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 and with limited public input. It is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to prevent.

Get involved and contact your elected officials to let them you do not support aquaculture's industrial transformation of Puget Sound's tidelands.

Governor Inslee: https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/
Legislative and Congressional contacts:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Additional information
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/protectourshore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline



Monday, January 16, 2017

Reminder: January 17 - Hearing on Zangle Cove Geoduck Operation in Zangle Cove

Zangle Cove Hearing Continued to Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 10 a.m.
Thurston County Courthouse 
Building One, Room 152

Who is that "recreating" over my geoduck farm
and why are they "recreating" there?
Diane Cooper of Taylor Shellfish:
Clear evidence you can "recreate" over a geoduck farm.
(Exhibit submitted by shellfish attorneys in hearing.)

Better bring lunch and dinner to eat. 
The appeal of Thurston County's "Mitigated Determinatin of Non-significance" (MDNS) for a geoduck operation in the ecologically sensitive Zangle Cove, whose tidelands were not sold as being suitable for aquaculture, and the associated Shoreline Substantial Development Permit, continues January 17. Based on an email from the Hearing Examiner, it may be a marathon, stretching into the night, noting parties should "... arrange to be available into the evening as late as necessary." Bring food for the body.

Mental food for thought from a recently published court decision the shellfish industry attempted to prevent being published.
Appeals Court of Washington:
The SHB [Shorelines Hearings Board] concluded the permit did not appropriately balance statewide interests and was inconsistent with RCW 90.58.020

The SMA [Shoreline Management Act] is liberally construed "to give full effect to the objectives and purposes for which it was enacted." RCW 90.58.900. The essential purpose of the SMA is to protect the shorelines of the state because they are "among the most valuable and fragile of its natural resources." RCW90.58.020. Permitted shoreline uses must be designed and conducted in a manner that minimizes damage to the ecology, damage to the environment, and interference with the public's use of Washington's water. RCW 90.58.020.

Shorelines Hearings Board: There is more to the Shoreline Management Act than aquaculture.
" particular consideration must be given to balancing the interests of aquaculture as one statewide interest, with other statewide interests like the shoreline's ecological values and the public's recreational use"

Friday, January 13, 2017

DOE on Net Pen Fish Farming in Washington: After 30 years it's time we re-visited it.

Comment period extended to March 4
Email Cedar Bouta with DOE at: cedar.bouta@ecy.wa.gov
See: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/aquaculture/recommendations.html

Should permit decisions on salmon net pen
farming be based on guidance from a 30 year old plan?

A 30 year management plan on salmon net pen farming is finally going to be updated - after most counties on Puget Sound have been told their Shoreline Master Programs must accommodate net pen aquaculture. Is this really guidance or accommodation of an industry's desire to exploit Puget Sound's critical marine habitat for their benefit?

Yes, a lot can happen in 30 years.
Genetic modification is only one thing.

Have another meeting, write another email, give me some new guidance. Or not.
DOE notes they hope to have a new plan by 2019. A date after which which permits have been issued under the 30 year old management plan DOE used to tell counties this activity was in the state wide interest and must be allowed. This is the same DOE who decided not to discuss PVC tubes in their SMP Handbook, Chapter 16, with Ms. Bouta writing in an email dated June 17, 2015, to DOE's Perry Lund, "...I'm hesitant to include guidance on PVC tubes in the Aquaculture SMP Handbook chapter...". After whatever meetings took place, it was decided to leave mention of PVC tubes out of the chapter on Aquaculture, presented by DOE to counties to use in their program planning process.

Puget Sound's low salinity
keeps Sea Lice from being a problem.
(DOE's Lori Levander in 2013)
Near Olympia, about as far south as you can get,
Sea Lice have no problem surviving.

Net Pen science likely discovers risks to wild salmon and marine habitat over 30 years time. But let's wait until the SMP updates are completed and we've told counties these pens are in the "statewide interest" so should be permitted.
Ecology is replacing the state’s 30-year old management recommendations for commercial marine finfish aquaculture (net pens). Why the Department of Ecology decided to wait until most of the counties impacted by what an updated plan would reveal isn't made clear. Unfortunately, as noted above, by the time a new "plan" is created, new operations will have been permitted and will likely never go away.
Politics at its best: Industry and DOE 
hand in hand, testifying before the House
on why net pen farming is good for you (2013)
Net pen farming is good for you
if you're a fish grower, questionable by others.
(CLICK HERE for testimony which begins at 22:50
through 1:01:43, then begins again at 1:04:39 to 1:59:00)

