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:
http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/contact/send-gov-inslee-e-message
Legislative and Congressional contacts:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Additional information
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/protectourshore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline



Monday, March 31, 2014

April 3, 5:30PM: Pierce County Shoreline Master Program Update Meeting

 
"The mouth is but wind, 
the pen leaves a track."
Councilmember Richardson, March 3
Prepare written comments to submit
to Pierce County at the hearing or by email.
 
April 3, 5:30PM
Peninsula High School
14105 Purdy Drive NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98332
Council Phone: (253) 798-7777
 
Public comments should include focused written comments
Pierce County's Community Development Committee will hold one of its final public meetings on its Shoreline Master Program update (requires Microsoft Word) April 3 in Gig Harbor. Within that update are the proposed regulations concerning aquaculture, in Section 18S.40.040, on page 42. As Councilmember Richardson noted, comments which are written and focused on specific sections with suggestions as alternatives, or in support of what exists, are the most effective. 
 
Who is "taking" what?
 
A taking of marine habitat
Public comments at previous meetings have been primarily from shoreline owners of fresh water lakes concerned about restrictions on their property which they consider a "taking". At the March 20 meeting another perspective on what a "taking" is began to take shape.  It is the "taking" of the marine habitat provided by the intertidal and subtidal areas through the expansion of industrial aquaculture and "modern" methods used to intensify the yield and profit from these unique and scarce areas.
 
Plastic growout bags and nets smothering 
and scourring the intertidal area.
 
A fragmentation of intertidal habitat through plastic bags, nets and tubes
It is a transformation of a habitat unique to Puget Sound which is permanent and which fragments an ecosystem which has existed for millennia. It is a habitat which supports native species unique to Puget Sound, which in some cases are considered little more than "pests" to an expanding industry populating the habitat with unnaturally high densities, and in many cases, with non-native species unable to adapt to the variable water conditions of Puget Sound.
 
Anytime, anywhere: Fudge Point State Park

 
 
 
The fragmentation of a way of life for everyone
At one time anyone who was fortunate enough to find time to enjoy the shorelines of Washington could count on a peaceful experience. A place where families camping or picnicking on some of the few public shorelines and tidelands available could explore without being told they were "trespassing". Even that experience has become fragmented as aquaculture expands. As seen above, access from the water to the Fudge Point State Park on Harstine Island is now limited. Further north, Mason County has leased tidelands between McMicken Island and Harstine Island to a major shellfish company, limiting what had been unrestricted.
 
McMicken State Park
 
They don't make tidelands anymore
Private and public tidelands are not being made any longer. Those which are not developed by aquaculture are being sought after in what is best described as a "land grab". Whether through attempts at new leases with claims of increasing wealth, to attempts to "grandfather" tidelands claiming "production" has occurred where none has, the industry is trying to gain use of tidelands wherever they are. Those privately owned tidelands which are developed are having leases extended for decades, locking them into production. Forever transformed.
 
Boat slips converted to shellfish production.
 
Citizen's public access to the water is becoming limited by aquaculture
In addition to the tidelands becoming restricted and fragmented, access points and use of the water by those not able to afford shoreline properties are also being impacted by aquaculture. Portions of public marinas are being converted to shellfish production facilities and public boat ramps/docks are being used to unload harvested shellfish for transport to processing facilities. As seen in the image above, a number of the few slips available for moorage in Oakland Bay are now being used to produce shellfish. Currently there is no limit to the number of slips which may be used, whether in that portion controlled by the Port of Shelton or that portion controlled by Mason County.
 
The public process helps protect everyone - but only if you're involved
Politics is messy. Nobody ever gets all that they want. But if you aren't involved in the process you will have nothing to stand on when your access to Puget Sound becomes limited or when you see that Puget Sound's tideland habitat has become transformed into nothing more than a profit center for a few large companies. At the expense of public access, property values, and a way of life.


Pierce County Shoreline Master Program Update page: click here
Committee Members and Emails:
Rick TalbertChair, District 5 rick.talbert@co.pierce.wa.us
Douglas G. RichardsonVice Chair, District 6 drichar@co.pierce.wa.us
Connie LadenburgMember, District 4 cladenb@co.pierce.wa.us
Jim McCuneMember, District 3 jmccune@co.pierce.wa.us
Stan FlemmingMember, District 7, sflemmi@co.pierce.wa.us

Friends of Burley Lagoon Outreach

 
How to help:
 


Friday, March 28, 2014

Ecology: Sediments Safe - at least the top two centimeters

Look a little deeper...
...you might find something else.


