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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Monday, April 29, 2013

May 2: Detienne Geoduck Farm Hearing #2

May 2, 10AM to 4PM
Pierce County Permit SD35-05
Detienne Subtidal Geoduck Farm
Contact: Ty Booth email: tbooth@co.pierce.wa.us
Pierce County Council Members: pccouncil@co.pierce.wa.us
Location: Pierce County Public Services Building, South Entrance, Public Meeting Room
2401 South 35th Street, Tacoma
After the proponents for the Detienne subtidal geoduck farm dropped off over 80 additional exhibits at the March 27 Hearing, the Pierce County Hearing Examiner was asked for and granted a second Hearing. In addition, the Examiner also granted the public time to review the additional information and submit comments, as well as have the proponent's attorney and consultant respond to those comments.

In addition, the proponent's attorney supplied an additional letter to the County in which they asked for reductions and elimination of various conditions. Those negotiations were not distributed to the public but some of what occurred is found in letters available on the county's website. They include an April 9 memo from the attorney and an internal April 24 memo to Pierce County Planning.

In those memos are found the continued resistance from the shellfish industry to conditions which limit their operations. Included are discussions of buffer distances from existing eelgrass beds and wanting some types of protected eelgrass to be considered a "weed."

Is this really science?
Not found in the memos but in the response to comments by the proponent's attorney is the mistaken belief that this commercial subtidal geoduck farm, planted in densities of over 40,000 geoduck per acre, is somehow similar to wild geoduck densities. In the response to the County, the hired consultant (Environ) mistakenly tries to put forth the argument that because there are a few isolated pockets of wild geoduck in higher densities than what studies used, it must mean studies which looked at subtidal geoduck farming may be used to show there is no harm.

In fact, virtually all subtidal studies did not consider isolated dense pockets of geoduck (if they exist). They instead assumed densities were far less and modeled studies based on that lower density. As an example, the Department of Natural Resources sediment plume study, a supplement to its EIS, harvested 24 geoduck from a 30M X 30M site (900 square meters, or ~1/4 of an acre) and then based sediment plume generation from that.

Studies show sediments settle quickly and are local - because studies did not go on for weeks.
Another argument put forth is that sediments settle out quickly and are localized. If your study looks at harvesting during one tidal cycle it may very well be true. However, industrial operations are not simply one cycle or even 2 day events. They may last for months.

Eelgrass is a priority habitat and is protected because it is fragile and its habitat functions are critical to a variety of species.
One of the most telling sentences in an exhibit submitted was this explanation of why a bed of eelgrass died off, found in Exhibit 78, a study by David Ward, discussing changes in eelgrass beds: Most eelgrass losses were likely the result of sediment loading and turbidity caused by a single flooding event in winter of 1992–1993. Significant and adverse impacts on eelgrass from sediments and turbidity may happen quickly, within a single event, and be devastating. Harvesting of commercially planted farms go on for months. In this case it is immediately adjacent to one of the few eelgrass beds in south Puget Sound.

If approved, Pierce County will set a precedent based on selective and unrelated studies which will be felt throughout Puget Sound. There is no better example of why it is time for the Examiner to decide whether environmental impacts were adequately considered. No science showing impacts does not mean impacts are not happening. You simply need to look to see it is lacking, then act.

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