Is it any wonder people question who the Department of Ecology is really working for?
After allowing Whatcom County to ban salmon net pens in their Shoreline Master Program update, then telling Jefferson County "oops, we made a mistake" and Jefferson County could not ban them in their SMP update, then telling Island County they would be able to ban them due to a "...lack of evidence that net pens are an immediately foreseeable use", and having told other counties in the process of updating their Shoreline Master Programs net pen farming is in "the statewide interest" and should be allowed, Washington's Department of Ecology has now decided their 30 year old management plan should be updated with current science. Science which may have been found to be very useful in determining whether, in fact, net pen farming is really something in the statewide interest, or instead, in the interest of a few large corporations seeking to exploit Puget Sound's critical marine habitat. Orchestrated testimony before a House committee by net pen industry representatives with DOE on net pen farming clearly puts in question who is pulling what strings.

Get involved. As seen in the 2013 testimony, industry is and they are very motivated.
At the very least you may send comment to DOE on what a new and updated plan should include. Better is to tell DOE and your elected officials they have so badly managed their net pen guidance that no permitting in any counties should be allowed until the new plan is developed.

Governor Inslee: https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/
Legislative and Congressional contacts:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Washington Court of Appeals Agrees to Publish Decision Supporting Permit Denial of Geoduck Operation

The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat has released a statement about the Washington Court of Appeals agreeing to publish their decision which affirmed a Shorelines Hearings Board permit denial for a geoduck operation in Pierce County. Despite immense sums of money having been spent by the shellfish industry for attorneys, expert witnesses, and even political donations in support of a Pierce County attorney running for mayor of Gig Harbor, and a final attempt by the industry to claim the decision had little in the way of public interest, the panel of judges agreed to publish their ruling.
Read decision in support of denying permit here:
https://app.box.com/s/rgjvffsgdrklchytus6uwy7chmtljv56
Read decision agreeing to publish here:
https://app.box.com/s/ww0vd3g2r648hjugljqg3v8xk7mgsc50

Dear Interested Parties,
The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat is pleased to announce that the Washington State Court of Appeals has granted our motion to publish the Detienne Shoreline Hearings Board win that will serve to protect our marine critical habitat, eelgrass, forage fish, the public's right for safe recreation/windsurfing and the need for cumulative impacts analysis..

The Washington State Court of Appeals, Division 1 decision affirmed the Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB) decision to deny the 5 acre geoduck aquaculture permit in Henderson Bay/Pierce County.  The Court of Appeals stated: 

1.  "We conclude the SHB did not err in concluding the Coalition met its burden of proving the permit buffers did not adequately protect eelgrass from adverse impacts in violation of the SMA (Shoreline Management Act) and Pierce County SMP (Shoreline Master Program).".. The Coalition relied on the FSEIS buffer to argue the buffers approved by the Hearing Examiner were inadequate. The FSEIS identifies the need for a "2-foot vertical buffer or a minimum of 180-foot horizontal buffer" between eelgrass and geoduck harvest areas to protect eelgrass."

"The SHB found that while Meaders (industry expert) "is knowledgeable of the geoduck industry and science underlying aspects of industry practices," she was not "a credible expert in all aspects of study related to the nearshore environment to which she claimed expertise."

2. "Evidence presented at the hearing showed there are potential adverse impacts to critical habitat."

3.  "Because the consideration of a cumulative impact analysis prior to approval of the permit is consistent with the purpose of the SMA and clearly furthers the goal of the SMA to prevent "uncoordinated and piecemeal development,"the SHB did not err in concluding consideration should be given to preparing a cumulative impacts analysis."

4.  "De Tienne contends the SHB decision is not timely..... Because de Tienne stipulated to consolidation of the petition he filed on June 28, 2013 and there is no dispute the SHB extended the time period for good cause for an additional 30 days, the SHB complied with the time limits of the statute."


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,
Laura Hendricks
Director, Coalition To Protect Puget Sound/Habitat
(253) 509-4987

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

January 17: Zangle Cove Appeal and Permit Hearing Rescheduled/Sohn Separates Tidelands

Zangle Cove Hearing Continued to Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 10 a.m.
Thurston County Courthouse 
Building One, Room 152

Better bring lunch and dinner. 
The appeal of Thurston County's "Mitigated Determinatin of Non-significance" (MDNS) for a geoduck operation in the ecologically sensitive and enjoyed Zangle Cove and associated Shoreline Substantial Development Permit continues January 17. Based on an email from the Hearing Examiner, it may be a marathon, stretching into the night, noting parties should "... arrange to be available into the evening as late as necessary."

What are those tidelands really worth?