Top 2-3 centimeters cover a lot of history below
The Department of Ecology (DOE) has released an 8 page summary comparing 1999 and 2011 sample results  of the top two centimeters (one inch) of sediments in south Puget Sound. In the summary entitled "Sediment Quality in South Puget Sound, Changes from 1999 to 2011" DOE reports that exposure to chemical contaminants in this top one inch was "minimum" almost everywhere in south Puget Sound. On the other hand, if you are a bottom dwelling organism, you were "adversely affected in about 1/3 of South Sound." More important, the top 2-3 centimeters are little more than a cover over what's contained from past industrial discharges into Puget Sound, many discharges lasting for decades.

What's down there?
More than a geoduck.

Dig a little deeper
As the Chinese discovered, if you happen to be consuming geoducks from certain parts of Puget Sound, there may be more to concern yourself with. In the case of geoduck shipped to China, it was discovered by the Chinese that geoduck harvested from Poverty Bay had elevated levels of arsenic.  Most likely the result of the ASARCO discharges, it was these contaminants, buried in deeper sediments where geoduck were harvested from, which resulted in a banning of geoduck imported from Washington. After an initial response from the USA suggesting there was nothing to worry about and to simply not eat the outer skin, the Chinese responded:
“The U.S. system shows defects on regulating and monitoring the safety and hygiene for geoduck export to China,” the letter states. “Therefore, the geoduck originating from the USA poses high safety risk in terms of heavy metal arsenic.” [Note: The US is still  negotiating with China over the issue of arsenic found in geoduck. One of the more recent responses from a shellfish lobbyist was: “Maybe we can resolve this by including some kind of label that says not to eat the skin.” Another comment included: "We have arsenic in our geology here in the Northwest." It's not known how the Chinese feel about this.]
Wash off if in Oakland Bay
Another example of what lies below the top one inch of sediments is found in a recent study of deeper sediments (1 foot and below) in Oakland Bay, near Shelton. It was found that elevated levels of dioxins and other chemicals existed at levels higher than the upper one inch. In DOE's "Responsiveness Summary" they note:
The levels of dioxins found in Shelton Harbor and Oakland Bay are well above background levels for Puget Sound. Therefore Ecology agrees that dioxin in Oakland Bay needs to be addressed.
The Department of Health (DOH) noted in their Health Consultation that steps children and adults could take to minimize exposure to dioxins and other contaminants from sediments in Oakland Bay include:
Washing clams thoroughly before eating them (it did not mention whether Manila clam's neck skin should be removed); washing your hands and face after playing or working in the sediments, especially before eating; using a scrub brush to clean dirt from under your nails; and, to wash heavily soiled clothing separately. (page 17)
Stirring up the pot
Most important to all of the above is to take note what the Chinese brought to a head: there is a history of industrial discharge into Puget Sound which is contained in deeper sediments, below one inch. The ASARCO smelter discharged pollutants for decades into the air which traveled throughout the Puget Sound region, settling into the sediments, only to be buried and forgotten, until brought to the surface by geoduck aquaculture, and found by the Chinese. Oakland Bay's waters were once so polluted from industrial discharges the salmon would swim up Hammerlsey Inlet, only to turn over and die in Oakland Bay. Boaters used to anchor their boats in Oakland Bay so the polluted waters would kill the barnacles and other sea life growing on the bottom. Much of what was in those waters settled into the sediments, to be covered. It is not gone nor should it be forgotten because the top one inch of sediments appear safe.

[Update 3/29 (provides a link to an article not requiring a subscription): Northwest Public Radio has reported a possible solution to the Chinese ban of geoduck may be near. The US has proposed testing geoduck for arsenic. The Chinese will review the testing procedures and decide at a later date if it is adequate.]

 

 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mussel Farm Permit: APHETI and Taylor Shellfish in Court on Friday, March 28th, at 1:30PM

APHETI and Taylor Shellfish will be in Superior Court Friday, March 28 at 1:30PM. Listen to each explain their differing opinions on whether Taylor Shellfish's proposed 58 raft mussel farm at the mouth of Totten Inlet is or is not consistent with the state's Shoreline Management Act and Thurston County's Shoreline Master Program.
 
