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: https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/
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, June 30, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Supreme Court Denies Request for Hearing

 
It's now time to let the Philip Burton Wilderness,
created for all citizens, be completed as Congress passed as law.
 
A contiguous marine wilderness
may now be completed. 
(click to enlarge)
 
 

Today the Supreme Court of the United States denied Drakes Bay Oyster Company's (DBOC) request to hear their case. With that decision the injunction allowing DBOC to continue its commercial operation in Drakes Estero is now lifted and the process for the removal of non-native marine species being grown by DBOC and the dismantling and removal of the structures in this wilderness area may begin.
 
Press release from the West Marin Environmental Action Committee
 
June 30, 2014

Contact:  Amy Trainer 415-306-6052
Neal Desai:  510-368-0845
Gordon Bennett: 415-663-1881

U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Hear Oyster Company Petition for Review
    Interior Department Can Proceed to Restore Wilderness To Drakes Estero as Congress Intended

Point Reyes, Calif. - Today the United States Supreme Court denied the petition for review filed by the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, thus affirming the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal's denial of the Company's preliminary injunction lawsuit. The Company sued the Interior Department in December 2012 after former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided to let the 40-year lease expire on its own terms. The effect will be that the temporary emergency injunction put in place by the 9th Circuit in February 2013 will be lifted and the Department of the Interior can set in motion a timeline for the company to remove its oyster operation from Drakes Estero.
 
“The Court made the right decision in upholding the long-anticipated oyster lease expiration that protects Drakes Estero, the wild ecological heart of Point Reyes National Seashore, which is particularly important on the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act,” said Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin. “We look forward to a time of healing in the community and stand ready to do our part to support the workers’ transition.”
 
“The Court decision affirms that incredibly beautiful places like Drakes Estero need to be returned to their full splendor, as Congress determined decades ago when the land was purchased by and for the American public,” said Neal Desai, Pacific Region Field Director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “We have been waiting for more than 40 years to celebrate this marine wilderness designation in Point Reyes National Seashore.” 
"There is nothing surprising in the Court decision that has now confirmed for the fourth time that the closure of the oyster operation was a well-established matter of law and policy that Mr. Lunny was fully aware of before he bought the last few years of the lease," said Gordon Bennett, President of Save Our Seashore. "  I hope that community wounds can heal and the clean-up begin so that the public and wildlife can enjoy this Marine Wilderness as Congress intended," said Bennett.
The company has been operating for 19 months past its lease expiration under the soon-to-be-lifted court injunction. The company's workers living on-site will be allowed to remain in the housing for the foreseeable future until equivalent housing can be located, and they will receive a generous relocation package allowed under federal relocation assistance laws.
# # #




Amy Trainer, JD
Executive Director
Environmental Action Committee of West Marin

Box 609 Point Reyes, CA 94956

(415) 663-9312 office
(415) 306-6052 cell

Protecting West Marin Since 1971!
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Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth

find reserves of strength that will endure
as long as life lasts.  ~ Rachel Carson






Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pierce County Cancels Meetings for Shoreline Managment Program Update

Update 7/27: After investing a substantial sum with financial advisors and attorneys, the PJ Taggares group has withdrawn its IPO through which it had hoped to raise over $40 million.

Update 7/16:  Pierce County will hold a meeting July 21 to listen to citizen comments on proposed amendments to their Shoreline Master Program update. 
Time - 1:30PM
Location - 
County City Building, Room 1045
930 Tacoma Avenue South
Tacoma

So much to do, so little time
Unable to draft amendments in time for community SMP Update meetings previously scheduled for the month of July, Pierce County has cancelled the meetings (see below for announcement). This is now the second time a set of meetings has been cancelled.

How were we to know?
Apparently caught flat footed when citizens from Tapps Lake and other shoreline property owners complained about not being aware of a process which has been going on since 2006, some Council members allied themselves with Senator Roach (also the mother of Council Chair Dan Roach) who called for a "bi-partisan" meeting. There the Department of Ecology was invited and, for lack of better words, put on public display for Senator Roach to chide.

Follow-up meeting at the Seattle Yacht Club
At that meeting the full force of those who believed their property rights were threatened by regulations designed to protect the nearshore environment were put in play. A follow-up meeting was held at the Seattle Yacht Club, with notification going to most who left their email address on the sign in sheet. There, the PJ Taggares attorney from Perkins Coie presented his legal logic for why the Critical Area Ordiance and Shoreline Management Act should be weakened if not dismantled.

