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
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Older News: from 2006 to 8/20/10
(This blog evolved from: http://protectourshoreline.org/)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bainbridge Island: On-line Powerpoint Presentation of "Modern" Aquaculture Plasticizing Puget Sound's Tidelands

On-line PowerPoint presentation found here

Plasticizing Puget Sound's tidelands
in the name of "eco services" and money.
This is no longer a "preferred use",
and the Governor needs to understand
there is more to Puget Sound
than what Taylor Shellfish wants.
Taylor Shellfish lobbyist discussing "structure"
and "habitat" created by geoduck farms.
Plasticizing and paving the intertidal tidelands in the name of jobs and "eco services"
An on-line power point presentation has been made available to show those on Bainbridge Island - and elsewhere - what "aquaculture" in Puget Sound has become. It is no longer simply throwing oyster shell out and hand harvesting them when market size. The techniques used today are plasticizing and paving the tidelands in the name of "eco services", destroying the natural intertidal habitat which the Shoreline Management Act was meant to protect and prevent from becoming fractured.

"Structure" and "habitat"
after a storm event.
Click here to begin the presentation of what Bainbridge Island has coming to its intertidal areas, has already come to south Puget Sound and is expanding. Then let Governor Inslee know shellfish farming should no longer be considered a "preferred use" of Puget Sound's shorelines.

Fractured tideland habitat - oyster bags scour the sediment,
tubes and netting are ripped out after 2 years,
and geoduck are harvested by liquefying the sediment.

Then it starts all over again.

Let Governor Inslee know this is not what the SMA had in mind when it described aquaculture as a "preferred use." He may be contacted by phone at 360-902-4111 or mail at PO Box 40002, Olympia, WA 98504-0002. His shellfish coordinator is Julie Horowitz whose email address is Julie.horowitz@gov.wa.gov Make a difference. Get involved. The shellfish industry and its lobbyists are.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bainbridge Island: Welcome to South Puget Sound Aquaculture

Plasticizing Puget Sound's tideland habitat for China.
Coming to Bainbridge Island: A "preferred use".
PVC tubes for geoduck, exported to China.
Inside Bainbridge has posted an article by Sarah Lane (click here) on what south Puget Sound has been fighting against for years and which can now be expected on Bainbridge Island now that its Shoreline Master Plan has been accepted by the Department of Ecology. The same agency who required this paragraph on aquaculture to be removed:
Prohibit aquaculture where it would result in a net loss of shoreline ecological functions; adversely affect the quality or extent of habitat for native species including eelgrass, kelp, and other macroalgae; adversely impact City and state critical habitat areas and other habitat conservation areas.
It's not your grandfather's oyster farm,
nor what aquaculture was when the
Shoreline Management Act was passed in 1971
and ratified by voters in 1972.
"It's habitat," until it's ripped up.

When DOE was asked by Ms Lane why the paragraph had to be deleted from the SMP, they responded:
“We can’t prohibit it. It is a water-dependent preferred use according to the Shoreline Management Act.”
Not explained by DOE is why they consider the methods used today by shellfish farmers a "preferred use". Were 40,000 PVC tubes per acre a method used when the Shoreline Management Act was passed?
Trust us, we know what's good for you.
We paid for it.
Governor Inslee and Taylor Shellfish
employee Bill Dewey. Standing on the best
science money can buy.

Governor Inslee, having made the choice to use the shellfish industry as a primary fund raising vehicle for both his upcoming election and for those running in the Senate, was naturally supportive of DOE's removal of the paragraph. Not clear was how removing what Bainbridge Island wanted to have included meshed with their additional comment:
 “Each shoreline program is tailored to a town, city, or county’s needs. The governor supports an approach that takes into account those individual needs and differences.”
"It's just a storm." Chelsea Farms
on harvesting impacts to the tidelands. 
Except this also occurs underwater
when divers perform harvest activities.

