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, October 22, 2014

Taylor Shellfish/Seattle Shellfish Haley Geoduck Farm Permit Approved (was Ocean Acidification an issue to consider?)

Pierce County Hearing Examiner
Approves Haley Geoduck Farm Permit
Denies MDNS Appeal
 
Geoduck Farm on Haley Family
Tidelands in Case Inlet
 
On October 21, Pierce County's Deputy Hearing Examiner Edward McGuire issued a decision on the appeal of a Mitigated Determination of Non-significance (MDNS) and shoreline permit for a geoduck farm operated by the two largest geoduck growers, Taylor Shellfish and Seattle Shellfish, on tidelands owned by the Haley family and themselves.
 
MDNS Appeal: Industry Witnesses "More Persuasive"
In that decision Mr. McGuire found the challenges to the MDNS decision by the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound and neighbors were either "without merit", did not establish a "probable significant adverse impact", "failed to carry their burden of proof", and had witnesses who were "overshadowed by Applicant's witnesses pertaining to specific field experience, knowledge, and expertise in geoduck aquaculture; and were thus more persuasive." Despite Seattle Shellfish building a shellfish hatchery to the west on the shoreline of Harstine Island's Spencer Cove, operating a shellfish nursery over 100 yards long within Spencer Cove, and operating numerous geoduck farms in Spencer Cove, along with those in Case Inlet, the Hearing Examiner felt he was not presented with sufficient evidence to warrant requiring a cumulative impacts analysis.
 
Shoreline Permit: Approved with Conditions, Some added or Modified
Beginning on page 30 of the decision the Examiner lists the Conditions which are to be made part of the permit. Added is that a "status report" must be submitted every 2 years, listing all conditions of the permit and that an aquatic vegetation survey be completed "following issuance of the SDP", used to determine farm boundaries and to "reflect any changes between issuance of the SDP and planting." With conditions listed and as modified the Examiner believes the permit approval will meet all requirements.
 
Consumption of carbonate ions by CO2's
absorption impedes calcification.

Absorption of fewer carbonate ions by
increased high density shellfish farming
 will impede calcification in all species.
(image from NOAA)
 
Is what's good for the shellfish industry good for Puget Sound?
Ocean Acidification - Shellfish initiatives and CO2 absorption are bad for native species.
Not considered is what impact expansion of high density shellfish "farming" will have on chemical changes resulting from what is being promoted by the shellfish industry as a threat to its survival: Ocean Acidification. In the image provided by NOAA, it is seen that CO2 being absorbed by the marine waters is altering its chemical makeup, resulting in what Taylor Shellfish's Bill Dewey says are "fewer carbonic ions" required for shellfish. It is these carbonic ions which all species who require calcification to grow, whether it be shells or bones, are dependent on.
 
Pteropod shell dissolution
 
Shell dissolution on native pteropods
A study published August 27, 2014 by NOAA's Shalene Busch, shows pteropods native to Puget Sound, and an important link in the oceanic food chain:
"experiences shell dissolution and altered mortality rates when exposed to the high CO2, low aragonite saturation state (Va) conditions that occur in Puget Sound and the northeast Pacific Ocean." [click here for study]
Is what's good for the shellfish industry good for Puget Sound?  What will be the impact of the Washington and National Shellfish Initiatives on the native species of Puget Sound as those high density plantings "sop up" the fewer carbonic ions? There's something for Sea Grant, the University of Washington and Governor Inslee to ponder, along with other Hearing Examiners, the Shorelines Hearings Board, and judges.



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sierra Club Calls on Governor Inslee to Roll Back the Shellfish Initiative

Click here to join with the Sierra Club to tell Governor Inslee the shellfish initiative's transformation of Puget Sound's intertidal habitat area is not in the statewide interest. Get involved.  The shellfish industry is.
 
Speak up to Protect Shorelines and Wildlife
from Unlimited Expansion of Industrial Aquaculture
 
PVC pipes for geoducks shipped to China.
Plasticizing Puget Sound's intertidal area 
is not in the "state wide interest."
 