From APHETI:
 
Association for the Protection of Hammersley, Eld, & Totten Inlets
-APHETI-
PO BOX 11523, Olympia WA 98508-1523 
(360) 866 - 8245  
March 24, 2013

Reminder:  APHETI Superior Court Hearing Date / 1:30 PM, Friday, March 28, 2014
Greetings APHETI Members and Supporters -  

If you can possibly do so, please attend the Superior Court hearing of APHETI's and Thurton County's joint appeal the State Shoreline Hearing Board decision to overturn Thurston County's denial of Taylor's permit application for expanded mussel raft aquaculture operations in Totten Inlet.   
 
Your personal presence of support to uphold Thurston County's denial of Taylor's permit application is very important! Bring your family. Bring your friends. 

The hearing will begin promptly at 1:30 PM, this coming Friday, March 28, 2014.  The location is Courtroom 202, Building #2 of the Thurston County administrative complex, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, WA 98512.  Please spread the word.

Plan to arrive by 1:00 PM to get parked and walk to Courts Building #2.  Upon entry, go through security and then check the Court Scheduleing board to confirm the hearing is still to be in  Courtroom 202.  This is on the second floor of Building #2.  An elevator is available.  

Feel welcome to call Superior Court at (360) 786-5560, Ext. -0- or APHETI at (360/866-8245) with any questions you may have.  

In advance, Thank You!
APHETI Board of Directors

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Application of Imazamox on Willapa Bay Shellfish Beds Cleared by Ecology

 
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
general permit process will allow for imazamox
application on shellfish beds in Willapa Bay
[one more ingredient to the "chemical soup" of Willapa Bay]
 
Will his clams get bigger or just taste different?
 
"Preferred" alternative: The preferred alternative is to use an integrated pest management (IPM) approach for the management of Z. japonica on commercial clam beds. This approach would combine crop rotation timing,8 harvest activities, and selected existing control practices (described above under the No Action Alternative) with chemical applications of the herbicide imazamox. The efficacy of imazamox combined with shellfish cultural activities and general integrated pest management practices should reduce the interval at which imazamox applications will be necessary; i.e., it is expected that it will not be necessary for commercial clam farmers to apply imazamox to the same bed every year under this alternative. The IPM approach relies on the use of imazamox in order for the other control methods to be commercially viable (personal communication with WGHOGA members, August 2013).
 
 
Department of Ecology Announcement:
 
The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) has issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Management of Zostera japonica (Z. japonica) on Commercial Clam Beds in Willapa Bay, Washington.
 
Final Environmental Impact Statement
A Draft EIS (DEIS) was available for public comment from January 2 through February 15, 2014, and a public workshop and hearing was held in South Bend, Washington on February 1, 2014. A draft national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit for the discharge of imazamox for the control of Z. japonica on Commercial Clam Beds in Willapa Bay was also out for public review during this same period.  Ecology developed a response to public comments received on the DEIS.  The response to public comments is available as a Responsiveness Summary in Appendix B of the FEIS.
 
The proposed action analyzed in this FEIS is the discharge of imazamox onto commercial clam beds in Willapa Bay for the purpose of controlling Z. japonica.  The FEIS analyzes the potential impacts of the proposed action and alternative management methods for controlling Z. japonica on commercial clam beds in Willapa Bay.
 
Ecology will be making a decision on whether to issue the NPDES permit for the control of
Z. japonica on Commercial Clam Beds in Willapa Bay by April 2, 2014.
 
Copies of the FEIS
You may download copies of the FEIS from the following website: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/
programs/wq/pesticides/eelgrass.html
 
If you would like to obtain hard copies of the FEIS, or if you have questions, please contact Nathan Lubliner at nathan.lubliner@ecy.wa.gov, or (360) 407-6563.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pierce County Shoreline Master Program Update Meetings

Update 4/4: The public's participation in the SMP Update has resulted in a new schedule for Pierce County, which follows:
 
Below is the newly announced schedule:

STUDY SESSION
Monday, April 7, 1:30PM: Study Session
County-City Building, Room 1045
930 Tacoma Ave South

PUBLIC MEETINGS
Thursday, July 10, 5:30PM
North Lake Tapps Middle School
20029 12th Street East
Lake Tapps

Monday, July 14, 5:30PM
Pacific Lutheran University,
Scandinavian Cultural Center
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, WA

Thursday, July 17, 5:30PM
Peninsula High School Auditorium
14105 Purdy Drive NW
Gig Harbor

Monday, July 21, 1:30PM
County-City Building, Room 1045
930 Tacoma Ave South
Tacoma

FINAL COUNCIL ACTION
Tuesday, July 29, 3PM
County-City Building, Room 1015
930 Tacoma Avenue South
Tacoma


The Public Process -
Provide Constructive
Suggestions in Writing
 
Pierce County will hold two additional meeting on its Shoreline Master Program update before the final proposed update to the county council (see below). It is the final opportunity for citizens to become part of what has been a well known process for many years.
 
