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/)



Friday, May 29, 2015

June Tide Table: Daylight Minus Tides Start the Month of June

Some of the lower daylight tides
of 2015 continue this month. Get out and see
what's exposed during these low tides.
The shellfish industry will be.

Courtesy of:
http://www.dairiki.org/tides/monthly.php/oly
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

KUOW.ORG Reports on Geoduck Poaching from Puget Sound - Wild Population at Risk

 Each time a [subtdial] geoduck bed is harvested,
it takes about 40 years
for the population there to recover.
 
Who are the tribes beholden to? Tribal members or the geoduck industry?
Why don't tribal entities demand replanting of subtidal wild geoduck beds as part of their treaty rights? Waiting 40 years for recovery, when coupled with poaching and risks of ocean acidification, put this subtidal population at risk of overharvesting, just as the native Olympia oyster was. It would end a source of income for tribal members. Based on the KUOW report, the state cannot control poaching, so isn't the alternative to rebuild the subtidal stock? If the state won't, why not the tribes?
 
Put the pieces together and free yourself. It worked for tobacco and casinos.
The Lummi Nation is a major producer of geoduck seed and has increased its production facilities. Is it really that difficult to coordinate among the tribes, using the Lummi as a source for seed who this year will sell estimated 1.5 million seed? The Department of Fish and Wildlife notes that Tribal entities have 51 salmon hatcheries used to replenish salmon stock. Is subtidal geoduck really that different?
 
Some of the tribal entities you can ask include:

Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe
Tamara Gage 360 297-6290 360 297-4791
tgage@pgst.nsn.us 

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
Kelly Toy 360 681-4641 360 681-4611
ktoy@jamestowntribe.org 

Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe
Doug Morrill 360 457-4012 X 18 360 452-4848
doug.morrill@elwha.nsn.us 

Point No Point Treaty Council
Randy Hatch 360 297-6536 360 297-3413
rhatch@pnptc.org 

Suquamish Tribe
Paul Williams 360 394-8443 360 598-4666
pwilliams@suquamish.nsn.us 

Tulalip Tribe
Mike McHugh 360 716-4615 360 716-0642 m
mchugh@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov 

Swinomish Tribe
Jim Gibson 360 466-7283 360 466-4047





 
 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Shorelines Hearings Board Affirms Permit for Taylor/Seattle Shellfish Geoduck Farm

Diagram of proposed geoduck farm
on tidelands owned by Taylor/Seattle Shellfish
and the Haley family.

Appeal by the Coalition is denied.
The Shorelines Hearings Board has affirmed the shoreline permit granted by Pierce County for Taylor/Seattle Shellfish to operate an 11 acre geoduck farm. In a decision dated May 15, the SHB determined the neighbors and Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat had not presented sufficient evidence to overcome that which was presented by the shellfish companies.

It may be my dog leaving things
on your lawn, but I'll pick it up.
Every week or so. What's the problem?

Looking in the woods for PVC does not mean it's not escaping from farms.
Numerous concerns were presented to the Board, including neighbors' concerns that the escapement of plastic PVC tubes was still not being controlled by the shellfish industry. The Board listened to testimony from the shellfish industry who stated their "beach cleanups" - held during times which all geoduck farms and most other farms are covered by water - do not find tubes or much other shellfish gear (is that a surprise?). The shellfish companies stated any tubes which escaped would be picked up by workers during their weekly "patrols" on private tidelands up to 1.5 miles away. It is the equivalent of saying a neighborhood dog who leaves droppings on other's yards can be dealt with by weekly visits to pick up what's there.

I have to count what?? When??
 
How high can you count?
While the SHB did affirm the permit approval, there was a condition it added. The shellfish companies will now be required to inventory all aquaculture gear, including tubes and netting used at the Haley farm. They will also be required to inventory that same gear when it is removed, and have added to it the amount retrieved during the "patrols". It will be a start to determining how much PVC and netting is not retrieved but instead remains in Puget Sound.
 
This bag is not connected to the others
so there is no cumulative impact.

