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:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Jeff Creque's Op-ed on Point Reyes National Seashore Misses the Point

A corporate paradigm of wilderness is explained by
"agroecologist" Jeff Creque in the Marin Independent Journal.
Would Aldo Lepold and the Wilderness Society agree? Hardly.
Try my prescription glasses, you'll see much better.

In a Guest Op-ed column, "agroecologist" Jeff Creque attempts to put into words his corporate paradigm through which he views Drakes Estero, and with which he justifies a continued commercial operation within the Point Reyes National Seashore wilderness area. Through his glasses Jeff Creque sees what he calls "unlimited biomass" potential.  He sees an open system in which there is "...an unlimited capacity for self-organized complexity, including enormous biomass production and biodiversity potential..." He suggests using his prescription glasses will help you see wilderness in the new, corporate way. 
There's always more, maybe over the rainbow
This perspective is the same as those in the shellfish industry of the mid-1800's who first stripped all the shellfish from California's great reefs and then moved north into Washington's Willapa Bay and Puget Sound. In their wake the native Olympia oyster populations were brought to near extinction. "There will always be more" the great industrialists of that time cried. Until they discovered there were no more. It was the same philosophy of Jeff Creque's which left ecosystems up and down the coast destroyed. There is not an unlimited amount of nutrients and carbon entering into Drakes Estero as he would have us believe. That is simply false. Even over the rainbow.
Aquaculture is not restoration nor is it wilderness, but it does change things
Attempts to recreate what nature had taken thousands of years to build were dismal failures and it is only through artificial and now industrial scale hatcheries that oysters grow today. But to claim this somehow fits into the congressionally designated wilderness of Drakes Estero is as short sighted as were the early shellfish farmer's belief of unlimited shellfish. More importantly, aquaculture is not restoration. Aquaculture is the artificial creation of an ecosystem which is destroyed each time shellfish are harvested. It is this twisted frame into which Jeff Creque attempts to force his "agroecologist" based justification for why Drakes Bay Oyster Company should be allowed to remain. It is corporate environmentalism at its worst, fracturing the reality of what a wilderness area is meant to be. Aldo Leopold is turning in his grave.
Corporate environmentalism through "enlightened management" must be good, right?
Jeff Creque attempts to explain how, through what he calls "enlightened management" that a new corporate view of environmentalism should exist in the Drakes Estero shoreline wilderness area. Lost in that "enlightened management" is what the Point Reyes National Seashore wilderness is supposed to be: a body of water which does not have a commercial shellfish operation operating in leased tidelands covering almost half of the available tidelands. Jeff Creque's attempt to portray Drakes Estero as the only body of water in which commercial oysters are able to grow is as simplistic as is the belief that the nutrient and carbon inputs into Drakes Bay are unlimited, which is his stated belief.  Wearing someone else's prescription glasses will not help your vision.
An oyster farm will not stop rising sea levels, neither will corporate profits
Jeff Creque's piece ends drifting in the doldrums when he writes:
Titular designation as "wilderness" will not "protect" it from rising sea levels, acidifying ocean waters, climate destabilization or the broader global catastrophe unfolding around us.
Drakes Estero's designation as a wilderness area is not intended to protect the marine environment from global man made events taking place any more than resisting the export of coal to China will stop carbon emissions. It will, however, make a statement that there are actions which are far more important than corporate profitability for future generations to look back on as inspiration. Especially when an area is designated wilderness, as defined by the Wilderness Act.
Self-organizing systems do not change what wilderness is. Man does.
The "complex, self-organizing dynamics of this living, open system" known as Drakes Estero exists with a commercial operation in it which is extracting nutrients and carbon, and which is changing the natural ecosystem through artificial structures and non-native species. It is the antithesis of what the Wilderness Act is supposed to preserve for future generations. Jeff Creque's "agroecologist" paradigm may be fine for other areas of California's west coast, such as Humboldt Bay or other parts of Tomales Bay, and a farm. But it most certainly is not what should be allowed to define a wilderness area.
Aldo Leopold would not agree Jeff Creque's eyeglasses help see anything more clear
Finally, to pretend that Aldo Leopold would agree with this corporate paradigm being espoused by Jeff Creque to justify the continued operation of Drakes Bay Oyster Company in the designated wilderness area only shows how bad his eye sight is. Saving DBOC is not one of the "pieces" which Aldo Leopold would have wanted saved. He helped found the Wilderness Society, dedicated to expanding and protecting the nation's wilderness areas. November 29, 2012, the Wilderness Society's President Jamie Williams wrote this:
Area in Point Reyes National Seashore is critical refuge for wildlife 
“The Wilderness Society is pleased to see Drakes Estero protected as the only marine wilderness on the West Coast. Preserving this critical marine area is crucial for the long term conservation of the Point Reyes National Seashore,” said Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams. 
“We applaud U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for the decision to protect this important scenic and ecological natural resource.” 

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