Verbal comments, while part of the record, are limited in time and less effective than those in writing. Those in writing are more effective if specific sections are noted, more so if alternatives are offered. 
 
The Shoreline Master Program update page contains the proposed update and can be found by clicking here (requires Microsoft Word).  Videos of past meetings where the public has commented can be seen here: March 6, March 20  Get involved - in writing.
 
Thursday April 3, 5:30PM 
Peninsula High School auditorium
14105 Purdy Dr. NW, Gig Harbor

Monday April 7, 1:30PM
County-City Building, Room 1045
930 Tacoma Ave. S, Tacoma

Final Pierce County Council Action
Tuesday, April 22, 3PM
Pierce County Council
County-City Building, Room 1045
930 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Governor's Office Fails to Respond to Japanese Eelgrass Appeal

Tell them to go somewhere else
for their next meal.
Brant geese foraging
in Willapa Bay
 
You're late
The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat has released an email sent to the Governor's office in which it notes the Governor's responsibility to have responded within 45 days to the Coalition's appeal to the denial by the Noxious Weed Board to the Coalition's request to de-list Japanese Eelgrass as a Class C Noxious Weed.

Who needs buffers?

One thing leads to another - a chemical soup
The Noxious Weed Board, pressured by the shellfish industry, declared naturalized Japanese Eelgrass a noxious weed. This has, in turn, allowed for the shellfish industry to press for the application of imazamox on Japanese Eelgrass in Willapa bay on commercial shellfish beds. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on that proposal is now being worked on at the Department of Ecology. It is one more "ingredient" being added to what the Attorney General described Willapa Bay as being: a "chemical soup".

Just another "pest" the "stewards" 
of the shellfish industry want to eliminate.

These "environmental stewards" want to eliminate buffers and native shrimp
In a letter sent from the law firm representing the shellfish industry they claim to be "environmental stewards." This industry is the same one who is attempting to eradicate the native burrowing shrimp, most recently through the proposal to apply carbaryl to the tidelands. Regarding the application of the non-discriminate herbicide imazamox, they are opposed to suggestions of buffers which are meant to limit the threat of collateral damage to vegetation on adjacent properties which the application of imazamox poses ("requests that the property line buffer be eliminated").
 
"It's a preferred use."
Not when the Shoreline Management Act
was created and not now.


Preferred use doesn't mean you can do what you want, where you want, no matter which initiative you hide behind
In their legal letter the shellfish industry goes on to claim that because the Shoreline Management Act considered aquaculture a preferred use when it was written in the early 1970's, the state is now mandated to support anything which improves shellfish yields from the tidelands. If naturalized species and native species dependent on that habitat happen to be in the way, too bad. Lost to the industry is that being a "preferred use" does not allow for a free-for-all in the tidelands, any more than it allows for condominium complexes to be built out over the water because residential use is a "preferred use." Using the shellfish initiatives, created and pushed through by shellfish lobbyists, to hide behind only shows how little the industry cares for anything except increasing production from Washington's tidelands. For their financial benefit.

Aquaculture: A persistent threat to Washington's shorelines
The industry's legal firm ends their letter with looking forward to helping Ecology address what they consider a "persistent threat to shellfish aquaculture". What Ecology needs to understand is that it is the shellfish industry which has evolved to become the "persistent threat" to Washington's shoreline area and the critical habitat it provides for all species, many of which other industries are dependent on, and many species which have existed for millennia - not just 4 generations.

Shellfish Industry to Ecology: Your "duty" is to advance shellfish aquaculture
Industry's legal comment ends by saying Ecology has "a duty" to advance shellfish aquaculture. Ecology does not have a duty to advance shellfish aquaculture. Ecology does have a duty to ensure that Washington's shorelines are not fragmented into piecemeal parcels of unnaturally high density shellfish lots growing non-native species in plastic grow-out bags and PVC pipes at the expense of all other species.