Hands out for legal help
Also in attendance was the conservative land use group Common Sense Alliance (based in Friday Harbor on Orcas Island), also using Perkins Coie attorney Sandy Mackie. Made up of developers, real estate agents, and others who would benefit from being allowed greater developments rights along the shorelines of Washington, a plea was made for additional donations to meet their current $60,000 "obligation" to Perkins  Coie. CSA also notes they have "committed over $400,000" over the past 4 years (ProPublica notes donations in 2011 and 2012 totaled $155,997). (see earlier post on CSA here)

Hot potato/French potato/Stock for sale
It is unclear why the PJ Taggares company is unable to help with the $60,000 "obligation". As one of the largest land holders in Washington they are the ones who would clearly benefit the most with these programs being dismantled, allowing faster development of their land holdings. While better known for their potatoes, also included in the Taggares holdings are a number of waterfront parcels on Blakely Island in San Juan County where the CSA group is based out of (Friday Harbor). While unknown, it is possible the current attempt to issue stock to raise $48 million to fund the $30 million purchase of a family vineyard/orchard and other large farmland/orchard parcels requires a more quiet back seat role (see the preliminary prospectus here).

Slip sliding away
In the mean time, Puget Sound's intertidal habitat area continues to come under further pressures from the shellfish industry while counties flounder in their update process. In Pierce County, Taylor Shellfish has announced plans for a 25 acre geoduck farm in Burley Lagoon. In Mason County, a permit exemption has been issued to Seattle Shellfish for a geoduck farm on a 20 acre parcel adjacent to McMicken Island State Park. Counties, being  unable to make decisions, instead rely on old regulations for siting of aquaculture, developed when aquaculture was simply placing shells onto tidelands and hand harvesting. It is no longer Grandpa's shellfish farm.

Posted on: June 24, 2014

County Council suspends district meetings on Shoreline Management Program

Members of the Pierce County Council have announced the postponement of a series of meetings around the county to hear from residents about the proposed Shoreline Management Program. The delay is necessary in order to give the county more time to draft amendments to the proposal, among other reasons.
“We were all looking forward to listening to constituent concerns next month, but we’re committed to this process and the voice of the people will be heard,” said Council Chair Dan Roach. “This is one of the most important issues facing the county right now and we want to make sure we get it right the first time.”
The upcoming Shoreline Management Program meetings that are now postponed were originally scheduled for July 10 at North Lake Tapps Middle School, July 14 at Pacific Lutheran University, July 17 at Peninsula High School, and July 21 at the County-City Building in downtown Tacoma. Also suspended is the final plan adoption meeting scheduled for Tuesday, July 29.
Residents who want to express their opinions to the Council can keep track of the latest information and be notified of rescheduled meetings by subscribing to the county’s Shorelines Mailing List.
Pierce County has been regulating development along rivers, lakes and marine waters for over 40 years. The existing program and development regulations were adopted in the early 1970's. In 2003, the Washington State Legislature established a schedule for all counties and cities to update their programs.
The Washington State Department of Ecology is responsible for administering shoreline management at the state level in partnership with local government. Ecology's website for shoreline management is located at: www.ecy.wa.govlprograms/sea/shorelines.
MEDIA CONTACT:
Dan Roach, Pierce County Council chair
253-798-3635
dan.roach@co.pierce.wa.us

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Comments on the Expansion of the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary DEIS Due June 30

Comments due June 30.
West Marin EAC comments are here.
 
Existing and proposed
marine sanctuary.
(click to enlarge)

The West Marine Environmental Action Committee has sent out a press release regarding the proposed expansion of the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Point 2 below is important. Comments are due June 30.
The Draft EIS may be viewed by clicking here.

http://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?objectId=0900006481698a8d&disposition=attachment&contentType=pdf
 
Press Release From EAC: (Note: The link in the release below will take you to all documents related to the expansion. To see the DEIS click here, to comment on the DEIS click here.)
 
The deadline to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the northern boundary expansion of the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries is Monday, June 30th. Attached below [see above] please find a map of the proposed boundary expansion, as well as EAC's comment letter. You can submit your comments electronically at this website:  http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NOS-2012-0228 [Note: This link takes you to all documents relating to the expansion.]
 
