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:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Dept. of Interior and DBOC Sign a Settlement Agreement

 [Update 10/8: The settlement agreement has been approved by Federal Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.]
Drakes Estero: Clean water because of
oysters or in spite of oysters?
The grand experiment - is an oyster's  ability to filter the water really meaningful?
When DBOC has removed the non-native shellfish from Drakes Estero we will have clarity on whether an oyster filtering water is of any significance to the health of an estuary. One of the primary reasons put forth by DBOC and the shellfish industry for retaining the commercial shellfish operation in Drakes Estero, and expanding elsewhere, was that oysters "filter up to 50 gallons per day" (something the Nature Conservancy considers an overstatement). It was believe with that filtering removed Drakes Estero's waters would become more turbid, less healthy, and sea grass beds would shrink. Now we will be able to find out just what difference, if any, oysters really have, or whether, instead, what matters is controlling what flows into an estuary.
Press Release from West Marin
Environmental Action Committee
October 6, 2014
Today, the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Drakes Bay Oyster Company released a signed settlement agreement filed with the federal court that will dismiss the oyster company’s failed litigation with prejudice, allow the Company to continue harvesting oysters through the end of the year, and assign clean-up costs to the American taxpayers. The settlement agreement follows four consecutive Federal court decisions that upheld DOI’s November 2012 decision to let Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s lease expire as long planned, thereby protecting the West Coast’s first marine wilderness at Drakes Estero within Point Reyes National Seashore. The DOI and the Company called the settlement agreement “fair, reasonable and in the public interest.”
“The settlement agreement is a very generous deal for the oyster company that will have had 25 months to operate rent-free since its lease expired. We are glad that Drakes Estero, a magnificent ecological treasure, is finally on its way to be restored to its wild, natural rhythm, free of non-native and invasive species,” said Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin.
Most recently, the Supreme Court of the United States denied hearing the oyster company’s case. As of September 30, 2014, when the agreement was signed the company has had 22 extra months to plant, harvest, and sell its non-native oysters rent-free, thus profiting far beyond its November 2012 lease expiration.
Highlights of the settlement include:
-  Providing January 1, 2015 as the date by when Drakes Estero marine wilderness will be free from Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s business operations such as their daily use of noisy motorboats and placement of thousands of plastic oyster growing bags on sensitive wildlife habitat.
-  Providing Drakes Bay Oyster Company with nearly three additional months to continue their business activities that damage and pollute the estuary and surrounding Seashore. Recently taken underwater video footage captures the significant plastic pollution and invasive species infestation from the oyster company’s operation that the company has neglected to clean up for years.
-   Drakes Bay Oyster Company, as well as its successors and assigns, relinquished all future rights to conduct commercial shellfish operations in Point Reyes.
-   Transfer of clean up responsibilities and costs from the oyster company to taxpayers. Per the leasing contracts it originally signed, the oyster company was legally required to clean up the estuary before its lease expired in November 2012, but today’s settlement unfortunately transfers that financial responsibility to all Americans who, through the National Park Service budget, will be forced to pick up the tab. Since it was formed in 2005, Drakes Bay Oyster Company reported annually that its clean-up costs would not exceed $10,000, yet it claimed the costs would be more than 50 times that ($600,000) when it filed a lawsuit against DOI.
-  Providing the oyster company’s workers with federal relocation assistance and allowing the workers to remain in the onsite housing for months.  

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

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