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:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pierce County Gives Up On Protection of Eelgrass - Do Politics Matter?

Pierce County attorney Jill Guernsey has agreed to dropping protection of Japanese eelgrass as a condition of the Detienne intertidal/subtidal geoduck farm permit. In spite of the county's Environmental Biologist writing that both Japanese and Native eelgrass should be protected, the desire by Detienne and his legal firm, Plauche and Carr, to override the protection was agreed to by the county's attorney, Jill Guernsey. In the April 2 letter to attorneys for Mr. Detienne, the county's biologist wrote:
We do not support qualifying "eelgrass" by adding the word "native".
For two principal reasons, we oppose this. First, the two species can be quite similar in appearance and we want to avoid unintended harm to Z. marina through mis-identification as Z. japonica. Second, County code does not distinguish between the two species. Both provide similar habitat functions, both serve as a substrate for herring, and both merit protection.
We appreciate the concern that failing to distinguish between the two species places the applicant in a position contrary to State law. However, this is not really a concern as a Class C designation: 1) does not obligate control efforts and 2) allows local jurisdictions to regulate this species as they see fit under. At this point, Pierce County chooses to protect both species.
I also think it is important that we put some context into the listing of japonica as a noxious weed to distinguish it from the image that comes to mind by the phrase "..highly destructive, competitive, or difficult to control". Z. japonica has been present in Puget Sound for decades, having been introduced in the ‘30s (a decade or two after the Pacific oyster was introduced and about the same time as Manila clams, two other "invasive" species). It is also important to note that the initial listing of japonica as a Class-C was very limited, being specific to commercially managed shellfish beds in Pacific County. The expansion of its listing into greater Puget Sound took place with the opposition (or at least with the expressed concern) of quite a few individuals and resource agencies including the State Departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife.
Does Politics Matter?
Whether political donations from Detienne's law firm Plauche and Carr to Ms. Guernsey's campaign for the Mayor of Gig Harbor should have caused her to recuse herself from this process is something the county and others might want to consider. They may also want to consider whether Pierce County employee donations to Ms. Guernsey's campaign matter in these decisions.

Donation Report from the Public Disclosure Commission
for Ms. Guernsey's Gig Harbor Mayor Campaign

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