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, 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.

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