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:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thurston County Withdraws/Re-issues SEPA Determination for NW Shellfish/Staley Geoduck Farm

Comments due June 25, appeal date is July 2.
Email comments to Scott McCormick at mccorms@co.thurston.wa.us.
Reference project 2012103227

Thurston County has withdrawn and re-issued its SEPA determination of "Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance" (MDNS) on the proposed geoduck farm located on the William and Marie Staley tideland parcel, operated by Northwest Shellfish. The changes did not benefit the near shore environmental impact, individually or cumulatively, nor did they address the lack of information provided.

Picture submitted with application which
cuts off the tideland area where existing
shellfish operations are located.
2009 satellite view from the same
Thurston County Geodata web site.
(click to enlarge)
Location of existing farms to the north.

It appears the changes are the result of operator/owner comments wanting to weaken the conditions, not any concerns over the continued expansion of geoduck farming and cumulative impacts. As noted in an earlier piece on this site the proposal neglected to mention shellfish operations on adjacent parcels and larger operations to the north. Could Thurston County truly consider whether this met the requirements of SEPA which require accurate information to be submitted? Will it meet the requirements of the Shoreline Management Act and their own Shoreline Master Program requirements when the development permit is applied for?
Rather than addressing the lack of accurate information having been provided, instead, the following changes were made:
Condition 3, which required a recorded document which would allow access to the site for research was changed to simply allowing the owner/applicant to "consider" requests and to grant such requests if they do not disrupt farming activities.

Condition 8, which required all tubes and netting to be removed from the site within 2 years, was extended to allow for them to remain for 2.5 years.

The shellfish industry is actively involved in continuing to weaken the regulatory oversight of their activities and expansion. The Shoreline Management Act continues to be weakened by their political involvement in the local creation of county Shoreline Master Programs and in the SEPA process. Most recently the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association has become involved in weakening the Wilderness Act's ability to protect wilderness areas from commercial development through preventing Drakes Estero from becoming wilderness. Are they really the canary in the coal mine or have they have become the strip miners of Puget Sound's tidelands?

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