Another viewpoint on Ecology's responsibility 
In comparison to the industry's legal letter the Northwest Environmental Defense Center also provided comments on Ecology's role, best summarized by this sentence:
"Ecology has not provided sufficient information to demonstrate that it has evaluated all probable environmental impacts, or sufficiently analyzed alternatives and mitigation measures."
Email to the Governor's office:
 Dear Mr. Brown,
On January 28, 2014, The Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat and Robert Kavanaugh hand delivered to the Governor's Office an "Appeal of the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board Denial of Rule-Making To Amend Petition" and exhibits. The office of the governor date stamp shows we filed this within 30 days of the Weed Board denial as required by RCW 34.05.330. As of today, March 21, 2014, we have received no response from the Governor's office. 
 
According to RCW 34.05.330, " The governor shall immediately file notice of the appeal with the code reviser for publication in the Washington state register. Within forty-five days after receiving the appeal, the governor shall either (a) deny the petition in writing, stating (i) his or her reasons for the denial, specifically addressing the concerns raised by the petitioner, and, (ii) where appropriate, the alternative means by which he or she will address the concerns raised by the petitioner; (b) for agencies listed in RCW 43.17.010, direct the agency to initiate rule-making proceedings in accordance with this chapter; or (c) for agencies not listed in RCW 43.17.010, recommend that the agency initiate rule-making proceedings in accordance with this chapter. The governor's response to the appeal shall be published in the Washington state register and copies shall be submitted to the chief clerk of the house of representatives and the secretary of the senate."
 
We take the issue of unlimited destruction by the shellfish industry of Washington State eelgrass that is a critical component of our ecosystem seriously. I discussed the lack of response to our petition with Susan Beatty in your office earlier this week and have not heard back from her. We are preparing to file legal action in Superior Court and would appreciate a response from your office.
 
Sincerely,
Laura Hendricks
Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat
(253) 509-4987
 
 
 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pierce County Shoreline Master Program Update and Public Meetings

Environmental stewardship doesn't end at the shoreline.
Tidelands need protection, just like farmlands and forests.

Reminder: Pierce County will hold three more public meetings on its Shoreline Master Program update (March 20, April 3, and April 7) before the final Pierce County Council meeting on April 22. These meetings will be the final opportunity for those concerned with development of the nearshore habitat in Pierce County. Videos of public meetings held to date are available on Pierce County's web site here: March 6, March 17. The proposed SMP update (aka "Section G" and "Title 18S") which will be discussed at the upcoming meetings was passed at the March 3 meeting.

The updated Shoreline Master Program is located here (requires Microsoft Word).
 
NOTE: As Councilman Richardson states: the mouth is wind, the pen leaves tracks. Submit written comments here or send an email to your councilmember.

Thursday March 20, 5:30PM
Pacific Lutheran University Scandinavian Cultural Center
12180 Park Ave. S, Tacoma

Thursday April 3, 5:30PM 
Peninsula High School auditorium
14105 Purdy Dr. NW, Gig Harbor

Monday April 7, 1:30PM
County-City Building, Room 1045
930 Tacoma Ave. S, Tacoma

Final Pierce County Council Action
Tuesday, April 22, 3PM
Pierce County Council
County-City Building, Room 1045
930 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma

March 3: The beginning of the end
Pierce County has begun its final press towards updating its Shoreline Master Program which the state required in 2003. The March 3 meeting which began the final process may be viewed here, with the update discussion beginning at 58:30, a history running through 92:30, after which Ms. Hyde begins discussing the actual regulations, followed by public comments.

Goal of the public meetings - the mouth is wind, a pen leaves tracks
Councilman Talbert stressed that the upcoming public meetings will be the county's opportunity to present the proposed SMP update and the public's opportunity to comment on those regulations they are concerned with. Councilman Richardson stressed that the "mouth is wind" and a "pen leaves tracks". If changes are desired he suggested an email should be made part of the record.

A taste of the process
At 123 minutes a taste of future legal challenges may be heard when a member of the public challenges how Pierce County is restricting property use through this proposal.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Taylor Shellfish Mussel Farm Permit Appeal: Court Date Set - March 28, 1:30

"Taylor has spent almost 18 years funding* the development
of a voluminous body of scientific evidence..."
(* - see end note)
 
The appeal of the Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB) decision which reversed the Thurston County Hearing Examiner's denial of a shoreline permit will be heard in the Thurston County Superior Court, March 28 at 1:30. The Superior Court is located here:
2000 LAKERIDGE DRIVE SW, BLDG 2
OLYMPIA WA 98502
Tel:  360.786.5560

In court, APHETI (the Association for the Protection of Hammersly, Eld and Totten Inlet) and Thurston County will argue that Taylor Shellfish has failed to show its proposed 58 raft mussel farm is consistent with the Washington's Shoreline Management Act and Thurston County's Shoreline Master Program. Taylor Shellfish will argue they have spent a lot of money to hire contract scientists to show it is.

