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:
http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/contact/send-gov-inslee-e-message
Legislative and Congressional contacts:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Additional information
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/protectourshore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline



Thursday, March 31, 2016

Taylor Shellfish Proposes to More than Double Stratford/Meyer Geoduck Farm, Known Since 2013

Shorelines Hearings Board Needs to Ask the Right Questions
or
Who's Testimony is Really Reliable?

(One of 3 leases executed in April of 2013)

Background - Not Disclosed
In April of 2013, Taylor Shellfish executed 3 separate leases with private tideland owners in Pierce County which would more than double in size their Stratford-Meyer geoduck farm. The farm is located to the south of the recently approved "Haley/Seattle Shellfish/Taylor Shellfish" geoduck farm and north of Herron Island along the shoreline of Case Inlet. (The original farm has operated since the mid-2000's.)

Background - An appeal of Haley/Seattle Shellfish/Taylor Shellfish decisions and belief a cumulative impacts analysis should be required.
One year later, in May of 2014, the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat appealed a permit approved by Pierce County and an associated mitigated determination of non-significance (MDNS) decision. In the initial hearing before the Hearing Examiner, affidavits were submitted to Pierce County by representatives of Taylor Shellfish and Seattle Shellfish stating no additional farms "abutting the Haley Farm" were proposed. Pierce County's staff noted "no applications for nearby farms were pending before the County." No mention of plans for the Stratford-Meyer farm to more than double in size was made, a plan known in April of 2013 if not sooner. In October of 2014 the Hearing Examiner denied the appeal of the MDNS and approved the permit. The appeal to the Shorelines Hearings Board was denied and the permit, with conditions, was approved in May of 2015.

Why an analysis was not required.
The SHB noted "Pierce County has no pending aquaculture applications between the county line to the north and Herron island to the south." Taylor Shellfish's Diane Cooper submitted an email from the Corps stating it only had "...2 pending applications in all of Pierce County for geoduck farms." (They were not for the 3 leases signed in 2013). Disclosure of the 3 executed leases for tidelands north of Herron Island, south of the "Haley" farm, was not made.

Was Pierce County's testimony really that reliable?
In its decision, the SHB found Pierce County's "testimony" to be the "most reliable" which lead it to believe there was no need for a Cumulative Impacts Analysis and the Coalition had "...failed to prove that there will be adverse impacts from the Haley farm, along with other existing aquaculture and reasonably foreseeable aquaculture in the vicinity of the Haley Farm." (p. 32 SHB decision) 

Current permit application (at least what's known) March 23, Pierce County announced Taylor Shellfish intended to more than double in size its Haley/Stratford geoduck farm, using leases it had executed in 2013. It will accept comments through April 19, by 5PM (See permit application announcement here)

True, but not the complete story. What else is there?

 "Additionally, the Applicant provided affidavits by Cooper and Gibbons, speaking on behalf of Taylor and Seattle Shellfish, respectively, indicating “No plans to operate any additional shellfish aquaculture farms abutting the Haley Farm.” Further, the MDNS and staff report considered aquaculture activities adjacent to or abutting the proposed site, noting that no aquaculture activity occurs within 4,300 feet of the Haley site and no applications for nearby farms were pending before the County."
Size is a relative term - and like geoducks, it just keeps getting larger and larger, overwhelming south Puget Sound.
In the October 2014 decision, the Hearing Examiner noted the Haley/Seattle Shellfish/Taylor Shellfish geoduck farm was "in proportion" to the area proposed. Currently, Taylor Shellfish is also proposing an additional 25 acre geoduck operation in nearby Burley Lagoon, also in Pierce County. More importantly, the University of Washington recently released a study stating a mere increase of ~3 acres to ~7 acres of geoduck farming in the Central Basin of Puget Sound would cause significant adverse impacts. The UW wrote, "Gear...Impacts Ecosystem If Farming Increases." If only 7 acres in the Central Basin causes impacts, what will the current proposals in south Puget Sound do?
"The scale of aquaculture operations shall be in proportion with the surface area and configuration of the affected water body. The proposed site is not within a constricted waterway, but along the shore of Case Inlet. Case Inlet is long and wide and the proposed farm, even at 11 acres, is within an appropriate scale for such a water body, even considering other aquacultural activity in Case Inlet." (p. 28, Hearings Examiner Decision, October 2014)
Get involved. Pierce County is accepting comments now.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Reminder: DOE's Hearing on Pierce County's Shoreline Master Program Update Tonight, March 30

Get involved.