Please take a few minutes to comment and advocate in favor of the following:

1.  Maintain original legislative intent for northern expansion as proposed by former Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey.
Unfortunately, the DEIS contains in its “preferred alternative” proposals to rollback Sanctuary protections in significant ways, far from simply carrying forward existing regulations. The DEIS preferred alternative also would not protect sanctuary resources to the mean high tide line. NOAA should abandon its attempt to push through multiple controversial regulatory changes at this time and instead proceed with completing the boundary expansion as originally proposed and championed by former Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey. 

2.  Remove new “authorization” proposal that would allow prohibited activities like dredging and sewage outfalls.
The otherwise welcome Sanctuary expansion unfortunately contains a very controversial provision that significantly expands exemptions to prohibited activities “if they were approved by another authorizing entity.”  There are currently no exemptions for purely commercial activities that might be permitted by another agency. The new authorization provision changes that and would allow individuals and corporations to shop for the weak-link agency to permit an otherwise prohibited activity, then obtain a permit from the Sanctuary for activities including:
            a) Discharge, construction, drilling, dredging or other disturbance...
            b) Taking...a marine mammal, sea turtle, bird [or] historical resource...            
            c) Laying cables, pipelines, alternative energy projects,
            d) Sewage outfalls...coastal armoring...ocean discharges,            
            e) Dredging...establishing new dredge disposal sites
 These exceptions are antithetical to national marine sanctuary protections. If this new “authorization” provision were allowed to take effect, we would risk having national marine sanctuaries in name only. 
3.  Amend new “Wildlife Protection Zones” to fully protect wildlife at some of the most important wildlife areas in the Sanctuary.
The Gulf of the Farallones NMS expansion proposal for 1,000 foot over-flight protections for wildlife hot-spots is inadequate and should be increased to 2,000 feet. 

4.  Delete entirely new “Personal Watercraft Zones” along one-third of the Sonoma coastline through Marine Protected Areas.
The DEIS provisions that would create large zones for recreational use of personal watercraft – jet skis – within Marine Protected Areas should be removed. NOAA has mistaken areas where public comment indicated a need for surfer safety and inadvertently converted these into personal watercraft recreation or “jet ski” zones. Use of personal watercraft to provide surfer safety, like the use of personal watercraft for law enforcement or emergency rescues, is reasonable but recreational use is not. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Marine Reserve Plan Expresses Clearly the Importance of Protecting Intact Marine Ecosystems

"We run the risk of fundamentally breaking entire ecosystems."
John Kerry, Oceans Conference
 
Drakes Estero, part of the
Philip Burton Wilderness Area
 
Today the administration left no doubt about the importance placed on protecting some areas of marine ecosystems from commercial development. Through an Executive Order, President Obama announced his intention to create the world's largest marine protected area in the south-central Pacific Ocean. In an article printed in the New York Times, the president was quoted as saying:
"And like Presidents Clinton and Bush before me, I'm going to use my authority as president to protect some of our most precious  marine landscapes, just like we do for mountains and rivers and forests." President Obama
Doc Hastings complains about the "Imperial President" - which one?
Apparently forgetting about a similar Executive Order by President Bush creating a marine national monument near Hawaii, Republican Doc Hastings complained in a statement about how an "Imperial President" was preventing "energy production" through an "overreaching Executive action."

Drakes Bay Oyster Company's BFF leaving Congress
Doc Hastings (R-WA) has also complained about cessation of commercial activities in Drakes Estero which are preventing the completion of the Philip Burton Wilderness Area which Congress created, which he is a member of. Doc Hastings has announced he will not seek re-election this year, something future generations will come to appreciate as the long term benefits of intact ecosystems for all are seen to outweigh the short term economic benefits of the few.




Monday, June 16, 2014

Burley Lagoon Taxes: Pierce County Council Meeting June 17 at 6:30, Key Peninsula Civic Center

Date: June 17, 6:30
Location: Key Peninsula Civic Center, Whitmore Room
Address: 17010 South Vaughn Road KPN Vaughn, WA

Friends of Burley Lagoon (FOBL) has announced that the Pierce County Council will hold a regional meeting at the Key Peninsula Civic Center. Items listed on the agenda include conversion of 3 parcels to forest land. FOBL notes citizens will then be allowed 3 minutes to discuss topics. Taxes on tidelands converted to commercial shellfish farming is appropriate to bring up as is the conversion of Burley Lagoon to something it never was - a commercial geoduck farm.