Join with the Sierra Club in calling on Governor Inslee to roll back the shellfish initiative before it results in the transformation of the intertidal habitat area into one populated with PVC pipes, grow-out bags and other structures used in the industrial production of shellfish. The shellfish initiative is not healthy for this fragile habitat area, unique to Puget Sound, and upon which a diversity of species depend on for survival.

Grow-out bags for non-native oysters.
Grow-out bags leave nothing
but scoured sediments when removed.
 
Get involved. The shellfish industry is generating millions of dollars in profits from growing geoducks shipped to China. They are using those profits for their attorneys, lobbyists and public relations firms to craft an image which will result in a permanent transformation of a habitat area unique to Washington's Puget Sound. It is what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to protect and is not in the statewide interest.

Governor Inslee and Taylor Shellfish
lobbyist Bill Dewey.
The things that money can buy.
 
 
 
Plastic pollution - Over 40,000 PVC pipes per acre are stomped i

Plastic pollution - Over 40,000 PVC pipes per acre are stomped into the beach for geoduck planting.

Take Action
 






 
 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Willapa Bay: Ecology Announces Draft Pesticide Application Permit to Eliminate Native Shrimp

Comments accepted through December 8.
Documents are available by clicking here.
Comments may be emailed here: derek.rockett@ecy.wa.gov
(see below for mailing address for written comments)

Improving the "merroir" of Willapa Bay oysters.


Will the "chemical soup" have another ingredient added?
The Department of Ecology has announced a draft permit and EIS which would allow the application of the pesticide imidacloprid on the tidelands of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor to eliminate that native burrowing shrimp, a food source of native Green Sturgeon, to help grow non-native Pacific oysters. It has been developed at the request of the shellfish industry and follows the first application of an herbicide to eliminate Japanese eelgrass, a sea grass which the shellfish industry claims makes growing non-native Manila clams difficult in Willapa Bay. Both follow Washington's Attorney General office describing Willapa Bay as a "chemical soup."


WSR 14-20-123
DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY
[Filed October 1, 2014, 11:42 a.m.]
PUBLIC NOTICE

Announcing a Draft Individual Permit for Burrowing Shrimp Management on Commercial Oyster and Clam Beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor for Review and Comment

Proposed Permit: The Washington state department of ecology (ecology) is proposing a new individual permit to regulate the use of imidacloprid for management of burrowing shrimp on commercial oyster and clam beds in Willapa bay and Grays Harbor, a surface water of Washington state. Permit development was requested by the Willapa/Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association (WGHOGA) to control burrowing shrimp on commercial oyster and clam beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor to aid in the cultivation and harvest of oysters and clams.

Washington's water quality statutes and regulations do not allow the discharge of pollutants to waters of the state without permit coverage. Imidacloprid, the pesticide proposed for management of burrowing shrimp is a potential pollutant, and therefore requires a discharge permit before application to surface waters.

The applicant has applied for a sediment impact zone (SIZ) as the proposed discharge will likely impact sediment quality on sediments where the pesticide is applied. A SIZ allows for sediments and sediment dwelling organisms in the treatment areas to be temporarily impacted. A sediment monitoring program will be established to ensure that recovery or recolonization of treatment areas occurs. The applicant requests approval for a SIZ that covers an area of one thousand five hundred acres annually in Willapa Bay and five hundred acres annually in Grays Harbor throughout the term of the permit. If granted by ecology, the SIZ will be incorporated into the discharge permit as a permit condition.

As part of the environmental review necessary under the State Environmental Policy Act, ecology has determined that this proposal is likely to have significant adverse impacts on the environment. A draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) has been prepared. The DEIS, discharge permit and SIZ will be available for review and comment for forty-five days beginning on October 24, through December 8, 2014.

Purpose of the Permit: This permit would allow the management of burrowing shrimp on commercial oyster and clam beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, using the pesticide imidacloprid. WGHOGA must apply for coverage under this permit prior to implementing burrowing shrimp control activities using imidacloprid.

