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:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 15: EIS Scoping Comments on Imidacloprid Application in Willapa Bay Due

Comments due by 5PM, February 15
Mail to: Derek Rockett, Permit Writer
Department of Ecology
Southwest Regional Office,
P.O. Box 47775, Olympia, WA 98504-7775
(must be postmarked no later than 5PM, February 15)
Phone: (360) 407-6697 for additional information
Should imidacloprid be added to Willapa Bay,
waters the Attorney General has already 
described as a "chemical soup"*?

EIS scoping comments due February 15, 5PM
The Department of Ecology  (DOE) has reminded people the scoping comments on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) addressing the application of the pesticide imidacloprid to control native burrowing shrimp in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor are due February 15. The announcement may be found here. More detailed information on the proposal is found here.

Through the scoping process interested parties help define the issues the EIS will address, identify alternatives, and provide better focus to the EIS. When complete DOE will use the information within the EIS to determine whether a national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit should be issued, or not.

EPA: Good for the environment,
Shellfish growers: It's a "pest".
EPA: "Burrowing shrimp have important impact on Pacific Northwest estuaries" 
February 3 the Western Ecology Division (WED) of the EPA, in collaboration with Oregon State University, released a preliminary statement on the importance of burrowing shrimp. In their release they note:
Research by a WED scientist in collaboration with Oregon State University colleagues has confirmed the importance of burrowing shrimp to the environment of Pacific Northwest estuaries where intertidal mudflats harbor dense populations of the shrimp. The shrimp construct burrows, which they use for refuge, feeding and mating, that extend as much as a meter below the sediment surface, and they constantly rework the sediments in between.
Preliminary issues
DOE has determined sediment quality, air quality, water quality, plants, animals, and human health are some of the preliminary issues to be addressed. Additional areas of concern will be considered, perhaps the most important being whether a native species (burrowing shrimp) should be given priority over growing non-native shellfish such as Pacific oysters and Manila clams.

Alternatives discussion
A discussion of alternatives could include:
1. No action - which means no permit is issued.
2. Mechanical control of burrowing shrimp only.
3. Alternative chemical control of burrowing shrimp only.
4. Other production methods.
5. An integrated pest management plan which may include both chemical and mechanical control methods.

One thing leads to another.
Spraying carbaryl on Spartina
in Willapa Bay.

Willapa Bay: A new ingredient to the "chemical soup" or a return to its natural state?
At issue with the question of whether imidacloprid should be sprayed onto the tideflats and waters of Willapa Bay is whether it is time to question what the long term impacts of chemicals on Willapa Bay's habitat is having. It is generally accepted that one of the prime reasons Japanese eelgrass has expanded in Willapa Bay is because eliminating the native burrowing shrimp left sediments firmer. It was this firm sediment which Japanese eelgrass found suitable for expansion into.

Something to question is whether allowing the native burrowing shrimp to return may be an effective means of controlling what the shellfish growers also consider a "pest", Japanese eelgrass, or if  further elimination of the burrowing shrimp will lead to further expansion of Japanese eelgrass, leading in turn to calls by the shellfish industry for expanded spraying of imazamox, adding further to the "chemical soup" of Willapa Bay.


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