No strings attached so no cumulative impacts.
Finally, the Board disagreed with the shellfish companies who believe cumulative impacts need only be considered if the project is "antecedent" to others. The companies logic is the equivalent of saying because one bag of PVC pipes is separate from the others the cumulative impact of all need not be considered. However, the Board also believes the County did do a "cumulative impacts analysis" when it considered existing and future farms, that there were no pending permits for farms to the north or south (either ignoring or not being aware of Taylor's pending permit to the south on Mr. Kingman's tidelands and others pending in Thurston County and proposals in Clallam County), and they reviewed the Biological Evaluation from Environ (whose principal, Mr. Reub, owns a geoduck farm).

Make a difference.
Get involved and stay involved. A small number of shellfish companies are transforming Puget Sound's tidelands to grow geoduck for the Asian market. Those who benefit disperse the money to well paid contract scientists, lobbyists, and attorneys to support their actions taking place. You can help by donating to the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat.
 

 



Friday, May 15, 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Who's driving the bus at DNR's aquatics division?

Why isn't DNR's aquatics division 
managing their subtidal lands 
as well as their counterparts
in the forestry division?

DNR requires replanting after harvesting.
Why doesn't the aquatics division require
replanting after subtidal harvesting?
We may not agree with it, but
at least forestland is managed
by requiring replanting.

Forest land and subtidal lands should be managed the same way.
For decades Washington's Department of Natural Resources has been actively managing forest land for the benefit of the state's citizens. Tracts of land are put up for bid, the winning bidder takes the timber as agreed, and then is required to replant the land at a specific density within a specific period of time. While people may disagree with various types of forestry management, the result is that instead of waiting for a new stand of timber to naturally seed, in uneven densities, an even age class of timber is available to harvest in as little as 35 years instead of waiting for 60 to 70 years.

You can do this but not replant?
Subtidal harvesting of subtidal state lands.
Strip it and don't worry about replanting.

8 years, 40 years, who cares? I'm paid to extract geoduck not replant them. Ocean acidification? They don't pay me to think about that.
Currently the aquatics division of DNR views their bedlands (subtidal lands) as areas to simply "clearcut" geoduck from, little more than extracting a resource. The hope is over a 40 year period that enough geoduck are nearby their spawn will settle and eventually repopulate the area to be harvested again. Current subtidal farms in Canada and Alaska are harvesting planted geoduck in subtidal areas in ~8 years. So instead of having 5 harvest cycles, you have 1 every 40 years. This is not management. Especially when you can't control poaching, which reduces any natural spawning even further. Add in ocean acidification's impacts on shellfish's inability to grow shell, if true, and waiting for 40 years is a recipe for disaster.

Don't walk, don't anchor, don't dig.
Why be excluded from here when
planting subtidaly does the same?

Public tidelands are scarce and about to become more so to benefit a few geoduck growers and their investors. It is not in the statewide interest.
Instead of requiring replanting DNR has instead decided the few remaining intertidal tidelands (exposed at low tide) available to the public should be leased out to geoduck farmers, thereby excluding their use to everyone. As noted in the Seattle PI today, DNR will begin leasing tidelands to geoduck growers. No longer will people be able to dig their own clams. No long will people be able to anchor. No longer will people be able to see the diversity of life at low tides. Instead, they will be given tidelands with 40,000 PVC pipes per acre and told to stay off.

Econ 101: Limit supply to artificially prop up the price.
Chelsea Farms recently applied for a permit to plant a subtidal area near Burley Lagoon. They said nothing of there being any problems planting subtidally. So why would the state not want to require planting subtidally? Consider as a possibility the industry is flush with cash and knows how to spend it to get what they want. Economics 101 clearly explains the effect which limiting supply has on price. It artificially props it up higher than it could be otherwise.

Get involved - demand the state's subtidal lands be managed for everyone, not just the geoduck industry. Replanting should be required and the few state owned tidelands should be left for the public to use.
The geoduck industry is fixated on transforming any available tidelands into geoduck farms. They are out of area to grow on and now only have private and state tidelands to pursue. Private owners have said enough, leaving only state tidelands. Huge subtidal swaths of subtidal lands are being cleared of 4 million pounds of geoduck each year. None are being replanted. That is not management. Help by supporting The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat. Demand subtidal lands harvested be replanted.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tainted Geoduck to China Will Only Get Worse, Wild Population At Risk



Where are you going my little ones?
Does China know where you came from?
Washington legislators don't care.

