regulations. These violations were reportedly driven from family tensions between Mr. Driscoll and his estranged uncle Dick Sheldon and son Brian (proponents of spraying imidacloprid neurotoxins and the herbicide imazamox on Willapa Bay shellfish beds), using their political influence to "motivate" Pacific County to begin an action against Mr. Driscoll. As reported by OPB in 2013:
In April 2012, for example, Barnett Kalikow, an Olympia-based attorney who represents Sheldon, pressured County Prosecutor David Burke and commissioners to take action against Driscoll, hinting that if they didn’t, their own careers could be at risk. “If the prosecutor fails in his duty, we have a number of options, ranging from extraordinary writs to recall petitions or both … . Any interference, abetting, advising, or pressuring the prosecutor to ignore or violate this statute may subject the commissioner himself to criminal sanction,” Kalikow wrote.
The OPB article continues, noting:
In June 2011, Sheldon filed a complaint with the county, pointing out that Driscoll was violating his agreement with the county by selling items such as jam and pasta sauce that went beyond the limited inventory the county had approved.
Get involved - elections are coming and commissioners, or those choosing to run against them, should hear (emails below)
Currently, Pacific County's prosecutor is seeking guidance from the commissioners on whether to appeal the decision. In the 2013 OPB article, Faith Taylor-Edred is quoted as saying:
Taylor-Eldred said, “Get involved in the process. When there’s a public hearing, they have to show up and voice their opinions.”
Good advice then, better advice now. Terms for Commissioner Frank Wolf (fwolfe@co.pacific.wa.us)  and Steve Rogers (srogers@co.pacific.wa.us) end in 2016. Lisa Ayers' (layers@co.pacific.wa.us) term runs through 2018.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Center for Food Safety Writes on the Dangers of Imidacloprid in Aquatic Systems

The Center for Food Safety has released a report on the dangers of imidacloprid (one of the neonicotinoid pesticides tied to honey bee colony collapse) to the aquatic ecosystem's species. Those species include invertebrates and birds. Some Willapa Bay shellfish growers continue to press the Department of Ecology to allow spraying of this pesticide - along with the herbicide imazamox - directly onto shellfish beds. It's time to stop.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

DNR Turns Its Back on Managing Puget Sound Subtidal Areas

DNR: Not my job. We only auction harvest rights
on subtidal geoduck tracts and we don't manage them
like our forestlands which require replanting.
"Basically, if you cut down a forest,
it takes a very long time to come back."
Bob Sizemore, Department of Fish and Wildlife
In an interview on PBS Newshour with Katie Campbell, Bob Sizemore discusses the impact which poaching of geoduck is having on the subtidal population of geoduck. While DFW is responsible for setting the percentage of of how much wild geoduck should be harvested, it is the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) who is responsible for overseeing the actual harvesting and auctioning. Between the two, neither seem capable of guaranteeing the wild population will be retained in numbers high enough to re-populate the areas harvested, a management plan which, if successful, takes 40 years to accomplish. But it's not working and puts the entire population of Puget Sound's subtidal geoduck population at risk of following the same pattern the shellfish industry set in the late 1800's when the native Olympia oyster was overharvested to near extinction.

