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:
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Is Japanese Eelgrass now a Noxious Weed in ALL of Willapa Bay?

Why would the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board (WSNWCB) consider such a proposal? The Environmental Impact Statement addressing the application of Imazamox on commercial farms in Willapa Bay has not even gone through the scoping process  nor has a General Permit for its application been approved. [click here for Imazamox EIS Scoping and Discharge Permit information]

PUBLIC NOTICE: A hearing will be held in Yakima on November 6 from 1 to 3 PM to consider expanding the definition of Japanese eelgrass as a Class C noxious weed beyond commercial shellfish farms in Willapa Bay. Comments will be accepted by email to noxiousweeds@agr.wa.gov by 5PM November 5; mail to WSNWCB, PO Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560; or, in person.
The Pacific County Noxious Weed Board (PCNWB) is not satisfied with a measured and balanced approach on how to deal with Japanese eelgrass. It has told WSNWCB they now want Japanese eelgrass in all of Willapa Bay to be declared a noxious weed. This is another step to the eradication of Japanese eelgrass through the application of the herbicide Imazamox in all of Willapa Bay and elsewhere. The process should be stopped here and the EIS initiated by the Depatment of Ecology completed before any further actions are taken by WSNWCB. [click here for DOE EIS information]
"Therefore we do not at this time support development of a NPDES and State Waste Discharge General Permit addressing the application of imazamox on commercial shellfish beds." US Fish and Wildlife letter to the Department of Ecology, March 7, 2012 [click here for copy of letter]
"We encourage the DOE to adopt a precautionary approach to aquatic herbicide application to control Japanese eelgrass..." WDFW letter to DOE, March 7, 2012 [click here for copy of letter]
"...DNR does not support issuance of a NPDES permit to allow imazamox to be broadly used to control Zostera japonica [Japanese eelgrass] on aquaculture farms at this time." DNR letter to DOE, March 9, 2012  [click here for copy of letter]
Look a little deeper and you'll what
they don't want you to see.

"...the seagrass system has not only scientific value, but an enormous economic value as well. This aspect appears not to be well understood by the general public..." The Ecology of Eelgrass Meadows in the Pacific Northwest: A Community Profile, US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1984 ("USFWS Community Profile")
Pacific County Noxious Weed Board and the shellfish industry believe the only economic values to consider are shellfish related. Any other species dependent on Japanese eelgrass are of secondary importance. They see no risk from "collateral damage."
Willapa Bay Wildlife Refuge
Migratory Birds
(photo by "wildbio")
"...Zostera japonica [Japanese eelgrass], [is] a favorite foodplant of black brant [geese] and other waterfowl" USFWS Community Profile
"Conflicting uses of the eelgrass habitat, such as oyster culture, ...need suitable management." USFWS Community Profile
"There are, at present, no known undesirable effects of eelgrass in the Pacific Northwest region" USFWS Community Profile
Importance of eelgrass
(including Japanese eelgrass)
in the food web.
(click to enlarge)
Eelgrass' location is in the lower right-hand corner.
"There was some discussion at the November 2 [2011] WSNWCB meeting, including over the value of adding a species to the Class C noxious weed list when there were no county weed boards intending to mandate control at that time." Concise Explanatory Statement, Noxious Weed Board December 2, 2011 [Detailing why the decision to lists Japanese eelgrass was made, including comments for and against the proposal.]

Why did the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board open the door for Imazamox to be applied on such an expansive area of Willapa Bay (all commercial shellfish farms)?

Shellfish corporations/lobbyists are implementing a strategy which consisted of first having Japanese eelgrass removed from Fish and Wildlife's Priority Habitat Species list; then declared a noxious weed by the WSNWCB; followed by getting the Department of Ecology to approve application of the herbicide Imazamox.  In support, they provided a "White Paper" written by Jeff Fisher (formally with Environ, now a Branch Chief with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries covering Mason and Pacific Counties), who is also a shellfish farmer.

Because of citizen involvement the proposal to apply Imazamox was scaled back from all of Washington's marine waters to its application only on commercial shellfish farms in Willapa Bay. Corporate shellfish farmers will continue to press agencies for what they need to increase profits. If you care, get involved.

(email exchanges with WDFW and Bill Dewey, Taylor Shellfish)

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