Make a difference for the future and tell Governor Inslee the shellfish industry's methods are no longer a "preferred use" of Puget Sound's tidelands. He may be contacted by phone at 360-902-4111 or mail at PO Box 40002, Olympia, WA 98504-0002. His shellfish coordinator is Julie Horowitz whose email address is Julie.horowitz@gov.wa.gov


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Tomales Bay Oyster Company Injunction Denied

"I have wondered whether rule 11 [frivolous lawsuit] sanctions aren’t appropriate given the complete lack of merit of your claims." Judge Gonzales Rogers to Tomales Bay Oyster Company et al's attorney.
Sometimes the law is fuzzy.
Or at least that's what some
attorneys would like us to believe.
Stuart Gross, Attorney for Tomales Bay Oyster Company

A Gross interpretation of the law
A suit filed for Tomales Bay Oyster Company and other Drakes Bay Oyster Company supporters by San Francisco attorney Stuart Gross which asked for an injunction to allow DBOC to continue operations in the Phillip Burton Wilderness area has been denied. Judge Gonzales Rogers left little doubt of how the court viewed this last second attempt by DBOC supporters and their attorney to force the National Park Service to allow this commercial operation within a wilderness area to continue operating. It should not.
Oops. The impression was it's mine.
Sorry. It's not.

Surveys help bring the reality of what TBOC needs to deal with into focus
The Tomales Bay Oyster Company has far greater problems to deal with than where their oysters come from, whether they be Drakes Estero, Washington State, or their own tidelands. In a letter from the California Coastal Commission dated August 20, 2014, it was pointed out that a survey showed Tomales Bay Oyster Company's parking lot was not theirs but in fact was owned by the National Park Service. TBOC's owner indicated to the CCC that he was under the impression is was his. Unfortunately he was wrong.  
Let's see if these help bring some focus
to the problem TBOC needs to deal with.
Things do look a bit different don't they
Also appearing in the August 20, 2014 letter was the CCC pointing out that 80 acres of shellfish production is far larger than 3 acres originally permitted. In addition, restrooms, parking and retail facilities appear to be unpermitted. In fact, it appears that TBOC has been operating without authorization from the CCC for years now.
Deadlines are like leases - there is a fixed point in time to act by
Like DBOC, TBOC is now on notice that there is a fixed date in time which they need to act by. In CCC's August 20 letter, they have extended the deadline for information and action to October 1 of this year. How their attorney interprets that demand is open to speculation, but most likely another lawsuit will be filed, one of many in the ongoing saga of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

Geoduck Farming and Waterlogged Logs

Geoduck farm damaged by
waterlogged log. Netting removed
and tubes displaced.
Loose tubes seen just below
the water line were collected (~70).
Remaining dislodged tubes were 
carried away by the current,
some over 2,000 feet.
11 found and returned to the owner.
Missing lost tubes not collected from the farm
are located somewhere else, most likely
in the subtidal area.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Vibriosis: Reported Illnesses Close Eld Inlet - Vibrion vulnificus found in Washington oysters

[Update 9/14: Vibriosis traced to oysters from Henderson Inlet has resulted in closure to commercial harvesting of oysters from that bay. Henderson Bay and Burley Lagoon have been closed to harvesting of all shellfish due to paralytic shellfish poisoning.]
[Update 9/7: Vibriosis traced to oysters from Peale Passage have resulted in additional cooling restrictions to be put in place for oysters harvested from that growing area. In 2013 it was closed September 19.]
Reported Cases of Vibriosis Close Eld Inlet

Eld Inlet has been closed to the commercial harvesting of oysters due to reported cases of vibriosis contracted from oysters harvested from that body of water. Warming water temperatures and increased consumption both play a role in the contraction of vibriosis from Washington State oysters.

Vibrio vulnificus detected in Washington State oysters
Of greatest concern is the warmer water temperatures will begin to create an environment in which the more deadly - and natural - bacterium Vibrio vulnificus becomes as common as it has in the Gulf of Mexico and now in Chesapeake Bay. Florida alone has reported 3 deaths in 2014 from the more deadly form of Vibrio. Last year Vibrio vulnificus was detected in Washington oysters, elevating the level of concern over consumption of oysters harvested from Puget Sound waters.

Tip if the iceberg
As noted last year when vibriosis from oysters harvested from Washington State spiked during the summer:
Dr. Jeff Duchin, Chief of Communicable Disease for Public Health said in a statement, “this is probably the tip of the iceberg. For every case that is reported, an estimated 142 additional cases go unreported.” The bacteria occur naturally in ocean waters and grow more rapidly during the summer months.
Life has risks
Life has risks. Consuming oysters is only one. Being educated of what those risks are and how to avoid them will help ensure those risks are minimized.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Is Tomales Bay et al Suit Against DOI Perjurious?

It takes little for a
house of cards to fall.
Where were the local papers?

Save Our Seashore has written a piece on the Tomales Bay Oyster Company's lawsuit which points out numerous areas in which information was withheld or misrepresented. It is copied below.

