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:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Mason County Shoreline Master Program Update: Geoduck Permitting

Not Against My Business or Industry
"Permit? Not if I can help it."
If it was an oyster farm, no. If one of 20 within
an estuary (e.g., Totten Inlet) only one permit
is needed by the operator.

Evolution of the public process in Mason County.
Mason County's Shoreline Master Program update web site has evolved showing how the Shoreline Master Program Update is being guided by whom. What used to be a blank "public comment form" when "Public Comment is welcomed! Click Here" now provides insight into the process.

Recently added is a "Citizens Advisory Committee Comments" link to a January 22 pdf showing the county's response to the CAC comments from 11/13/2012 and 1/9/2013. [click here] The document gives a clear picture of how the proposed drafts have evolved and who was involved.
Sample page of comments
(click to enlarge)
Citizens Advisory Committee or Shellfish Advisory Committee?
From the names of those commenting and the number of their comments the shellfish industry was well represented. Included were Vicki Wilson with Arcadia Point Seafood (geoduck farmer) and Diane Cooper with Taylor Shellfish. Other members commenting included Eric Schallon with Green Diamond Resource Company (timber), Randy Lumper with the Skokomish Tribe, Monica Harle with the Lower Hood Canal Water Coalition, and representatives from Ecology and Fish and Wildlife.

Geoduck farm permitting? Not against my business or industry.
Monica Harle with the Lower Hood Canal Water Coalition provided many significant comments,  including that geoduck farms be required to apply for a Substantial Shoreline Development Permit and that Conditional Use Permits be required when non-geoduck farms (e.g., oysters) are converted to geoduck farms. Despite the Superior Court finding that the Attorney General "opinion" from 2007 was legally flawed, and despite the requirement that new geoduck farms be required to apply for a Conditional Use Permit, Mason County said no (see sample page 86 from the comments above). [read about LHCWC here]
[click here for 2007 AG opinion]
[click here for Superior Court decision]

Other improvements which help shed some light on the public process.
Other useful information on the web site includes the draft of the SMP policies here; the SMP regulations here; and the Mason County Code on the permit process, including the appeal process, here.

There is now a  Schedule of Workshops and Discussion Topics which leads to a schedule of upcoming meetings and topics. It is important to note that meetings and topics change so before relying on the table below you should call to confirm if the meeting is being held; where it is being held; and what the topics to be covered will be. The phone number is:  (360) 427-9670 Ext. 408 or 287. Typically they are held at 6:00 PM, located at 411 N 5th St, Shelton.

The public has the opportunity to become engaged in the process of ensuring Mason County's Shoreline Master Program update meets the intent of the Shoreline Management Act, is balanced, and not bent towards "jobs and commerce" or any one industry.

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