The outcome of the court decision will determine whether future expansion of high density shellfish farming in south Puget Sound will occur without consideration of the cumulative impacts which  individual projects, considered as a whole, are having on Puget Sound's ecosystem and habitat.

If you support APHETI's position that shellfish aquaculture in south Puget Sound has evolved to a point where it needs to be looked at in its entirety instead of "one permit at a time" you can contribute to APHETI (a non-profit 501c3) here:
http://www.apheti.com/contactus.htm

To the north, CISA (Case Inlet Shoreline Association) is also involved in forcing the cumulative impacts issue to be considered by Pierce County. There, Pierce County has appealed a SHB reversal of their approval for the first subtidal commercial "farm". There the SHB said a cumulative impacts analysis was needed. The shellfish industry does not agree and has appealed. Contact/donation information is found here: http://www.caseinlet.org/Join_Us.php

End Note: *There may be some question of just how much money Taylor Shellfish itself has spent.
Clicking on this link - (https://grantsonline.rdc.noaa.gov/flows/publicSearch/begin.do) - and entering
NA16RG1591 into the "grant award" box will show a $384,000 grant awarded to the Pacific Shellfish Institute to study impacts from mussel farms in Totten Inlet. Clicking on this link - (http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/permitting/devactivity/totten/itrc-process/3C%20PSI_CarryingCapacityStudyProposal_Jul01.pdf) - will take you to a letter posted on Thurston County's web site stating that Taylor Shellfish and Thurston County will be using the information to develop the EIS and want to meet to discuss how to develop this study. Apparently for their benefit and at taxpayer expense.






Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Joseph Sax, Environmental Attorney Passes Away at 78

Joseph Sax in 2013

Joseph Sax, who many consider to have established the current foundation of environmental law has passed away at the age of 78. As noted in the NY Times obituary:
In his signal achievement, Professor Sax reached back to ancient Roman law to formulate a far-reaching legal doctrine that recognizes the air, seas and other natural resources as a public trust that must be protected from private encroachment.
The NY Times goes on to state:
In an article frequently described as seminal, Professor Sax proposed that some natural resources — the oceans, other bodies of water, shorelines, the air and portions of land — are so important that they should be treated in the courts as a “public trust,” and that citizens had the right to sue to protect them against government, business and private individuals who might threaten them.
His presence will be deeply missed but what he established as law will be carried forward for the benefit of future generations.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Attorney Peter Prows Practicing his Reverse Speech?

In an apparent practice session to be sure his "reverse speech" is in fact saying what he wants it to, Drakes Bay Oyster Company's public relations attorney, Peter Prows was interviewed again on Sedona Dreams,  promoted as "...your Arizona source for pioneering studies in Reverse Speech." The interview, broadcast on Denver's 90.7 "Truth Frequency Radio," was followed in the second hour by "Reverse Speech" founder, David John Oates  - "Exploring the mysterious world within".

Reverse Speech Founder
John Oates
"play it in reverse"


As noted in an earlier post, why anyone would chose to be interviewed by and associated with Sedona Dreams is a mystery in itself, especially when trying to argue about what a scientific study should be. On the other hand, as pointed out in the California Coastal Commission's opposition brief, DBOC has suggested "...that perhaps Drakes Estero is exempt from the general laws of biology and chemistry." (page 13, discussing DBOC's position on its pressure treated wood racks in Drakes Estero).

Mr. Prows will have his chance to test out whether his "reverse speech" is up to snuff on March 11 before the court when he argues his case against the California Coastal Commission. Bring your computer to "hear the truth."

PCSGA Beach Cleanup March 13 - Would a tide lower than +5.4 help?

Note: If tideland owners prefer shellfish workers not walk on their tidelands, if there are questions, or if you'd like to help, the contact information is: mary@pcsga.org or 360-754-2744.
 
Tide Chart for March 13
 
The Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association is holding their biannual beach cleanup Thursday, March 13. Typically the growers will gather at the Arcadia Point public boat launch and from there fan out across south Puget Sound to gather debris from the upper level tidelands.

 
Tires, Styrofoam, Wood
 
As would be expected, tires, styrofoam, wood, bottles and other loose items typically found in the higher tidal elevations are gathered. The boats return to Arcadia Point where the garbage is off-loaded onto trucks which carry them away. It is a helpful service.
 