North Bay / Marin | Environment & Forest Defense

Perjury Abounds in Tomales Bay Oyster Company Lawsuit
by Save Our Seashore
Thursday Sep 4th, 2014 9:42 AM
In a new lawsuit, Drakes Bay Oyster Company's industry allies, including Tomales Bay Oyster Company, have committed numerous instances of perjury by withholding relevant information and materially misinforming the Court in order to manufacture their bogus claims of economic harm due to the closure DBOC. Additionally, numerous restaurants joining the TBOC lawsuit withheld relevant, self-produced information that directly undercuts their manufactured claims of economic harm.

PERJURY ABOUNDS IN TOMALES BAY OYSTER COMPANY LAWSUIT Tomales Bay Oyster Company filed a new lawsuit in the ongoing attempt to prevent the long-planned closure of Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) rather than allow the restoration of Drakes Estero Wilderness. DBOC, which has made millions of dollars rent-free off public lands since its lease expired in 2012, lost its last attempt to continue operating on June 30th when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected its appeal.
In the new lawsuit, Drakes Bay’s industry allies, including Tomales Bay Oyster Company (TBOC), have committed numerous instances of perjury by withholding relevant information and materially misinforming the Court in order to manufacture their bogus claims of economic harm due to the closure DBOC. Additionally, numerous restaurants joining the TBOC lawsuit withheld relevant, self-produced information that directly undercuts their manufactured claims of economic harm.
"Conservative groups have attempted to portray this as a David and Goliath story— that of a small-time business owner struggling to stay alive amid the punishing and capricious dictates of a federal bureaucracy. Baloney. This is becoming a parody of modern politics.” "Truth on the Half Shell,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat editorial, May 13, 2013
1. DBOC’s industry ally, Tomales Bay Oyster Company, withheld information from the Court that it has substantially increased production to far more than replace DBOC’s “irreplaceable” oysters. (see HERE for details)
     A. Tomales Bay Oyster Company plans to increase production by as much as nearly 1,000% and more than replace DBOC oysters.
     B. DBOC’s closure and new suppliers will increase oyster seeds available to Tomales Bay Oyster Company and more than replace DBOC oysters.
     C. Tomales Bay Oyster Company has more than enough inventory to cover temporary closures and replace DBOC oysters.
2. Tomales Bay Oyster Company withheld information from the Court that its claimed “lost sales” are actually unauthorized sales only made possible by TBOC’s multiple permit violations. (see HERE for details)
     A. Tomales Bay Oyster Company violates its rural hours of operation, illegally inflating sales that create a false “need” to buy extra DBOC oysters.
     B. Tomales Bay Oyster Company’s life-threatening parking illegally inflates sales that create a false “need” to buy DBOC oysters.
     C. Tomales Bay Oyster Company violates its rural farmstand permit that allows it to sell only its own oysters and thus there is no “need” to buy DBOC oysters.
3. Dixon Marine withheld information from the Court that Drakes Bay’s “irreplaceable” oyster shells are actually not “needed” for the Living Shoreline Project. (see HERE for details)
     A. Dixon fails to disclose that there are alternative suppliers for oyster shells.
     B. Dixon fails to disclose that the cost of DBOC’s donated non-native oyster shell is trivial.
     C. Dixon fails to disclose that native oyster shell is preferred.
     D. Dixon fails to disclose that the same species of oysters that DBOC grows is considered a threat to SF Bay.
4. The Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture in Marin (ALSA) has materially misinformed the Court, including exaggerating Drakes Bay’s importance and withholding information about Drakes Bay’s impacts on surrounding ranches. (see HERE for details)
     A. ALSA fails to disclose that its claims to be an “environmental” organization are based on false and misleading information.
     B. ALSA fails to disclose that its statistical claims about the Drakes Bay Oyster Company are consistently false based on public records.
     C. ALSA fails to disclose that its claims about impact to ranches surrounding Drakes Bay are the reverse of what ALSA claims.
5. Various restaurants all claim harm from the closure of DBOC, yet fail to disclose to the Court that their menus are broad and flexible. (see HERE for details)
     A. Sir and Star restaurant prides itself on menu that “change[s] with the season and what is available,” so the claimed dependence on Drakes Bay oysters is an exaggeration.
     B. Other restaurants fail to disclose that their menus include shellfish from thousands of miles away, so their claimed dependence on local Drakes Bay oysters is an exaggeration.