Tideland parcels and taxes paid
(click to enlarge)


Representation without taxation - why are geoduck farm tidelands not assessed any higher?
One of the topics which citizens may wish to bring up to the Council is why tidelands, whose owners have decided the "current best use" is as a geoduck farm, are not assessed at their true value. In the case of forest land, it takes up to 40 years before any income is generated, and even then, forest land owners are lucky to net $15,000/acre. Contrast that with geoduck farms whose "crop" matures in 5 years and nets a grower over $1,000,000/acre. If leased, the owner may receive up to $150,000/acre. The Council would do well to explain why the taxes are, in effect, non-existent. And why shellfish growers have so much control over the updating of the Shoreline Master Program.

"Leased tidelands will help with your property tax." (Not said: You'd just better hope the county assessors don't figure out what the true value of those converted tidelands really are. We won't help you with that tax increase. Nor with the increase in income taxes you'll have to pay when you declare your 10% - 15% received as miscellaneous income.)
A favorite point made by geoduck farmers seeking out tidelands to lease is the revenues will help pay upland owner's property taxes. What the geoduck farmers are reluctant to talk about is who pays for the increase in assessed value if a county assessor decides to assess tidelands which have been converted to a commercial geoduck farms at their true value . When these leased tidelands are used by geoduck growers as collateral for loans, the banks are certainly not using the county's assessed value. Also not mentioned is how the IRS looks at the income generated from leasing.


Two Opposing Views of Star Fish from the West Coast and Australia

West Coast: Will they survive?


West Coast concerns about extinction
OPB's Earthfix reports on the starfish die-off having now reached the San Juan Islands, an area thought to be protected from the die-off. However, within a 2 week period the starfish on Orcas Island showing signs of the disease have risen from 10% to over 50% now. Expectations are within just a few weeks the entire population will be impacted, possibly eliminated.  Scientists are still unsure of what the cause is.

Australia: Wants them gone.
Crown-of-thorns sea star

Australia's intentional injection causes Vibrio bloom and death
While scientists along the West Coast try to determine what the cause may be, scientists in Australia are working in the opposite direction, intentionally eliminating starfish over concerns of their impact on the Great Barrier Reef. James Cook University has  discovered that through injecting a protein mixture into the starfish, Vibrio bacteria which naturally occurs within the starfish blooms and kills the starfish. Further, under the right conditions of temperature and salinity, the induced disease is able to spread through contact. A study published in 2013, entitled "Lethal doses of oxbile, peptones and thiosulfate-citrate-bile-sucrose agar (TCBS) for Acanthaster planci; exploring alternative population control options" further developed the idea.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome Spreads to Puget Sound's Eld Inlet

Additional photos from Kim Merriman, taken June 14, show that Sea Star Wasting Syndrome has also spread into Eld Inlet. Ms. Merriman said no purple Ochre, what had been the most prevalent type, were seen. (Click here for a chart of the various Sea Stars of the Pacific Northwest.) To see additional information on Sea Star Wasting Syndrome, go to the Intertidal Monitoring site which includes descriptions and forms to help in reporting what you see.

Sunstar from Eld Inlet
Lesions where the legs meet the
body precede leg separation.
(June 14, 2014 - photo by Kim Merriman)
 
Sunstar with separated leg nearby.
(Eld Inlet)
(June 14, 2014 - photo by Kim Merriman)
 
Starfish (possibly mottled?) missing leg.
(Eld Inlet)
(June 14, 2014 - photo by Kim Merriman)
 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sea Star (star fish) Wasting on Pickering Passage

June 14, 2014: Today's minus 3.6 tide revealed the extent of the starfish die-off on Pickering Passage's intertidal tidelands. Below are pictures from 2013 and pictures from today taken just north of Hammersley Inlet on Pickering Passage. After one year scientists are still unclear what is causing the die-off of Puget Sound's keystone species, something occurring all along the West Coast. (For the University of Washington's Robert Paine's paper on the role of starfish as a keystone species click here.)

June 2013 
Ochre starfish firm, intact, full color.
 
June 2013
Ochre and sun star starfish.
 
