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:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Subtidal Planting Of Geoduck in Pierce County and the Public Process (or lack thereof)

With minimal Public Notice from Pierce County, on November 21 a "mitigated determination of non-significance" (MDNS) SEPA decision was issued, opening the door for the development of the first subtidal "geoduck farm" adjacent to Burley Lagoon. Comments were due December 5. An appeal is due December 19. [click here for documents, then click on "Documents" Tab] (Note: While the SEPA decision was signed and issued November 21, the web site notes it having been added the day before, November 20.)

Subtidal Geoduck Farm
Adjacent to Burley Lagoon

As noted, the decision was apparently issued with minimal public notice. This is an option which Pierce County has. However, Pierce County also had the option to notify a far broader base of the public, but chose not to. Instead, the needs of Mr. Detienne, a resident of California, were focused on.

The public has expressed an intense interest in the Shoreline Master Program's update and expansion of geoduck farming in Burley Lagoon where Taylor Shellfish proposes "only" a 30 acre development. It would seem the County would want to have the local residents involved in this decision through a broad Public Notice process. They could have but chose not to.

The attorney representing California's Mr. Detienne was certainly involved in the process, as seen in this portion of an email from Pierce County's Senior Planner, Ty Booth, to Mr. Plauche, attorney for California's Mr. Detienne:

I will not have this issued until we hear back from your team. Note, I am happy [to] discuss or meet regarding these issues. I have discussed the issue extensively with Adonais Clark…but he will not receive a copy of this until tomorrow (as I need to get to my meeting). I am also providing a draft to Dave Risvold to review. Finally, I will be recommending approval of this proposal to the KPAC and Examiner.

Was the SEPA decision "clearly erroneous"? It clearly sets a precedent for the development of "shorelines of statewide significance" (the subtidal area). It clearly sets a precedent in allowing development with subtidal native eelgrass in it. It clearly sets a precedent in allowing development in an area where bulkheads and a roadway already impact the nearshore environment. Perhaps most important, it clearly sets a precedent on how Pierce County views the involvement of local citizens in their permitting process.

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