The full document can be viewed by clicking HERE

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: West Marin Environmental Action Committee Update on Tomales Bay Oyster Company Suit

EAC News and Upcoming Events

Interior Department Files Opposition Brief Against Tomales Bay Oyster Company Preliminary Injunction Motion
Late last week, the U.S. Department of the Interior filed its brief in federal district court opposing the Tomales Bay Oyster Company's motion for preliminary injunction to stop the closure of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company. Reasons cited the Interior Department's opposition brief include:
- "The TBOC Plaintiffs’ moving papers contain no evidence of any true emergency, no evidence of irreparable harm, and no likelihood of success on the merits of their claims."
- "Further, in its 2012 and 2013 annual proof-of-use reports, TBOC identified the principal constraint on its ability to expand shellfish production in Tomales Bay not on the loss of supply of mature oysters it purchased from DBOC, but instead on the limited availability of oyster seed. Because Plaintiffs can only speculate about the effect of DBOC’s impending closure on the market for local oysters, Plaintiffs’ injury is not irreparable."
- "The public has a powerful interest in achieving and enjoying full wilderness status for the waters of Drakes Estero, as Congress originally intended in enacting the Point Reyes Wilderness Act in 1976."
- "The injury that Plaintiffs assert—that NOAA allowed too much coordination with the State of California during the CZMA process—is simply outside the zone of interests that the CZMA seeks to protect. Plaintiffs have no statutory standing, and their CZMA claim against NOAA must also be dismissed."

Federal District Court Denies Amicus Brief By Judy Teichman for Phyllis Faber, Robin Carpenter, Laura Watt
In a somewhat unusual move, the Interior Department opposed the filing of an amicus "friend of the court" brief by Judy Teichman on behalf of Phyllis Faber, Robin Carpenter, Laura Watt and others. Reasons for the opposition, with which the federal court agreed, include:

- the Teichman/Faber proposed amicus brief made "the same arguments as Plaintiffs and use similar authorities to support their identical interests," and did not "provide unique information or perspective to the Court."
- the Teichman/Faber proposed amicus brief applicants "are "friends of the plaintiffs" and not "friends of the court,"" resulting in "a highly partisan attempt to influence the Court to find in favor or Plaintiffs by repeating the same arguments advanced in Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction."

Drakes Bay Oyster Company's Operations Cause Ongoing Harm to Drakes Estero
Please take three minutes, if you haven't already, to view the underwater video shot by Richard James of the trash in Drakes Estero from the Drakes Bay Oyster Company's operation.

Trash, Invasive Species Left Behind as Controversial Oyster Farm Closes
"But running what amounts to an industrial facility in a designated wilderness has an impact on the land, and that impact is still visible in the piles of plastic and metal oyster growing racks occupying the site. What's more, the farm seems to have introduced highly troublesome invasive species to the protected estuary."

Upcoming EAC Events - Please Join Us!

50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act:  Tomorrow, September 3rd, marks the historic 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act! EAC encourages you to get out into the wild and reconnect with the beauty and biodiversity and renews and sustains us all. And, please remember to support the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, the leader in protecting West Marin's Wilderness! No one does more than EAC to protect the Point Reyes National Seashore and wild places in West Marin!!

Piper on the Ridge: Sunday, September 7th. Bring your friends and a picnic to this time-honored tradition to celebrate the changing seasons atop Mount Vision in Point Reyes National Seashore while bagpiper Dan McNear plays to the setting sun and rising full moon. We will begin gathering at 5:30pm – follow the signs to the parking area atop Mt. Vision Road. Bring a little cash to pay the piper!

Coastal Cleanup Day: Saturday, September 20th, 11am-2pm.  Drakes Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore. Come celebrate the 30th Annual Statewide Coastal Cleanup Day with EAC and friends! This is a great family-friendly event to give back a little to the beaches we all love, learn about our Marine Protected Areas, and enjoy some time on beautiful Drakes Beach.

Litter Bugs Me Roadside CleanupSaturday, October 4th, 8am-12pm. Meet at White House Pool County Park. EAC will have bags, gloves, safety vests, and coffee and doughnuts. Help us keep our watersheds trash-free!

Pelagic Bird & Marine Mammal Watching Trip from Bodega Bay to Cordell BankSunday, October 12th, 7:30am-4:30pm. Join EAC aboard the New Sea Angler out of Bodega Bay for an all-day extravaganza of seabird and marine mammal watching to Cordell Bank and back. We will have three all-star birding guides, you won’t want to miss this adventure! Email:  admin@eacmarin.org to reserve your spot today. Cost is $150/person or $135/person for EAC members.