"We see signs of poaching, and we don’t find any recovery."
Bob Sizemore, Department of Fish and Wildlife
With 5 divers, DFW is responsible for checking the population of geoduck after harvesting in areas auctioned off. With those divers, they are only able to check on 3% of the areas harvested, and what Bob Sizemore says they are finding are poaching and no recovery. On only sampling 3% of the areas harvested. The response from DNR? Keep harvesting, repopulating is not our job. Unless it's forestland, but it's not.
"...they’re [DFW] only able to check a fraction of the boxes,
and there’s no telling how much illegal shellfish slips through."
Attempts to find illegally harvested shellfish being exported at the airport, as with DFW's divers, is understaffed and only able to "check a fraction" of what is being exported. Coupled with responsibilities for checking the "black market" where seafood turns up, it is a woefully inadequate attempt to control a black market where tens of thousands of dollars are being exchanged each day. DNR simply feeds the pipeline with wild geoduck hoping somebody else will figure out the solution to poaching and the risk to wild populations. Unlike their forestlands, which they require replanting of after harvesting.
It's not 2008. It's time for DNR
to require replanting of subtidal areas
being stripped of geoduck.
Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark (cpl@dnr.wa.gov), was elected in 2008 in a wave of concerns over how DNR's aquatics division was being managed. Questionable tideland leases and the handling of Taylor Shellfish's encroachment onto state tidelands by then Commissioner Sutherland and the aquatics division were of such concern enough voters turned out to elect Commissioner Goldmark, a scientist and rancher. He needs to rise above the politics of geoduck farming which have to date prevented DNR, or DFW, from implementing a management plan like that of its forestlands - requiring replanting of the subtidal areas harvested.
Benefiting a few does not benefit the state
or tribal members.
Pressures to limit the state's production for the benefit of the few large intertidal shellfish growers (Taylor Shellfish, Seattle Shellfish and Chelsea Farms) needs to be countered with reason and logic based on true management of the state's subtidal resources. Not one which forces geoduck into intertidal areas, in densities never found in that tidal area, with plastic nets and tubes never found in that area. Concerns over genetic diversity are easily handled through use of wild geoduck for seed. Concerns over "difficulties" in planting in subtidal areas are countered by Chelsea Farms pursuing a permit, now in the courts, for a farm in a subtidal area which they seem to find no problem planting in. Seed sources may be limited, but so too were salmon smolt when DFW took on managing fish hatcheries to produce salmon in 1895. Waiting 40 years for a subtidal area to be ready to harvest when that same area, if managed by replanting could be harvested 5 times (based on an 8 year growing cycle), is far more beneficial to the state. And the tribes. It is management and would most certainly help ensure the wild population continues on into the future. For the benefit of everyone, not just the few profiteering off of intertidal commercial farms, and not just the few poaching.
Get involved.
Let Commissioner Goldmark know it is not 2008 by writing and demanding DNR and DFW work to replant areas harvested instead of relying on a flawed model. Before it's too late. Commissioner Goldmark may be contacted at cpl@dnr.wa.gov, or the office may be contacted at:
Kelli Messegee Office of the Commissioner of Public Lands
MS 47001
Olympia, WA 98504-7001
Find your local representative and tell them it's time to staff DFW with enough people to stop poaching here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Monday, August 24, 2015

Puget Sound Shellfish Growers Lobby to Remove Eelgrass Protection

"Jump!" "Yes sir! How high?"

Puget Sound Shellfish Growers to lobbyist - We will pay you well to convince Washington's legislative representatives to tell the Army Corps to eliminate this protection for eelgrass:

For continuing activities in ‘fallow’ areas, those activities shall not occur within 16 horizontal feet of native eelgrass (Zostera marina). If eelgrass is present in the vicinity of a fallow acreage proposed for shellfish activities, the eelgrass shall be delineated and a map or sketch prepared and submitted to the Corps. Surveys to determine presence and location of eelgrass shall be done during times of peak above-ground biomass: June – August. The following information must be included to scale: parcel boundaries, eelgrass locations and on-site dimensions, shellfish activity locations and dimensions.

Washington environmental groups, including the League of Women Voters, band together and ask representatives (see complete letter here):

Specifically, we are asking you to immediately retract your request to remove Condition 7 from the Programmatic Biological Assessment (PBA) for aquaculture permitting currently being developed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Eelgrass - a critical habitat to everyone.
Except the shellfish industry.

Money solves everyone's political problem.
The shellfish industry of Washington has successfully enlisted Washington DC lobbyists to convince legislative representatives that protection of eelgrass should not be a priority. Using their own definition of what a "fallow" tideland area is, and creating a false description of what "Condition 7" would actually do, the Seattle Division of the Corps was forced to remove the protection to eelgrass which the above paragraph would have provided.

Eelgrass can grow here?