Copies of the Draft Permit: You may download copies of the draft permit, fact sheet, DEIS, and SIZ application beginning October 24, 2014, from the following web site
http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/pesticides/imidacloprid/index.html.

The public review period for these documents ends on December 8, 2014.

Ecology Contact: Derek Rockett, Washington State Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47775, Olympia, WA 98504-7775, phone (360) 407-6697, e-mail derek.rockett@ecy.wa.gov.

Open House, Workshop, and Public Hearing: Ecology will hold one combined open house, workshop, and public hearing on the draft individual permit, DEIS, and SIZ application. The purpose of the workshop is to explain the individual permit, and answer questions in order to facilitate meaningful testimony during the hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to provide an opportunity for people to give formal oral testimony and comment on the proposed permit, DEIS, and SIZ application. Written comments will receive the same consideration as oral testimony. The open house, workshop, and public hearing will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude when public testimony is complete.


Open House, Workshop, and Public Hearing: On December 2, 2014, at 10 a.m., Willapa Harbor Community Center, 916 West First Street, South Bend, WA 98586.

Submitting Written Comments: Ecology will accept written comments on the draft permit, fact sheet, environmental impact analysis, and SIZ application until 5 p.m. (or postmark if mailed), December 8, 2014. Ecology prefers comments be submitted by e-mail. E-mailed comments must contain the commenter's name and postal address. Comments should reference specific permit text when possible.

Submit comments by e-mail to derek.rockett@ecy.wa.gov.


Submit written comments to Derek Rockett, Washington State Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47775, Olympia, WA 98504-7775.

Ecology must receive e-mail comments by 5 p.m., December 8, 2014. Written comments must be postmarked no later than December 8, 2014.

Issuing the Permit: The final permit will be issued after ecology receives and considers all public comments. If public comments cause a substantial change in the permit conditions from the original draft permit, another public notice of draft and comment period may ensue. Ecology expects to issue the general permit in the spring of 2015.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Manager Complains of Abandoned Tubes Being Picked Up

Abandoned Plastic Tubes in
Drakes Estero: "Those are ours."
But taxpayers get to clean them up...
..after their harvesting stops in December,
with no payments to taxpayers.
 
Shellfish industry's plastic pollution is not limited to Puget Sound.
Richard James, creator of The Coastodian, has written of an encounter he recently had with the manager of Drakes Bay Oyster Company. For months now Mr. James has been documenting the debris which DBOC has left on the bottom of Drakes Estero. Abandoned plastic tubes, bags of oysters, and pressure treated wood are only some of the items the company has allowed to accumulate on the bottom and which taxpayers will pay to clean up. The debris has been documented in pictures on The Coastodian and is only one example of the growing plastic pollution which the shellfish industry is leaving in its wake in the name of "eco-engineering" benefits of shellfish.
 
 Abandoned tubes piled on top of racks by Mr. James.
 
"You seem to think you're doing something good out there." DBOC manager.
As Mr. James came across the abandoned tubes along the bottom he took the time to collect a number of them and place them on top of the pressure treated wooden racks. When he arrived on-shore the ensuing conversation with DBOC's manager made it clear his unpaid efforts to clean up the mess within Drakes Estero which DBOC will be leaving is not perceived as a positive thing. In fact, it appears the manager sees nothing good in attempts to clean up DBOC's mess, unless it is done at the expense of taxpayers. Future landlords who deal with DBOC's owners may want to consider just what it is they are getting themselves into.
 