Coming soon:  Marin MPA Watch, a citizen-science collaborative among EAC, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Point Reyes National Seashore, will be hosting volunteer information meetings and trainings this fall. Stay tuned for upcoming information.

For the wild,

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

Monday, September 1, 2014

KING 5's Story on Burley Lagoon Geoduck Farm to Air Monday, 9/1 During 6:30 News

[9/1 update - corrected date]
KING 5's Janet Kim will air a piece on a proposed geoduck farm in Burley Lagoon on Monday, 9/1 during the 6:30PM news.

Right to farm?
Does Taylor Shellfish have "the right to farm" wherever, whenever, and however, in what the Shoreline Management Act has defined as the most fragile resource of the state, its tidelands? Does agriculture have the "right to farm" in a wetland? Does a timber company have "the right to farm" in a riparian zone?

Plasticizing Puget Sound tidelands will not save native species.
Should any tideland area in Puget Sound be allowed to be "plasticized" in the name of "aquaculture"? The shellfish industry believes so.

Is spraying herbicides and pesticides onto Puget Sound's tidelands a constitutional right?
Should tideland areas have herbicides and pesticides applied with helicopters because native species are an inconvenience to growing shellfish? The shellfish industry believes so.

Expanding the shellfish industry will only make ocean acidification's impact on native species worse.
If ocean acidification is, in fact, as severe a problem as the shellfish industry believes - and it may very well be - expanding the industry will only make it worse. Those millions of additional shellfish added to the waters will only make the dropping the levels of carbonate ions worse, putting additional stress on native species. Governor Inslee may have found a political gold mine for election purposes but as with all things driven by money it is taking him down the wrong road.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Center for Biological Diversity Files Petition with EPA for Regulation of PVC

Where do all those PVC tubes go
after 2 years in Puget Sound?
What leaches off of the  ~40,000/acre
used for geoduck farms?
Center for Biological Diversification Files Petition with EPA
The Center for Biological Diversification has filed a petition with the EPA asking for increased regulatory oversight of PVC products such as the 8" pipes used in geoduck farming. CBD provides a wealth of studies and information which document the risks to the marine environment from PVC degradation. [see petition here]
NY Times, August 25, 2013
Case Inlet, Puget Sound
Escaped PVC pipes from geoduck farm.
Aquaculture is part of a bigger problem, but it is poised to become a much bigger part of the problem
Escaped PVC, netting and rope from aquaculture in Puget Sound is only part of a larger problem of escaped plastics in the ocean. But it is a growing problem and poised to expand immensely. As Charles Moore notes in his editorial entitled "Chocking the Oceans with Plastic", printed in the New York Times on August 25:
The problem is compounded by the aquaculture industry, which uses enormous amounts of plastic in its floats, nets, lines and tubes.
Help put the brakes on plastic pollution in Puget Sound
You can help stop the risk to Puget Sound and the upland areas where the PVC pipes are disposed of when no longer useable. Contact your County Commissioners and tell them as creators of the Shoreline Master Programs which implement the intended goal of the Shoreline Management Act to protect Puget Sound's tidelands you demand PVC pipes be tightly controlled, from cradle to grave, in not entirely banned.

Click here for Thurston County contact information
Click here for Mason County contact information
Click here for Pierce County contact information


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Burley Lagoon: Taylor Shellfish Acknowledges a Problem with Sedimentation

Is it dragging or dredging? Either way, it stirs up the mud.
Recently, Taylor Shellfish was asked why they were dragging what appeared to be an anchor in areas of Burley Lagoon. An employee from Taylor Shellfish responded that it was a set of chains which was being used in an attempt to uncover oysters which had been covered with silt, which "makes the oysters sink in the mud." He noted it was "a common farm practice." By dragging the chains it "brings the sunken oysters to the surface so we can get them." The employee continued:
It is actually pretty amazing how much fresh mud and silt can move around the lagoon depending on the weather and the tides. Sometimes our oyster patches will get totally covered after a rain storm and/or a big minus tide that creates strong currents.
He may have added "dragging chains along the bottom" as a cause of those "amazing" quantities of "fresh mud and silt" being moved around within the enclosed lagoon.

Pierce County may want to consider it when they begin questioning at what point shellfish activities in Burley Lagoon are no longer a "preferred use" of what the Shoreline Management Act considers the most valuable and fragile resource of the state.