What about the debris at
lower tidal elevations?
 
There is, however, an area which needs improvement. It is the lower tidal elevations where all of the PVC pipes and much of the netting used in aquaculture exists. It is there where much of the debris exists. On March 13 the tidal area where geoduck farming goes on, +2 to -4, is covered by 3 to 9 feet of water at the lowest tide of the day (+5.4 at 11:34 in Olympia). Public relations efforts and a more meaningful impact would be helped immensely if the growers were to instead schedule their cleanup day(s) during these minus tide events. It is this area where the most concern exists.
 
A geoduck farm in need of cleaning up.

 
 

 


Friday, March 7, 2014

Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans Releases its Draft Geoduck Management Plan

Canadian Geoduck Aquaculture
Poised for Large Expansion
This bubble is not different.
It will pop.
 
Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue

Geoduck production to expand in Canada
Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has released its draft geoduck management plan, the first step to opening up vast areas of tidelands for the harvest and cultivation of geoduck. The area of tidelands being made available for production from British Columbia will cause that in Puget Sound to pale in comparison and bring with it a significant increase in the supply of geoduck available to the market. Based on maps available it appears an area close to 24 south Puget Sounds may be put into production.

The Strait of Georgia


Tideland expansion moves beyond the Strait of Georgia
Prior to 2006 the area which DFO allowed geoduck cultivation in was limited to the Strait of Georgia. DFO has announced it will now consider opening up the entire Pacific coastline to cultivation and harvesting. It notes in the plan:
The Department will consider both new and amendment applications for geoduck aquaculture in all areas of the Pacific coast.

Area of proposed expansion with
Puget Sound circled at the bottom.
 
It's not all available, just a great deal of it
For detailed maps of areas being considered for applications you can click here. There you will find 24 separate maps which show how immense the area being considered is. To gain perspective on how large an area DFO is opening, the image below shows one of 24 maps, in this case the area of Flores Island, spanning a linear length of ~36 miles. Very roughly, over 200 miles of shoreline will be made available. The lower right image shows the same 36 mile distance in Puget Sound, reaching from Olympia north to Poverty Bay, just north of Tacoma.
 
Map of Area 24 North: Flores Island Area
~140 miles of shoreline
 
The general process
In some cases subtidal areas will be allowed to have an initial harvest of the wild geoduck. After that harvest, the approved applicant will be allowed to replant the area harvested. When that "crop" is mature, after a minimum of 7 years, any remaining wild geoduck may be harvested along with those planted. While not clear, it is assumed replanting will be required after the harvest. Included in the plan are guidelines on geoduck which may be used as "broodstock", in general limiting them to wild geoduck from the area being planted. "Seed" from Washington and Alaska will not be permitted.
 
Public comments on the plan accepted until April 19, 2014
The public will be allowed to comment on the proposed plan until April 19. Comments should be sent to: Shellfish.Aquaculture@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
 
The geoduck bubble is not different - it will deflate
Claims that "this time it's different" and that tideland owners in Puget Sound will "get rich" from leasing their tidelands should be reminded that all bubbles are the same. Some people will get rich, but many more will become poor. None are "different." Simply look to an article from Forbes written in December on Bitcoin. Or read "Stages in a Bubble" to understand better the realities of what is occurring.
 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pierce County Shoreline News: Council Members Rick Talbert and Dan Roach on Shoreline Master Program Update

Pierce County Television has a 3 minute piece in which county council members Rick Talbert and Dan Roach discuss the Shoreline Master Program update as it relates to shoreline property owners and restrictions on shoreline development.

Dan Roach, Pierce County Chair states: "We are reacting to state law."
Rick Talbert, District 5 states: "It all has to do with clean water."

A schedule of meetings and locations is at the end of the broadcast.

Canadian Scallop Die-off: Another non-native species unable to adapt?

Is Perkinsus Qugwadi (PQ) killing non-native hybrid scallops?
 
"The extreme pathogenicity of this parasite
to P. yessoensis (Japanese scallop) requires that
caution be taken to prevent the spread of this disease."

Pustules in the Japanese scallop caused by PQ
 

Are Hybrid Japanese/Weathervane scallops now susceptible to the return of PQ?
The sudden die-off of scallops in British Columbia is being pointed to as another sign of ocean acidification impacting the shellfish industry. It may play a role, but acting on assumptions is dangerous and at times expensive.