2012: "800,000 pounds of geoducks are missing"
from state subtidal tidelands.
"Poaching is very clearly a part of it –
and in fact could be a very large part of it"
2012 - "Rampant poaching puts region's geoduck population at risk."
In the 1800's Washington's native Olympia oyster was harvested to near extinction. In 2012 the state legislature was put on notice that poaching of wild geoduck was putting expected populations far below what was expected, estimates then being 800,000 pounds missing.  The 2012 legislature took notice of the geoduck poaching problem, appropriating $552,000 in the 2011-13 supplemental budget to pay for two Fish and Wildlife enforcement officers and one detective to beef up surveillance on the water and to increase monitoring of on-shore activities, including the processing and shipping of geoducks. (see The Olympian,  May 1, 2012)

It's not just local seafood eaters at risk.
Do legislators think China doesn't care?
Is 10,792 a large number to Washington legislators?
(Is 一萬a large number to the Chinese?)
2015: "State legislators are considering a new budget
that could cut 8 officers from the
Department of Fish and Wildlife"

2015 - What's the risk? Geoduck are shipped to China, so why care?
3 years later the state legislature is now considering cutting by 8 the number of WDFW enforcement officers available to prevent poaching, whether crab, oyster, or geoduck shipped to China. As seen in the image above from KIROTV.com, for each reported illness from shellfish harvested from Puget Sound an estimated 142 are not reported. Food Safety News reported 76 illnesses contracted from Vibrio parahaemolyticus in shellfish harvested from Washington, or a total of 10,792 illnesses.
As seen when the Department of Health said it was safe to harvest geoduck from sediments off of Redondo Beach near Tacoma which the Chinese found arsenic in, there is much to care about. The Chinese banned all shellfish exports to China until the state found money to pay for arsenic testing, something not previously felt important.
Help us with poachers, but
don't require us to get a Hydraulic Permit.
Get involved - WDFW does more than look for poachers.
Contact your elected official http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/
Washington's Department of Fish and Wildlife does more than simply look for poachers. They play an important role in helping to ensure critical habitat areas and species of Washington are protected for the benefit of everyone. Political pressures are immense from those who would prefer they not be overseen by WDFW, including the shellfish industry who has successfully legislated them from oversight of their industry (e.g., there is no Hydraulic Permit process for aquaculture). So it is ironic they now have to ask for help in controlling poachers. Get involved and stay involved. Help by supporting The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat. 


Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2012/05/01/2088167/rampant-pouching-puts-regions.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2012/05/01/2088167/rampant-pouching-puts-regions.html#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Shell Oil and Shellfish Politics - All is not as it appears.

You dare question me?
Pick up after that little dog
and keep it off the tidelands.

Shell Oil, Shellfish Politics, Protecting Natural Resources
- All is not as it appears.
Opposition plans: https://shellno.org/
May 16-18 Get involved.

Coming to a town near you.
Shell Oil's drilling platform headed to Seattle
then to the Arctic Ocean.

Will they need shovels like they did in 1897?
The Interior Department has given Shell Oil conditional approval to drill in the Arctic Ocean's Chuckchi Sea. Pressing ahead with their plan, the Seattle Times writes Shell plans on towing a 400' drilling rig, currently anchored off of Port Angeles to the Port of Seattle. A second is headed to Everett. In response, those opposed to the plan have announced a demonstration against the planned deployment both to Puget Sound as a staging area and to the Chuckchi Sea. (see Seattle Times article here: http://www.seattletimes.com/…/shell-clears-major-hurdle-fo…/)

Politics is messier than you know.
Your private invitation.
(click to enlarge)

You've partnered with who?
Politics is messy: The most ironic aspect of Shell's approval to drill in the Arctic and use of Seattle as a staging area is Shell Oil's alliance with the shellfish industry's lobbying efforts in Washington DC. Every year a "walk on the hill" is staged by the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association, usually in partnership with its West coast equivalent, the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association. In addition to lobbying federally elected officials on "the hill" a private dinner is also held at the exclusive Acadiana Restaurant. (From a 2012 PCSGA meeting: "As in past years, PCSGA partnered with the Gulf Oyster Industry Council and the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association to host the annual “The World is Your Oyster” legislative event at the Acadiana Restaurant". See also invitation above.)
No comment needed.
Governor Inslee and Taylor Shellfish.