Voters solve problems with representatives beholden to lobbyists.
In the letter to the Corps the Washington delegation claims falsely that aquaculture has "... successfully co-existed with eelgrass for over one hundred years." This is patently untrue. Anyone who has witnessed acres of plastic grow-out bags on the tideland sediments has seen the complete lack of aquatic vegetation which exists. Anything which may have grown on the bags is either washed off or removed during harvest. Any eelgrass, or other aquatic vegetation, which may have existed is simply scoured away. Areas under longline/raft facilities are shaded, preventing growth, and when coupled with shells which drop off, are simply a dead zone beneath them. A recent permit for a subtidal geoduck farm adjacent to eelgrass beds in south Puget Sound was rejected due to its impact on eelgrass.

Our well being is more important than critical marine habitat.
In the letter from the congressional delegates to the Corps the Puget Sound shellfish growers are clear in what they care about - their profitability and ability to make more money at the expense of Puget Sound's critical marine habitat. The letter states:
"We are concerned that if Condition #7 were to go into effect, current shellfish operations would be adversely impacted and the continued growth of the shellfish industry - and the thousands of jobs it supports - could be negatively impacted."
You don't always get what you want.
Sometimes in business there are things more important than the profits a company makes. Whatever the false narrative created by the shellfish lobbyists, the reality is eelgrass is a critical marine habitat. It does not co-exist with the industrial level of shellfish production which now exits and which is proposed. It is why docks are heavily regulated. It is why bulkheads are heavily regulated. It is why any overwater structure is heavily regulated. It is why shellfish aquaculture needs to be brought under control. It has certainly played a role in Washington's history. But it is not "vital" nor is it the only reason tidelands were sold.

Get involved. Puget Sound is not a factory for producing shellfish.
The following groups have demanded eelgrass protection be put back in place. You can as well.
League of Women Voters of Washington; Sound Action; Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club; Friends of the San Juans; Coastal Watershed Institute; Black Hills Audubon Society; Audubon Washington; Tahoma Audubon Society; Orca Network; Resources for Sustainable Communities; Wild Fish Conservancy; and, Seattle Audubon Society.

Legislators who sent the letter and should be contacted were:
(additional contact information may be found here: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials)
 Senator Patty Murray 154 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510
Senator Maria Cantwell 11 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510
Representative Suzan Delbene 18 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
Representative Rick Larsen 113 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler 130 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
Representative Dan Newhouse 641 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
Representative Cathy McMorris Rogers 203 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
Representative Derek Kilmer 1520 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
Representative Jim McDermott 1035 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C 20515
Representative Dave Reichert 1127 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-4708
Representative Adam Smith 2264 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
Representative Denny Heck 425 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Willapa Bay: News on Imidacloprid Pesticide Use Strenghens its Link to Honey Bee Die-off

It's time for a change in Willapa Bay.
Stung again.
August 18, 2015: The Rolling Stone writes an article which continues to link imidacloprid (one in the class of neonicotidoids) to honey bee die-off. In Willapa Bay, where shellfish growers proposed spraying this neurotoxin deadly to honey bees in the marine waters of Willapa Bay, they have hired a Public Relations spokes woman (India Simmons, founder of PR Ink) to "massage the message." Worse, on August 8 the Seattle Times reports:
Stung by the bad press, members of WGHOGA closed ranks and hired a public-relations firm. In recent meetings with DOE, they raised the possibility of modifying their plans and applying for another permit to spray.
Change in attitude and change in personnel are needed.
It's time for a change in large corporate shellfish grower mentality and in the belief of Washington State University's Kim Patten that the application of chemicals in Willapa Bay will solve their problems. When asked what he intended to do after the permit to apply imidacloprid was pulled, the Seattle Times reported all he could do "was shrug." WSU needs to suggest that Mr. Patten, 62 years old, consider retiring and bring someone in who is not reliant on the application of chemicals to solve every perceived problem, whether it be native burrowing shrimp or Japanese eelgrass.

Pollinators are far more important than non-native oysters and non-native clams.
There is a crisis with honey bee die-off which will have a far greater impact on the world's food source than non-native Pacific oysters or non-native Manila clams from Willapa Bay will ever have. That corporate shellfish growers still support the possibility of spraying and that Mr. Patten can "only shrug" speaks to their one-dimensional thinking.