June 14, 2014
Ochre legs separated from body.
 
June 14, 2014
Ochre body with missing legs.
 
June 14, 2014
Dead Ochre starfish.
 
A transformation of Puget Sound's ecosystem is occurring before our eyes. Whether it is simply a cyclical die off to be followed by a re-emergence in the near future, or a permanent fixation will be seen. What is important to note is there are changes occurring in Puget Sound and they involve more than simply shellfish.
 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Canadian Intertidal Geoduck Method Greatly Expands Tideland Acreage for Planting

"I can see Canada from my front porch."
 
Power auger used for tube placement
in British Columbia..
Denman Island, British Columbia
(from Association for Denman Island Marine Stewards)
"Drill baby, drill!"
After British Columbia recently announced expanding the acreage of tidelands available for geoduck planting, a new method of tube placement points to even greater production from the tidelands of British Columbia, perhaps Puget Sound as well. Unlike the soft sand found in parts of south Puget Sound which allow for the placement of tubes by pressing them in by foot, the power auger seen above is able to drill down through much rockier sediments.
 
Fracking of the tidelands?
Previously this type of sediment would have prevented tubes from being inserted. Now, by mechanically "fracking" the tidelands and not having to rely on foot pressure, the acreage available for conversion to geoduck cultivation will be expanded significantly. Something none of the regulating agencies have considered.
 
Cracking of the market
At what point the additional supply of geoduck will collapse the market is still to be seen. At this point the average "Joe" can still make money, but as seen in the computer industry, when supply lines shift to the right, prices drop, and average "Joe's" go bankrupt leaving a mess as their legacy.

Will Canada's DFO care?
The Association for Denman Island Marine Stewards (ADIMS) has reported the above to Canada's DFO (Department of Fisheries and Ocean).

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Starfish Wasting Syndrome Expected to bring Local Starfish Populations to Extinction

Get involved in helping scientists understand Starfish [seastar] Wasting Syndrome. Details of what to look for; how to record it; and where to send it are found on this site's data sheets. Additional information is available at seastarwasting.org. Starfish are considered a "keystone" species of Puget Sound, indicative of its overall health. You can help scientists understand what may be causing their die-off.
 
Starfish [sea star] wasting disease causes
starfish to pull themselves apart.
(from Inhabit.com)

Species extinction happening before our eyes?
Oregon State University researchers have said they expect the still unexplained "Sea Star Wasting Syndrome" to bring local starfish populations to extinction. A June 6 article from Inhabit.com notes:
The sea star wasting syndrome has reached epidemic proportions and researchers expect that local starfish extinctions are all but guaranteed at this point. The awful disease causes starfish to tear themselves apart, and it has been devastating starfish populations for months now with no signs of slowing. The Oregon coast in particular has seen an explosion in wasting cases, and scientists expect that the purple ochre sea star will likely be wiped out in the near future, which could have a crippling impact on the ocean ecosystem.
Lesions on Sea Star just prior to
separation from the body.
(Picture from Puget Sound's 
Hammersley Inlet, June 2013)
 
Starfish with 2 legs having separated.
(Picture from Puget Sound's
Hammersley Inlet, June 2013)
 
Separated leg
(Picture by Kim Merriman, 2014
from Puget Sound's Eld Inlet)
 
Lowest tides of the year
This weekend's deep minus tides provide a limited opportunity to help document what is occurring in Puget Sound's intertidal area. Get out and see what's happening. 
 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: June 11 - NPR to Air Story on Drakes Estero Wilderness

Update 6/12: NPR's broadcast of their story on Drakes Bay Oyster Company preventing Drakes Estero from becoming part of the Philip Burton Wilderness Area is available on-line. Click here to listen to their story.
 
Amy Trainer,
Executive Director of the
West Marin Environmental Action Committee
 

June 11: National Public Radio will air a story on Drakes Estero becoming the wilderness Congress intended at ~6:40AM and 8:40AM. Amy Trainer with the West Marin Environmental Action Committee and strong supporter for the completion of the Philip Burton Wilderness Area, which Drakes Estero is part of, will be one of those interviewed.

Lowest Daytime Tides of the Year this Weekend

Tide Table for Olympia, WA
June 11 - June 17
 
South Puget Sound will experience its lowest daytime tides of the year over the next 5 days with the lowest being -3.6 feet on Saturday at 1:22PM (Olympia). Get out and see the incredible diversity of species which Puget Sound's intertidal habitat holds.