"We support clean water." So do a lot of people, but not to make a profit from.
The shellfish industry in the northwest has had a well crafted image, developed over years, primarily through use of funds received from growing geoduck in the intertidal area. That image is founded on clean water efforts to help grow more shellfish. When coupled with significant donations to non-profit land use groups and politicians, both locally and nationally, and government grants to educational institutions, it hard to question their desires for expansion. Expansion using any method they choose, including PVC or other forms of plastic.

Oil to PVC used for geoducks.
Extracted from the cool waters of the arctic,
heated to perfection, and returned to Puget Sound.

What's really going on in Puget Sound's waters we fight so hard to clean?
When people gather on Puget Sound to protest Shell Oil's extraction efforts in the Arctic, consider what is happening below those waters on Puget Sound's intertidal tidelands. The oil from Shell Oil is coming back in the form of PVC and plastic to rest in the tidelands so geoduck can be grown for China. It is not in the statewide interest.

Get involved
Get involved and stay involved. Help support The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat.
http://coalitiontoprotectpugetsoundhabitat.org/
Sign the petition against Shell's approval to drill in the Arctic.
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/111/042/276/

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Taylor Shellfish and Chemicals on their Willapa Bay Shellfish Beds - It's not just imidacloprid.

Imidacloprid is only one in a long string
of pesticides and herbicides having been
applied to Willapa Bay shellfish beds
with Taylor Shellfish's consent and support. 

"We were able to control the japonica this year [2014],” 
[Bill] Taylor said. “We were able to get a permit
to use a chemical called Imazamox, 
and we were able to control it on a larger scale 
than had been controlled before. It was very successful."

Taylor Shellfish and other Willapa Bay growers
now want more - spray 3,000+ Acres
and let it rot in place.

Meanwhile, the Puget Sound Restoration Fund
raises $1.5 million to grow and harvest seaweed, 
and on May 5th ask for more.
Board members Bill Taylor, and their attorney
Billy Plauche, instead want to grow and harvest.

What's really inside that Shigoku box?
The recent withdrawal of a permit to spray the neurotoxin imidacloprid onto the shellfish beds in Willapa Bay has brought to light two very different sides of the shellfish industry. On the outside is a finely crafted image based on decades of effort partnering with others to help ensure Washington's marine waters are healthy, something we all want. On the inside is the ongoing support of many growers to apply chemicals to those same marine waters and tidelands most are trying to keep chemicals out of and off of. Like a Shigoku oyster, it may look nice on the outside, but on the inside it's a non-native Pacific oyster, grown in a "chemical soup" (see below). You can't be both for clean waters and then turn around and spray those very same waters.

What a nice box.
Are the contents from Willapa Bay?

DOE does not stand for the Department of Economics.
Behind all spraying of herbicides and pesticides into Washington's marine waters is the Department of Ecology who requires permits before application may occur. As any agency required to issue permits, there is a balancing act required. In this case, on the one hand is consideration of the ecology and the on the other economics. A political entity will always be subject to political pressures and those political pressures are always strongest when an industry is flush with cash and motivated to acquire more. It is why the risk of DOE tipping the scales of environmental protection towards an industry's needs always exists. This is political reality and, coupled with the press for clean waters, is why the shellfish industry was able to obtain permits for application of imidacloprid and now imazamox. It was political and economic reality, with seeing what the industry defines clean water as, which caused both DOE and Taylor Shellfish, with the other growers, to withdraw the permit to apply imidacloprid.

"Quite honestly, it's blind faith that we're going on this," 
said Bill Dewey, a manager at Taylor Shellfish Co. 
and lead negotiator for the growers.
(The Daily News, April 30, 2003 on phasing out Carbaryl)

Blind faith is believing "Willapa Bay, is the cleanest bay in the USA."
For decades DOE has approved the application of chemicals to Willapa Bay shellfish beds. After 50 years Carbaryl, the active ingredient in Bayers' Sevin, was finally brought to a stop after a settlement agreement between the shellfish growers and environmental groups in 2003. As Blind Faith sings in their song, come down of your thrown. Washington's Office of the Attorney General, in a summary judgement filing, called Willapa Bay a "chemical soup."