Open house and public hearing :

Attend Ecology’s open house and public hearing to learn more about Pierce County’s shoreline program and provide written comments. You may also provide verbal testimony during the public hearing.
Date: Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Time Open House starts at 5:00 p.m.
Public Hearing starts at 6:30 p.m.
Location Pacific Lutheran University
Chris Knutzen Hall
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington 98447

Monday, March 28, 2016

March 30, 5PM: Pierce County Shoreline Master Program Meeting

The Department of Ecology will hold a public hearing on Pierce County's Shoreline Master Program update. DOE has told Friends of Burley Lagoon testimony and comments will be accepted, and questions may be asked during the public hearing, but those questions will not be answered. Comments will be accepted through April 29 at 5PM. (See DOE's Pierce County SMP update page by clicking here.)

Open house and public hearing

Attend Ecology’s open house and public hearing to learn more about Pierce County’s shoreline program and provide written comments. You may also provide verbal testimony during the public hearing.
Date: Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Time Open House starts at 5:00 p.m.
Public Hearing starts at 6:30 p.m.
Location Pacific Lutheran University
Chris Knutzen Hall
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington 98447
Directions
Pacific Lutheran University is located seven miles south of downtown Tacoma Washington, at the intersection of Garfield Street S. and Park Avenue S.
From Interstate 5
• Take exit 127 off Interstate 5 and head east on Highway 512
• Continue on 512 for approximately two miles to Pacific Avenue S. (Parkland-Spanaway exit)
• Turn right (south) on Pacific Avenue S.
• Turn right on 121st
http://www.mapquest.com/directions/to/us/washington/colleges-universities-tacoma/pacific-lutheran-university-355816322

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Mason County and Pierce County Shoreline Master Program Comment Periods

Two county Shoreline Master Program updates, in different stages, have agencies involved asking for public comments. Mason County is asking for comments on the SEPA determination, and the Department of Ecology is asking for comments in Pierce County's update they are reviewing.

Mason County: Comments accepted through March 31
email: rebeccah@co.mason.wa.us or
Mason County Community Services Department ATTN: Rebecca Hersha
615 W Alder St.
Shelton, WA 98584

The Planning Commission has completed their draft which will be submitted to the Commissioners in the near future. The county is asking for comments through March 31 has issued a SEPA Determination on "Non-Significance" (DNS) for the update which includes the SEPA environmental checklist. Supporting documents, including the final draft (with changes noted) and cumulative impacts analysis, are found on the county's SMP update page. After comments have been received and changes made the SMP update will move to the Commissioners for further comments and possible changes, then to the Department of Ecology for their review. Examples of comments may be found in the "comment matrix", with those focused on aquaculture beginning on page 55.

Pierce County: Department of Ecology Review
Comments accepted March 15, 2016 to April 29, 2016
email: Kim.VanZwalenburg@ecy.wa.gov (reference Pierce County SMP update)
or,
Washington Department of Ecology
Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program
Southwest Regional Office
PO Box 47775
Olympia, Washington 98504-7775
Attn: Kim Van Zwalenburg
or,
Public meeting at 5:00 p.m. on March 30, 2016 at Pacific Lutheran University
Chris Knutzen Hall
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington 98447
Pierce County's SMP update has moved past the commissioners and is now in the Department of Ecology's hands. DOE's responsibility is to ensure the update submitted meets with the intended goals of the Shoreline Management Act, administered by DOE. All related documents are available on DOE's Pierce County SMP update site. Included is the proposed update which includes the proposed regulations and appendices, including requirement for aquaculture permitting (Appendix C on page 92) and how tideland boundaries are determined (Appendix I, page 108).