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:

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.
Laura Hendricks
Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat
(253) 509-4987

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