Two sides of the same bay

a "chemical soup"
(from Motion for Summary Judgement, December 2012, p. 32)

Willapa Bay, is the cleanest bay in the USA.
(willapa-oysters.com)

Market demands will overcome political realities - pesticides first, herbicides next
Consumers who were surprised at finding out that there was a proposal to spray pesticides on Willapa Bay shellfish beds brought pesticide application to a stop. After over 50 years of a pesticide being used which Bayer says "contains ingredients that are considered to be probable or suspected human carcinogens." It will be consumers who will bring the application of all chemicals on Willapa Bay shellfish beds to a stop. It's black and white. It is not chemophobic. It's doing what you say you believe in - keeping Washington's waters clean.









Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Chinook Observer to Willapa Bay Oyster Growers: New Cultivation Methods Become Essential

It's time to wake up.

Who's in charge now?
Like Rip Van Winkle awakening to find King George III replaced by George Washington, so too have the oyster growers in Willapa Bay awakened to find out market dynamics have created a new leader: consumers who want shellfish grown in waters not treated by pesticides and herbicides. As The Chinook Observer writes on May 6 notes:
"...it’s time to step up and help with a generational shift in Pacific Northwest oystering."
Don't tell me what I want.
The days of Willapa Bay's oyster industry telling consumers they want their oysters grown as they were is over. It is no different than any other industry's crisis, whether it be the American auto industry or IBM's personal computers: consumers are who drive a market and it is business's role to determine what they want. Consumers do not want shellfish grown in waters treated with herbicides and pesticides, no matter how profitable it is to those selling them, and no matter how safe their paid scientists think it is. Don't tell me I'm only part pregnant.

There are alternatives to pesticides and herbicides.
Contrary to what Taylor Shellfish and others would have consumers believe there are alternative ways to grow oysters. They are being used now and people are making a reasonable amount of money doing so. The images below show only a few of the alternative methods to grow shellfish off-bottom, eliminating the perceived problem native burrowing shrimp create. Are they appropriate for all places? It's why we have permitting - to balance the competing demands for Washington's most "valuable and fragile" natural resources.

Hamma Hamma in Hood Canal
Taylor Shellfish
Brady's Oysters in Grays Harbor


Good stewards? Show it, don't just use it as a talking point.
The shellfish industry has been framed as being good stewards of the marine habitat, fighting for clean water. It's time to show they care about more than just clean water so they can grow shellfish. Washington's marine habitat areas include water and sediments, both on the surface of those sediments and below those sediments. Consumers want the shellfish industry to show they care equally about native species, the native habitat, and the product they sell and we consume. It's not a dream.




Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Coalition Files Legal Petition with Army Corps - Cumulative Impacts Analysis Needed

If one is found to have no significant adverse effect...

...then hundreds are just fine. Right?

If one baby is cute why not have 5?
Harsh? Of course. However, this is the point made in a petition sent to the Army Corps of Engineers by The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat. In the notice mailed to the Corps it is argued the Corps' Nationwide Permit 48 (used for permitting shellfish farms) has not considered the massive expansion of industrial shellfish activity now occurring in the tidelands and waters of Puget Sound.
The fragmentation of Puget Sound's 
most valuable and fragile resource.

Connect the dots.
In a public notice sent out today (see below) the Coalition points out the original analysis performed by the Corps, the basis for reissuing the 2012 NWP48, assumed the permit would be used "about 50 times a year for 5 years" or, 250 permits. In the first two years the Corps has received 1,000 applications and issued over 900.

Just give them the candy. Maybe they'll stop screaming "I want I want I want".
This is a motivated industry flush with cash. As the Coalition has argued before county examiners, commissioners, the shorelines hearings board, and in court, the cumulative impacts of discrete farms, when taken as a whole, are adversely transforming Puget Sound's intertidal areas. The proposal to spray the neurotoxin, imidacloprid, in Willapa Bay to destroy the native burrowing shrimp and the herbicide imazamox are only two examples of an industry which has reached a scale considered industrial by any metric used. Continuing to issue permits may stop one group from screaming, but another, concerned about the expansion, will only get louder.
.
Kevin Lunny - A lease not renewed, 
a settlement agreement signed,
still kicking, and is now "terrified."
(Wondering, "Is that the answer I was supposed to give?")
(April 29, before the House of Representatives,
answering Representative Labrador.)