Hybrids are not the same as native species
As noted on the Aboriginal Aquaculture Association website, the scallop which is currently being cultured is a hybrid between the native Weathervane scallop (Patinopecten caurinus) and non-native Japanese scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis). It is commonly called the "Pacific Scallop" and is the scallop which Island Scallops produces in its hatcheries for cultivation. The hybrid was thought to have been resistant to PQ, as the native Weathervane is. It may be that PQ has returned and the hybrid is not resistant.

Perkinsus Qugwadi disease reported again in 2011
With the disease last reported in 1997, it was thought that the non-native Japanese scallop and the hybrid had developed a resistance similar to the native Weathervane scallop. In April of 2013, however, Diseases of Aquatic Organisms published an article on the pathogen having been rediscovered in 2011 in the Japanese scallop in Canada. It is reported to be 90% fatal to juvenile scallops, less so in adults.

Holding the reins a bit tighter
It is important that agencies act on facts and not feelings when dealing with die-offs such as that recently experienced in Canada and those in the shellfish hatcheries in Washington. Ocean acidification may well be the root cause of problems currently seen. However, it may also be that attempts by an industry to create species of shellfish through hybridization and other genetic modifications which grow faster more quickly may also be the root cause. It may be wise for people riding the horse of ocean acidification to hold the reins a bit tighter.




 
 


 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Far More than a Local Issue, Far Less than a PR Creation

California Lawyer, March 2014
 
Drakes Estero: The final piece in creation of
the Philip Burton Wilderness area.
Drakes Estero: More than an oyster farm.


Philip Burton Wilderness - waiting to be completed
In the March 2014 publication of California Lawyer, Kelly O'Mara presents a detailed overview of what to date has prevented the completion of the Philip Burton Wilderness area, as defined by Congress in 1976. Within Drakes Estero and along its shoreline is a commercial shellfish operation whose reservation of use ended in November of 2012. Afterwards, the commercial operation was to have ceased, allowing for the congressionally created Philip Burton Wilderness to be completed, something which citizens across the United States, and in fact the world, could experience. Instead, as detailed in the article, attorneys representing the commercial shellfish operation have prevented the last step from being taken through appeal after appeal, now believing the Supreme Court will hear their arguments.

A contiguous marine wilderness area which benefits everyone, not just West Marin
Within the population of West Marin, an area known for its wealthy residents but which also includes ranchers and farmers of less well means, the question of whether this commercial shellfish operation should remain is a challenge for many of them. In Ms. O'Mara's piece she notes the possibility of mediation to bring the two disparate sides together. A healing of sorts, and something which at a local level is clearly needed. But it should be clear to everyone that experiencing the Philip Burton Wilderness, the only marine wilderness area on the west coast outside of Alaska, goes far beyond West Marin. Its creation/completion would be a national treasure.

Put it in perspective.

Economies of National Parks - put it in perspective
In the West Marin Independent Journal on March 3 is an article entitled "National parks in Marin bolster local economy, report says." In that article it is noted that visitors to the Point Reyes National Seashore, which the Philip Burton Wilderness is part of, generated over $97 million from 2.4 million visitors. There is no question that some number came to visit the small commercial shellfish stand. But as reported, this commercial shellfish operation only generated $1.5 million (3% of oysters on the west coast), with only a part actually generated from visitors, the rest being sold outside of the National Park. Despite a well organized public relations program, the commercial shellfish operation which is preventing the creation of the Philip Burton Wilderness is insignificant to the overall revenues generated. Would there be fewer visitors to Point Reyes were it to cease operation? Unlikely.



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hood Canal Oil Spill: NOAA Food Tasters Say Shellfish are Safe

NOAA's "Sniff Test"
(Can you smell everything?)

A NOAA "sensory panel" has said shellfish in Hood Canal pass the "sniff test" and are safe to eat. As a result the Department of Health has released this statement:
We are lifting the shellfish harvest advisory in portions of the Hood Canal #1 and #2 growing areas effective immediately based on results from a sensory panel conducted by NOAA on representative samples throughout the shellfish harvest advisory and emergency closure areas.
It is unknown whether the Department of Health will propose the "sniff test" to the Chinese when they meet over concerns of shellfish safety and testing. China claimed to have received geoduck from Washington with elevated levels of arsenic and from Alaska with elevated levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning toxins. Their concerns resulted in China's blocking the import of shellfish, including geoduck, from the west coast. That ban has been in place since December 5. [click here for EarthFix report]