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, July 27, 2013

Drakes Estero: A National Seashore Wilderness On the Verge of Completion

In 1999 the first steps of a long journey towards the completion of the only national seashore wilderness area on the West Coast outside of Alaska were taken. At that point in time the Muddy Hollow area, Abbots Lagoon and the Limatour Area of Point Reyes were moved to "wilderness" from "potential wilderness."

This left only 6,251 acres remaining before completion of the Point Reyes National Seashore wilderness, slated for November of 2012. At that time the then Johnson Oyster Company's use authorization would end, with the only remaining commercial operation in the seashore wilderness area ceasing. That step would complete the creation of the most dramatic wilderness seashore in the United States for all of its citizens to enjoy, a journey begun in 1962.

In November of 2012 the Special Use Permit and Reservation of Use and Occupancy were not renewed. With federal authorization ending so too did the lease from California for use of the  tidelands of Drakes Estero whose contract stated it was "contingent on a concurrent federal Reservation of Use and Occupancy for fee land in Point Reyes National Seashore."
Some attorneys may see the word "contingent" to mean "contingency fee" but contract law is a separate topic. While lawyers wait for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to decide on the fate of Drakes Bay Oyster Company, the lease from California may still be in force with rent due.
While California did reserve the right to fish, the Department of Fish and Game has also noted "it does not extend to aquaculture operations...fishing involves the take of public trust resources and is therefore distinct from aquaculture, which is an agricultural activity involving the cultivation and harvest of private property." In other words, the shellfish are private property which falls outside of the public trust.

President Kennedy had dreams, some of which resulted in the most monumental achievements this country has seen. Included was the initial step taken in the creation of the Point Reyes National Seashore in 1962. That step has lead down a path whose end is the creation of a national seashore wilderness which will be preserved for the future generations of all, not just a few.

President Kennedy's press
release from 1962.

Restoration of Drakes Estero will bring native Olympia oysters. Efforts to restore this native species are taking place throughout the west coast, including nearby San Francisco Bay. The addition of Drakes Estero to those efforts is the next logical step.

Imagine a child decades from now looking out over Drakes Estero and seeing the great reefs of native Olympia oysters which existed when Native Americans were the only ones visiting Drakes Estero. Imagine the gratitude the parents of that child will feel for those who took those final steps on the journey begun in 1962 when President Kennedy noted "...the necessity for prompt action to preserve our nation's great natural beauty areas to insure their existence and enjoyment by the public in the decades and centuries to come."

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