"I want to be a farmer." Be careful what you wish for, because your tidelands may now be taxed as "geoduck farmland" instead of open space. Unless lobbyists can prevent it.
As the hearing has progressed, Mr. Sohn has stated he wanted to be a farmer on his tideland parcel. Apparently to that end, or for some other reason, he has decided to separate his tidelands from his upland parcel. So doing creates the ability to now tax his tidelands at what their true value is, as tidelands created for a geoduck operation, instead of "open space" as they and others in Zangle Cove have been for decades in the past, affording an extremely low tax rate. For reference, Taylor Shellfish purchased 10 acres of tidelands, many used for growing geoduck, from Manke Timber in Mason County. Those 10 acres of tidelands are currently appraised at $872,000 (dropping slightly from $899,000 in 2013). If appraisers used "like sales" as they are supposed to, Mr. Sohn's 1.6 acres of tidelands, if used for a geoduck operation, would be appraised as high as $139,000.

Friday, December 23, 2016

British Columbia: Massive Chinese shellfish hatchery near completion on Sunshine Coast

Guess they're just not into you that much anymore.
Licensed to grow seed for geoduck, 
Pacific oyster, scallop and urchin.

Risk to investors and banks is a relative thing.
Apparently becoming aware that being beholden to a few shellfish operators in the United States was not an economically sustainable model, the Chinese are nearing completion of Phase 1 of what ultimately will be among the largest (if not the largest) shellfish hatchery and farming operations in North America. It will compete directly with current shellfish operators such as Taylor Shellfish and Coast Seafoods, who to date have had little real competition to disrupt pricing and distribution models which have existed for decades. How investors and those financing expansion will react to what appears to be a disruptive event is not known, but risk to returns is certainly elevated.

Comparison of Taylor Shellfish to Hummingbird Cove

Investors rule of thumb: Invest in an industry where anyone can make money. 
Yesterday, the Times Colonist wrote that Phase 1 of a Chinese owned shellfish hatchery facility in British Columbia is nearing completion and will cover over 34,000 square meters (365,000 square feet). By comparison, the Nisbet (Goose Point) hatchery facility moved from Willapa Bay to Hawaii is 20,000 square feet. Another perspective is seen in the image above, showing Taylor Shellfish's Quilcene Dabob Bay hatchery facility. Overlying the Taylor Shellfish facility in red is the estimated size of Phase 1. The Vancouver Sun has reported that Phase 2 is expected to result in a facility able to grow and export mature shellfish by the year 2020. Last year, Hatchery International reported that Hummingbird facility was approved to expand within a 27 hectare (~66 acre) area, outlined in blue and orange, an area dwarfing current facilities.

This Christmas, be careful what you ask for. You may just get it.
The shellfish industry for years has been lobbying at the federal, state and local levels to minimize regulatory oversight. Their success has been seen in many areas, ranging from minimizing eelgrass protection to convincing Mason County that tidelands sold under the "Bush Act" should be considered as existing shellfish farms. All aimed at allowing for an increased expansion of operations, then supply, and hoped for profits. That the Chinese business leaders were not born yesterday and can see a market controlled by only a few, for the benefit of those few, has resulted in a multi-million dollar investment by one company in Canada. Others will follow. Those shellfish grown will not be for Canada, but exported. When combined with expansion efforts in the US, a deflating commodity balloon may be what comes for Christmas.



Monday, December 5, 2016

Restoration of the Seattle Shoreline's Seawall Begins - Oyster Shell to Remain Permanently

Permanent habitat restoration taking place
along Seattle's shoreline.

These shells won't be removed in 2 years.
Using discarded oyster shell, the City of Seattle will create a 150' long underwater "bench" which will remain in place, creating permanent habitat for species in Puget Sound. It is one of a growing number of long term actions being taken to restore habitat in Puget Sound which will, over decades, benefit numerous species native to Puget Sound. Other projects being undertaken include bulkhead removal and soft armoring in order to restore the function feeder bluffs provide, through adding sediments to the tidelands of Puget Sound.

These cumulative impacts help.
Projects such as these, as small as they are, will cumulatively begin to help restore what developments and intertidal operations have altered over the last 100 years of activity. They are important and should be supported by all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ACS) Extends Comment Period on Taylor Shellfish Sustainability

November 30th: Comments may be emailed to Juan Aguirre at JAguirre@scsglobalservices.com

Should this be certified as "sustainable"?
PVC tubes used to grow geoduck
in Puget Sound for Chinese consumption.

Comments accepted through November 30
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has extended until November 30 its public comment period on the Draft Audit reports for Taylor Shellfish. ASC has audited three separate areas in which Taylor Shellfish has shellfish operations, names changing slightly as the process as moved forward. Included are Key Peninsula (includes Burley Lagoon), Samish Bay, and Hood Canal.
[Note: In addition to physical operations, personnel policies and corporate culture are also considered. The Draft Audit Reports found discrimination and harassment to be "major non-conformities" at Taylor . Problems called out included sexism, nepotism, and hours worked (see "Non-conformity" sections of all audits). Related, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against Taylor Shellfish on September 28 for a related personnel problem (see EEOC lawsuit papers filed here). Whether ASC will accept changes proposed by Taylor while the government suit remains unresolved is unknown.]

Key Peninsula Operations, South Puget Sound
(Red arrows = current geoduck operations)
click on image to enlarge
[CLICK HERE for audit report]

Hood Canal Operations
click on image to enlarge
[CLICK HERE for audit report]

Samish Bay Operations
Skagit County
(click on image to enlarge)
[CLICK HERE for audit report]



Friday, November 18, 2016

Kitsap Sun writes on Detienne Denial; Proposals Continue; Tideland Taxes are Nothing; Taylor Shelfish Discovers Lobbying

Things to Consider Over the Weekend 

The Kitsap Sun has published an article penned by Tristan Baurick on the recent Court of Appeals decision which affirmed the Shorelines Hearings Board denial of a permit for a geoduck operation adjacent to Burley Lagoon (circled in red below).

Not here.  At least not now anyway.

One loss won't stop the machine.
While the Court of Appeals brought pause to one operation, the industry continues to press forward, flush with cash from its current operations, prepared to spend what it takes to expand. Another permit application for a 25 acre geoduck operation in Burley Lagoon (body of water in the upper right of the picture above) was submitted by Taylor shellfish to Pierce County who issued a "determination of significance", triggering a required Environmental Impact Statement. Taylor chose to go ahead and create an EIS, initially suggesting 3 alternatives: the 25 acre operation; a 17 acre operation; or continuation of what some contend is an unpermitted expansion of aquaculture operations within Burley Lagoon. The cessation of the current operations and restoration of the area was not an alternative Taylor Shellfish offered.

An intensification doesn't mean
you have to pay more in property taxes.
Nor that you need a permit.
Taxes are up: to $257 (+$12) for the parcels above.

It's only an "intensification" so it's okay - no permit required and your taxes won't go up.
Comments on the EIS scoping noted complaints to Pierce County about noise, beaches being cleared of native habitat and structure, and navigational hazards which Pierce County simply said were an "intensification" of operations, and as such, required no permits. Nor an increase in assessed value. Taylor, only leasing, need not worry about any increase in value as they don't pay the property tax. The owners who reside in Kirkland apparently need not worry much either; the 177 acres above are required to pay $257, $12 more than when Taylor's "intensification" began. Some refer to the agency responses (or lack of them) as "representation without taxation."

Is $230,000 a lot of money?
Glover Park Group ("Own the Conversation") 
is more than happy to take it.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, lobbyists have discovered Taylor Shellfish has money.
Recent reports have revealed there is more to do with profits from geoduck operations than hire contract scientists and attorneys, who are currently on full display in Thurston County where a hearing is being held November 28 [click here for agenda] on another operation being proposed by Taylor Shellfish, in Zangle Cove. The lobbying firm Glover Park Group has received $230,000 from the shellfish industry in order to help "Own the Conversation" as the press regulators to lessen oversight of their operations.

It's supposed to look that way.

Who did you buy those glasses from and who was whispering in your ear?
Perhaps taking a lesson from Glover Park Group, when a shoreline owner complained to the Department of Ecology about the ongoing mess a geoduck operation was creating, DOE replied, in essence, that it's supposed to look that way. Presumably they asked the industry about it and were told these tubes had been pulled as part of an ongoing operation and were retrieved quickly. Apparently lost on the recipient was the fact that these tubes are buried in sediment (i.e., they were not retrieved quickly) and have little to no marine growth on them, indicating they more likely were recently inserted tubes dislodged after a storm event. It appears paying $230,000 to learn how to "control the conversation" has its returns.

Get involved.
You can control the conversation. Tell Governor Inlsee it is he should step up and stop this invasive activity taking over Puget Sound's intertidal area which is not for the benefit of the state, but for a few corporations and the Chinese.

Governor Inslee: https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/
Legislative and Congressional contacts:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/



Monday, November 14, 2016

Court of Appeals Upholds Denial of Permit for Chelsea/Detienne Geoduck Farm

"Permitted shoreline uses must be 
designed and conducted in a manner 
that minimizes 
damage to the ecology, 
damage to the environment, 
and interference with the public's use of Washington's water"
Court of Appeals Decision Affirming Shorelines Hearings Board
Decision to Deny a Permit for a Geoduck Operation

Date: November 14, 2016

Contact: Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat
Laura Hendricks, Director
(253) 509-4987
Thane Tienson, Attorney for Superior Court and Court of Appeals
(503) 810-8303

The Washington State Court of Appeals, Division 1 attached decision affirmed both the Superior Court and Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB) decisions to deny the 5 acre geoduck aquaculture permit in Henderson Bay/Pierce County.  The Court of Appeals stated: 

1.  "We conclude the SHB did not err in concluding the Coalition met its burden of proving the permit buffers did not adequately protect eelgrass from adverse impacts in violation of the SMA (Shoreline Management Act) and Pierce County SMP (Shoreline Master Program).".. The Coalition relied on the FSEIS buffer to argue the buffers approved by the Hearing Examiner were inadequate. The FSEIS identifies the need for a "2-foot vertical buffer or a minimum of 180-foot horizontal buffer" between eelgrass and subtidal geoduck harvest areas to protect eelgrass."

"The SHB found that while Meaders (industry expert) "is knowledgeable of the geoduck industry and science underlying aspects of industry practices," she was not "a credible expert in all aspects of study related to the nearshore environment to which she claimed expertise."

2. "Evidence presented at the hearing showed there are potential adverse impacts to critical habitat."

3.  "Because the consideration of a cumulative impact analysis prior to approval of the permit is consistent with the purpose of the SMA and clearly furthers the goal of the SMA to prevent "uncoordinated and piecemeal development,"the SHB did not err in concluding consideration should be given to preparing a cumulative impacts analysis."

4.  "De Tienne contends the SHB decision is not timely..... Because de Tienne stipulated to consolidation of the petition he filed on June 28, 2013 and there is no dispute the SHB extended the time period for good cause for an additional 30 days, the SHB complied with the time limits of the statute."

Our Coalition members, who have been fighting to protect our Washington aquatic life, are relieved that the Court of Appeals recognized the record of harm of industrial aquaculture and the need to protect eelgrass, herring and critical habitat said Hendricks. We are thankful to Dan Penttila, Wayne Daley and Dr. Gary Ritchie, the scientists who testified and have spoken out about the adverse effects of shellfish aquaculture. Tahoma Audubon and Center for Food Safety have pointed out the harm as well. We are also grateful to Brad and Sandy Newell who were responsible for over $20,000 of legal bills for this appeal. The Court of Appeals did award legal fees to the Coalition.

For more information on the Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat, please see our website:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Legal and Enviromental Implications of the Washington Shellfish Initiative: Is it Sustainable?

A piece written by Lindsey Ward and published in May of 2014, in the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law, looks at what was then, the first unilateral launch by the executive branch of Washington of the Shellfish Initiative. Almost two years later, in January of 2016, Governor Inslee launched his version, Phase 2 of the Washington Shellfish Initiative. Lost on the now re-elected Governor is:
"...its directives fall far from the Initiative’s claim of enhancing and protecting this valuable resource in a sustainable manner."
The law article notes further:
"Primarily, the environmental consequences of implementing the Initiative pose massive and irreparable consequences for the environment. Specifically, by streamlining the permitting process for commercial shellfish aquaculture, encouraging noncompliant updates of local shoreline regulations, allowing further introduction and cultivation of nonnative species, increasing shellfish density, and failing to adequately address pollution, the Initiative may ultimately cause a loss of many of its native plant and animal species as well as the unique functions they serve."
Developed in the article is the background of the industry, how the Shellfish Initiative came to be, risks inherent to promoting the expansion of an industrial activity within the critical marine ecosystem which the intertidal area makes up, and the interplay between the Shoreline Management Act and Shoreline Master Programs various government entities are required to create through its guidelines.

While written over two years ago, the risks it details are still there and, perhaps most important, on the verge of becoming a reality. "Streamlined permitting" at the local level and minimizing, if not eliminating, national oversight with the new administration are on the verge of opening the door to a massive expansion of industrial shellfish operations throughout Puget Sound, whether in the intertidal areas or massive floating raft structures to grow mussels beneath.

Some will argue with the nuances of legal interpretations presented. Some will argue the article is over two years old and things have changed. What cannot be argued is there is a significant cumulative impact overtaking Puget Sound's intertidal ecosystem which, if not held in check, will forever transform this rare treasure available to all citizens. Questionable "certifications of sustainability" do not make it so.