DBOC: Please don't volunteer to 
pick up our garbage.
The US taxpayers get to pay for it.
Thank you DBOC.
 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mason County: Planning Advisory Committee Meeting on Shoreline Master Program Update October 13

Date: October 13, 6PM
Where: Mason County Courthouse Building 1, Commission Chambers
411 North Fifth Street
Shelton, WA

Plasticizing Puget Sound's Tidelands
"Statewide Interest"
(SMP, policies: IX-3, B 1, p IX.7))
"Aquaculture should be protected against encroachment"
Mason County SMP update
 
"The public's opportunity to enjoy the physical and aesthetic qualities of natural shorelines of the state shall be preserved to the greatest extent feasible consistent with the overall best interest of the state and the people generally. To this end uses shall be preferred which are consistent with control of pollution and prevention of damage to the natural environment, or are unique to or dependent upon use of the state's shorelines." Shoreline Management Act, RCW 90.58.020 
 

Mason County nears completion of its Shoreline Master Program update with a meeting October 13 at 6PM. The meeting is scheduled to discuss topics which includes bulkheads and why they need such tight regulatory oversight (click here for staff report). Also discussed will be the draft SMP update (click here for updated document) with the promotion of aquaculture found beginning on page IX.7.


Shoreline Master Program Update - Workshop
a. Amendments; Enforcement; Restrictions Affecting Value; Liberal Construction;
Severability; Comprehensive Review Policies and Regulations
(Draft Comp. Plan IX-4.C) (Draft SMP 17.50.110, ...115, ...120, ...130, ...140, ...150)
b. Shoreline Stabilization Policies and Regulations
(Draft Comp Plan IX-4 F) (Draft Regs 17.50.065 6)

Supporting Documents:
WDFW HPA Rules
Guidance, etc.
 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bainbridge Island Groups Appeal SMP Update Allowing Aquaculture on All Beaches

The Bainbridge Island Review has written an article about a petition for review of Bainbridge Island's Shoreline Master Program (SMP) having been filed. The  Bainbridge Alliance for Puget Sound, Association of Bainbridge Communities and Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat are the groups who have filed the petition. They are represented by David Bricklin with Bricklin and Newman.

The petition objects to the Island's having been told their SMP must allow aquaculture on 100% of the Island's beaches by the Department of Ecology. Originally Bainbridge Island had sought to limit aquaculture to 40% of the Island's beaches but was told by DOE they could not do so. It was felt by DOE the permitting process itself was where siting limitations should occur.

Donations are being sought to support this appeal which seeks to help protect Puget Sound from extensive encroachment of intensive aquaculture. Checks made to Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat (a 501(c)3 organization) should be mailed to Bainbridge Alliance to Protect Puget Sound, 321 High School Rd NE, Ste. D3, PMB #149, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. 


Monday, October 6, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Dept. of Interior and DBOC Sign a Settlement Agreement

 [Update 10/8: The settlement agreement has been approved by Federal Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.]
 
Drakes Estero: Clean water because of
oysters or in spite of oysters?
 
 
The grand experiment - is an oyster's  ability to filter the water really meaningful?
When DBOC has removed the non-native shellfish from Drakes Estero we will have clarity on whether an oyster filtering water is of any significance to the health of an estuary. One of the primary reasons put forth by DBOC and the shellfish industry for retaining the commercial shellfish operation in Drakes Estero, and expanding elsewhere, was that oysters "filter up to 50 gallons per day" (something the Nature Conservancy considers an overstatement). It was believe with that filtering removed Drakes Estero's waters would become more turbid, less healthy, and sea grass beds would shrink. Now we will be able to find out just what difference, if any, oysters really have, or whether, instead, what matters is controlling what flows into an estuary.
 
