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, February 21, 2015

Shellfish politics: HB 1715 - Countywide annual fees for all properties with onsite septic systems.

[Update 3/13: As HB 1715 has moved through the political process a number of changes have been made, including removing the word "shall" (requiring a $30 fee be imposed on all land owners with on-site septic systems) and replacing it with "may". Further changes and on-going negotiations indicate it is unlikely this bill will pass. The effectiveness of educating how septic systems should be maintained, including adequate record keeping by the land owner, should be given the opportunity to show they are meaningful and work before counties begin imposing another fee on landowners.]
We all want clean water.
Not all want to subsidize
the shellfish industry.

Shellfish politics - HB 1715: More taxpayer funding for the shellfish industry. The twelve counties which border Puget Sound "shall" impose a $30 fee on all on-site septic systems in the "Puget Sound basin", a term undefined in the referenced RCW (90.71.010), if HB1715 is passed.  At the committee hearing, it was confirmed this fee could be charged county wide. Bill Dewey with Taylor Shellfish acknowledged the industry's benefiting from the fee being imposed.

Are we going to be taxed if they
find out it's our fecal coliform?
Or just shot?

Whose fecal coliform is it?
Asked by committee members whether DNA testing confirmed septic systems were the source of fecal coliform problems a thud could be heard in the silence of the response. Eventually, one response was DNA testing was too expensive. In studies where DNA testing has been done the vast majority of fecal coliform was found to be wildlife (birds, seals, Orca, deer, elk, etc.), cattle and others. Humans represented only 7% of what was tested in Dungeness Bay. In Samish Bay, 17%. 
Testing results and reports are here:
see here for Dungeness sources p. 5.5:
see here for Samish Bay:

My $30 fee shows I need money.
Sorry, we don't have any.
But we did consult about it.

Low interest loans - "may consult with" is not the same as "shall".
A positive discussed at the hearing was how low interest loans being "discussed" was a part of the bill. Something, however, being "discussed" does not guarantee funding is available. Funding for loans is not guaranteed. All HB 1715 "discusses" is the counties "...may consult with the department of ecology..."

Clean water should not mean
all of Puget Sound's tidelands
should look like this.

Clean water is critical for a healthy Puget Sound. The shellfish industry is not critical for a healthy Puget Sound.
We all want clean water, none more so than the shellfish industry whose industrialization of the tidelands and navigable waters generates great profits. For what in return? Virtually nothing in property taxes. Geoducks exported to China pay little to nothing in state taxes. Jobs are menial labor, outside, at night during the winter time low tides.

Beyond messy politics - tax the beneficiaries
Requiring all county residents with onsite septic systems to pay $30 per year to support the shellfish industry is a bad idea which has lead to bad legislation. Urge your representative to vote "no" on this bill. There are other sources of funding - such as a property tax on the shellfish industry's tidelands used for growing shellfish. Find your legislator here:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/ Tell them it's time to stop subsidizing the shellfish industry.

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