Control the conversation
Well paid lobbyists and public relations firms such as the Glover Park Group continue to try and frame the shellfish industry as small families trying to make a living, overburdened by regulations. Attempts to create regulations are met with well paid contract scientists generating opinions and evaluations showing no harm, some owning the very types of operations they are expressing opinions on. Academic scientists and institutions are funded with money controlled by politicians who are lobbied and presented with testimony from people such as Kevin Lunny whose lease ended but who feels he has been somehow persecuted when the simple reality is he bought a company knowing its lease would not be renewed. Representative Labrador, playing Mr. Lunny like a pawn, is better served by looking at this industry and the "science" used to justify their expansion than listening to an individual who made a bad business decision being used to frame a false conversation.

Get involved and stay involved. The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat is, has been, and will be.

Press Release from the Coalition
(links to letter sent are at the end)
 PRESS RELEASE  

Date:  May 5, 2015

Contact: Laura Hendricks  (253) 509-4987

The Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat (Coalition) filed a legal Petition today with the US Army Corps of Engineers, asking that the Corps suspend the use of the Clean Water Act Nationwide Permit (“NWP”) 48, which allows industrial aquaculture activities in Puget Sound. 

The Coalition contends that the Corps has authorized too many of these industrial style shellfish operations. This Petition follows on the heels of the same group prevailing in Thurston County Superior Court.  On April 3, 2015 the Court upheld a Shorelines Hearings Board Decision that ruled there was insufficient cumulative impact analysis in a Pierce County Shoreline permit for one of the industrial aquaculture projects at issue.The Conservation group cited and submitted over 51 studies and other documents, supporting their Petition.  They claim the Corps is acting unlawfully, by continuing to issue permits without adequate analysis of the impacts. 

Numerous detailed comments have been filed by the Coalition with the Corps, and with County planners, opposing operations of the sort allowed by NWP 48.  Scientists have pointed to scientific studies documenting harm of many types from industrial scale aquaculture, including plastic pollution in Puget Sound waters. Shellfish operations use hundreds of thousands of plastic PVC tubes, High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) netting, plastic bands, HDPE oyster bags and HDPE mussel disks for their operations.  

Scientists who have looked closely at the issue say the resulting plastic debris and plastic particles harm aquatic life. According to Charles Moore, the world renowned marine plastic debris expert who has testified for the Coalition in a recent Shorelines Hearings Board proceeding: "At the present time, it does not appear possible to introduce any conventional plastic into the marine environment, without harmful consequences."

At the heart of the Coalition challenge is an analysis that the Seattle District of the Corps did when NWP 48 was reauthorized in 2012.  That analysis presumed that the permit would be used only about 50 times a year, for 5 years.  So the impact evaluation that the Corps conducted was premised on a maximum number of shellfish operations of roughly 250.  However, in the first 2 years of the NWP’s existence, the Corps has already received over 1,000 applications and already issued over 900 permits.  A map of the applications provided by the Coalition shows in stark contrast the enormous number of applications approved or pending in South Puget Sound. 

The Conservation group contends that the Corps should have long ago stepped back and reevaluated.  Laura Hendricks, a Citizen Representative said her members were outraged that the Corps continued to process and issued these permits, after it should have become clear to the Corps in the first 6-8 months that they had grossly underestimated the number of shellfish operations that would seek authorization under NWP 48.

“We’ve been advocating for a cumulative impacts analysis to be completed for years” said Hendricks.  “For some reason, the Corps simply refuses to listen." Coalition to Protect Puget Sound representative Curt Puddicombe was equally upset: "We don’t understand why the Corps continues to process permits at this insane pace.  They are supposed to be implementing the Clean Water Act in a way that does not allow harm to the public interest, and they are supposed to take a thorough ‘hard look’ at the environmental impacts of a project, before they approve it. Instead, they seem to be using a proverbial ‘rubber stamp’ and allowing the commercial shellfish industry to potentially damage the Sound with an excessive number of industrial scale aquaculture operations.”

This legal action comes shortly after the Coalition voiced opposition to the shellfish industry's use of pesticides in Washington marine waters and the intended spraying of the new pesticide Imidacloprid. After public outcry, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) canceled the Imidacloprid permit, but Imazamox is scheduled to be sprayed in Willapa Bay/Grays Harbor in the next few weeks on over 3,000 acres unless the Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) grants a new injunction. The Coalition filed an injunction in 2014 to stop the prior spraying on 300 acres and the PCHB denied the motion based on Ecology's objection.

For more information, and a copy of the Petition for Suspension, the staggering number of permitted aquaculture sites in Puget Sound and supporting literature check out: