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:
Legislative and Congressional contacts:

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

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Shellfish Politics and Why You Should Be Involved in the Shoreline Management Act

The Shellfish Industry Is
 - More than You Know

A Meeting to formulate Gig Harbor's shoreline master program will be held Monday,
June 11, 5:30PM, at the Gig Harbor City Council Chambers; 3510 Grandview Street

The Shoreline Managment Act was created as a direct outfall of an industry and government agencies wanting to develop the Nisqually Delta and transform the last great river delta in Puget Sound to a deep sea seaport. In 1971 the citizens of Washington State decided Puget Sound and its nearshore environment was more than an industrial area waiting to be developed in the name of "jobs" and "the economy."  Then, the shellfish industry was a benign activity.

Today its view of what the tidelands and waters of Puget Sound should be used for is very different.  It uses politics at every turn to be sure a very few become wealthy through minimizing the regulatory oversight of their tideland/overwater structures and developments, and to eliminate what it considers "pests".  Included was getting a species of eel grass which, until February of 2011, had been considered a Priority Habitat Species by WDFW (read WDFW "Protecting Nearshore Habitat Functions in Puget Sound" here).  So doing allowed this species of eel grass to be considered a "noxious weed" which, in turn, has resulted in the Department of Ecology now considering a permit to allow for the spraying of the herbicide Imazamox on commercial shellfish beds.

How "Politics 101" got a priority habitat species
delisted so it could be called a "weed."

February 5, 2011, email communication to WDFW Director Anderson noting Bill Dewey with Taylor Shellfish is reluctant to make it appear "industry" is reducing protection of eelgrass.  Jim Jesernig (political lobbyist for the shellfish industry) met with Representative Blake to communicate this.
(click to enlarge)

 February 4 and 6 emails.
February 4 email from Bill Dewey to WDFW stating it would be better for "the letter" to go directly to Chairman Blake.  Mr. Dewey attached a draft, leaving WDFW "free to edit it".
February 6 email from WDFW to Bill Dewey with an attachment "without internal review...for your eyes for now" confirming "the concept".
(click to enlarge)

February 8 letter from Director Anderson to Representative Blake
which resulted in the current proposal by Ecology to allow for the spraying of the herbicide Imazamox on commercial shellfish farms. There was no public notice or input on this change.
(click to enlarge)

Politics is one thing. But to hide behind the curtain of "environmental benefits" while pulling levers and pushing buttons to eliminate a species of aquatic vegetation which has long been recognized for its ecological benefits, including habitat for endangered species and its ability to sequester CO2, is a clear example of how the shellfish industry has changed since 1971. It is a big industry with profits at the forefront leaving a transformation of Puget Sound in its wake. It is involved in crafting local shoreline management programs for its benefit. If you are not involved in the public process your children and theirs will wonder what happened to Puget Sound's tidelands.

Totten Inlet, 2012
This is habitat?
(click to enlarge)
(courtesy of APHETI)

No comments:

Post a Comment