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:

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mason County Shoreline Master Program: Only to Protect Local Shellfish Jobs?

Next meeting: November 14, 2012; 9:00 AM to12:00 PM; Public Works Building - 100 W Public Works Drive; Discussion Item: Draft SMP
Contact: LaJane Schopfer  lajanes@co.mason.wa.us,  360-427-9670 X408
600Hp engine exhaust discharged
directly into the waters of Puget Sound
with wakes eroding the shoreline.

Is the purpose of Mason County's Shoreline Master Program (SMP) update to "keep waters clean and healthy" in order to "protect local shellfish industry related jobs"? According to a recent post card from Washington State University Extension on the SMP update, mailed to over 10,000 shoreline residents, it would seem that way.

Nowhere in the mailing is the Shoreline Management Act's (SMA) goal of preventing the "uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state's shorelines" to be found. Nowhere is the inclusive "fostering all reasonable and appropriate uses" found. Instead we are led to believe its primary purpose is to protect the shellfish industry, contrary to the legislative findings of the SMA, RCW 90.58.020 (see below).

Harstine Island Geoduck Farm

Mason County's promotion of the Shoreline Master Program as clearly favoring the shellfish industry is no better example of how adept the corporate shellfish industry is in using the political process for its own gain. Immense profits generated from geoduck farming create funds to pay for attorneys, "government outreach" employees, and public relation firms. They in turn craft shoreline regulations through local political influence allowing tideland structures for "aquaculture" to be placed in the tidelands with little to no regulatory oversight, yet severely restrict other reasonable development of any other shoreline use, recreational or otherwise. They are relentless in their push back on any oversight (e.g., Kitsap County has just received a third "re-write" of their SMP update from attorneys representing the shellfish industry).

"You can only see the tubes 20% of the time."

What gain is found in preserving the nearshore environment when the adjacent tidelands are being smothered with nets, grow-out bags and PVC tubes? What gain is there in restricting recreational floats and docks when mussel rafts, geoduck nurseries and oyster rafts are allowed to proliferate? Are a few shellfish industry related jobs worth an unregulated transformation of the entire intertidal ecosystem where native species are displaced by non-native species, or are eradicated with chemical sprays? Should the aquaculture industry be prioritized over all other uses of the shoreline? Mason County has been convinced it should be and will allow it to be so unless the public engages in the process.

The Shoreline Management Act RCW 90.58.020

The legislature finds that the shorelines of the state are among the most valuable and fragile of its natural resources and that there is great concern throughout the state relating to their utilization, protection, restoration, and preservation. In addition it finds that ever increasing pressures of additional uses are being placed on the shorelines necessitating increased coordination in the management and development of the shorelines of the state. The legislature further finds that much of the shorelines of the state and the uplands adjacent thereto are in private ownership; that unrestricted construction on the privately owned or publicly owned shorelines of the state is not in the best public interest; and therefore, coordinated planning is necessary in order to protect the public interest associated with the shorelines of the state while, at the same time, recognizing and protecting private property rights consistent with the public interest. There is, therefor, a clear and urgent demand for a planned, rational, and concerted effort, jointly performed by federal, state, and local governments, to prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state's shorelines.

It is the policy of the state to provide for the management of the shorelines of the state by planning for and fostering all reasonable and appropriate uses. This policy is designed to insure the development of these shorelines in a manner which, while allowing for limited reduction of rights of the public in the navigable waters, will promote and enhance the public interest. This policy contemplates protecting against adverse effects to the public health, the land and its vegetation and wildlife, and the waters of the state and their aquatic life, while protecting generally public rights of navigation and corollary rights incidental thereto.

The legislature declares that the interest of all of the people shall be paramount in the management of shorelines of statewide significance. The department, in adopting guidelines for shorelines of statewide significance, and local government, in developing master programs for shorelines of statewide significance, shall give preference to uses in the following order of preference which:

(1) Recognize and protect the statewide interest over local interest;

(2) Preserve the natural character of the shoreline;

(3) Result in long term over short term benefit;

(4) Protect the resources and ecology of the shoreline;

(5) Increase public access to publicly owned areas of the shorelines;

(6) Increase recreational opportunities for the public in the shoreline;

(7) Provide for any other element as defined in RCW
90.58.100 deemed appropriate or necessary.

In the implementation of this policy 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 shoreline. Alterations of the natural condition of the shorelines of the state, in those limited instances when authorized, shall be given priority for single-family residences and their appurtenant structures, ports, shoreline recreational uses including but not limited to parks, marinas, piers, and other improvements facilitating public access to shorelines of the state, industrial and commercial developments which are particularly dependent on their location on or use of the shorelines of the state and other development that will provide an opportunity for substantial numbers of the people to enjoy the shorelines of the state. Alterations of the natural condition of the shorelines and shorelands of the state shall be recognized by the department. Shorelines and shorelands of the state shall be appropriately classified and these classifications shall be revised when circumstances warrant regardless of whether the change in circumstances occurs through man-made causes or natural causes. Any areas resulting from alterations of the natural condition of the shorelines and shorelands of the state no longer meeting the definition of "shorelines of the state" shall not be subject to the provisions of chapter
90.58 RCW.

Permitted uses in the shorelines of the state shall be designed and conducted in a manner to minimize, insofar as practical, any resultant damage to the ecology and environment of the shoreline area and any interference with the public's use of the water.

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