 
Press Release from West Marin
Environmental Action Committee
 
October 6, 2014
Today, the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Drakes Bay Oyster Company released a signed settlement agreement filed with the federal court that will dismiss the oyster company’s failed litigation with prejudice, allow the Company to continue harvesting oysters through the end of the year, and assign clean-up costs to the American taxpayers. The settlement agreement follows four consecutive Federal court decisions that upheld DOI’s November 2012 decision to let Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s lease expire as long planned, thereby protecting the West Coast’s first marine wilderness at Drakes Estero within Point Reyes National Seashore. The DOI and the Company called the settlement agreement “fair, reasonable and in the public interest.”
“The settlement agreement is a very generous deal for the oyster company that will have had 25 months to operate rent-free since its lease expired. We are glad that Drakes Estero, a magnificent ecological treasure, is finally on its way to be restored to its wild, natural rhythm, free of non-native and invasive species,” said Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin.
Most recently, the Supreme Court of the United States denied hearing the oyster company’s case. As of September 30, 2014, when the agreement was signed the company has had 22 extra months to plant, harvest, and sell its non-native oysters rent-free, thus profiting far beyond its November 2012 lease expiration.
Highlights of the settlement include:
-  Providing January 1, 2015 as the date by when Drakes Estero marine wilderness will be free from Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s business operations such as their daily use of noisy motorboats and placement of thousands of plastic oyster growing bags on sensitive wildlife habitat.
-  Providing Drakes Bay Oyster Company with nearly three additional months to continue their business activities that damage and pollute the estuary and surrounding Seashore. Recently taken underwater video footage captures the significant plastic pollution and invasive species infestation from the oyster company’s operation that the company has neglected to clean up for years.
-   Drakes Bay Oyster Company, as well as its successors and assigns, relinquished all future rights to conduct commercial shellfish operations in Point Reyes.
-   Transfer of clean up responsibilities and costs from the oyster company to taxpayers. Per the leasing contracts it originally signed, the oyster company was legally required to clean up the estuary before its lease expired in November 2012, but today’s settlement unfortunately transfers that financial responsibility to all Americans who, through the National Park Service budget, will be forced to pick up the tab. Since it was formed in 2005, Drakes Bay Oyster Company reported annually that its clean-up costs would not exceed $10,000, yet it claimed the costs would be more than 50 times that ($600,000) when it filed a lawsuit against DOI.
-  Providing the oyster company’s workers with federal relocation assistance and allowing the workers to remain in the onsite housing for months.  

Amy Trainer, JD
Executive Director

Environmental Action Committee of West Marin
Box 609 Point Reyes, CA 94956
(415) 663-9312 office
(415) 306-6052 cell

Protecting West Marin Since 1971!


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Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth
find reserves of strength that will endure
as long as life lasts.  ~ Rachel Carson

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pierce County: Friends of Burley Lagoon Newsletter Notes Upcoming Meetings and Map

Taylor Shellfish is "troubled."

The Friends of Burley Lagoon has released its most recent newsletter of upcoming meetings of interest. Included is the October 6, County Council Committee on Community Development at which continued discussion of proposed amendments to the Draft Pierce County Shoreline Master Plan will occur. As noted in an earlier post, Taylor Shellfish had its attorney submit a 156 page document expressing why they were "troubled" about the proposed amendments covering aquaculture.

From the newsletter (which can be found by clicking here):

Monday, October 6, 2014, 1:30, County-City Bldg. Tacoma, 10th Floor Council room: County
Council Committee on Community Development - continued discussion of proposed amendments to
the Draft Pierce County Shoreline Master Plan. Plauche' and Carr, attorneys for Taylor Shellfish,
submitted a rebuttal to ALL amendments thus far that would put some controls over what happens on
Puget Sound shorelines. Audubon, Sierra Club, and FOBL members have responded. Paid parking up behind County City bldg. or free street parking


 


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

South Puget Sound Vibrio Closures

Growing areas in south Puget Sound which had been closed due to vibriosis traced to oysters harvested commercially from those growing areas have been allowed to re-open. As part of the vibrio control plan, when a growing area's oysters have caused four or more consumers to contract vibriosis within a 30 day period the area is automatically closed until October 1.

Growing areas in south Puget Sound which had been closed included Oakland Bay, Totten Inlet, Pickering Passage, Eld Inlet, and Henderson Inlet. Also included in the closures and now allowed to re-open is Samish Bay.

The Department of Health will release statistics to help determine whether the heightened awareness and steps implemented were able to control the number of illnesses contracted from oysters harvested from Puget Sound.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Tomales Bay Oyster Company Court Transcript of Denial

The transcript of the court hearing in which Tomales Bay Oyster Company's attorney, Stuart Gross, was told his case was "frivolous" is now available. It can be found by clicking here.