Just in time to see what goes on
For areas with commercial intertidal geoduck farms there should be a flurry of activity taking place. Geoduck from the following areas were found to have arsenic levels below that which China considers safe. NOAA and the Department of Health will issue certificates allowing export to China from the following areas:

Stretch Island
West Key Peninsula
Nisqually Reach
Quilcene Bay
Hammersley Inlet
Discovery Bay
Totten Inlet
Spencer’s Cove
Eld Inlet
North Bay

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Supreme Court to Review Petition June 26th


The Secretary emphasized in particular that
"his decision was 'based on the incompatibility of
commercial activities in wilderness.'"
 


The Supreme Court has announced it will review Drakes Bay Oyster Company's petition on June 26th.  It is expected an announcement will be issued the following Monday, June 30th, on their decision. It may be rejected, re-listed for further consideration the following week, or accepted for review.

The Department of the Interior's clear logic on why DBOC's petition should be rejected is detailed in their brief [click here]. It shows the reader in clarity why DOI's decision to allow Drakes Estero to become the wilderness Congress intended, for all citizens of the United States to enjoy, is well grounded in law. DBOC's perceived belief of being entitled to generate profits from their commercial operation within the Philip Burton Wilderness Area does not trump the Wilderness Act.

Additional information may be found here:
13-1244
Drakes Bay Oyster Company v. Jewell

(1) Whether federal courts lack jurisdiction under the Administrative Procedure Act to review an agency action that is arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion when the statute authorizing the action does not impose specific requirements governing the exercise of discretion; (2) whether federal agencies can evade review of their actions under the National Environmental Policy Act by designating their actions as “conservation efforts,” when the record shows that the action will cause significant adverse environmental effects; and (3) whether an agency commits prejudicial error when it makes materially false statements in an environmental impact statement, and then asserts that it would have made the same decision even if the false statements had been corrected.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Burley Lagoon: Taylor Shellfish Proposes 25+ Acre Geoduck Farm

[Note: SEPA environmental decision is separate.]
 
Comments Due July 3, 4:30 P.M.
Must include permit number SD/CP15-14 and Applicant, Taylor Shellfish – Western Oyster
Properties LLC aka Burley Lagoon
Attn: Ty Booth, Senior Planner
tbooth@co.pierce.wa.us 253-798-3727
 
or in writing to:
Planning and Land Services,
Attn: Current Planning, Ste. 175,
2401 South 35th Street
Tacoma, WA 98409.
 
25+ Acre Conversion of Burley Lagoon

Pierce County has notified the public that Taylor Shellfish has submitted an application to create a 25+ acre geoduck farm in Burley Lagoon. As described:
Proposed Action: The Applicant is proposing to convert existing shellfish beds from the cultivation (planting, growing, and harvesting) of Pacific oysters, Manila clams, and scatter-planted Geoduck clams to Geoduck clams planted in tubes.
Detail of action area
 
Do starfish celebrate like the Mariners?
Taylor Shellfish states it is only transforming an area from one type of shellfish cultivation to another and little harm will result. Whether the native habitat and species of Burley Lagoon agree will remain to be seen. It's doubtful the starfish seen below agree.
 
Did we win something?
From Burley Lagoon
 
They typically do not "pig pile" in  celebration like the Mariners did in 1995 after beating the Yankees in the 11th inning of the ALDS . Scientists contacted generally agree these were intentionally moved and piled together. More worrisome to some, by concentrating a population such as this the current "starfish wasting" disease which is impacting starfish in Puget Sound will likely spread, further devastating a native species. However, it is less worrisome to the shellfish industry who see them as little more than a "pest." (See industry's complete list of "pests" in their "Pests of Bivalve Aquaculture" document.)


1995 Game 5 ALDS, 11th Inning
Go home Yankees
Feels better than the starfish.

Things linger in low flush toilets
Pierce County once noted that Burley Lagoon is a low flushing lagoon. The result is sediments which are suspended are not simply carried away by the tide but instead linger within the body of water.  Whether Pierce County will permit one of the largest proposed geoduck farm in an enclosed body of water will remain to be seen.

Image created from dive harvesting
pictures of Spencer Cove, Harstine Island.