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, August 1, 2016

Reminder: Comments on Nationwide Permits on Aquaculture Due August 1

[Update: The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat and Friends of Burley Lagoon have submitted comments which may be viewed here:

Lobbying Pays

Reminder: Comments on proposed Nationwide Permits for 2017 are due today. Changes to Nationwide Permit 48 which permits aquaculture activities (or not) are briefly discussed below. It is apparent the lobbyists have been active.
email: NWP2017@usace.army.mil
Include " COE–2015–0017" in the subject line.
Complete agency notice and reasoning is here:
[Note 1: Nationwide Permit 48 regulating aquaculture and proposed changes and reasoning is found on page 35202. A summary follows the end of this post.]
[Note 2: The Seattle District will add additional conditions in the near future, providing an additional opportunity to provide comments.]
"Hey now, just because this baby hasn't been 
driven in 20 years and it's over 30 years old
doesn't mean it's not as good as new. Right?"

The new new (or, what lobbying can buy you)
Proposed: "We are proposing to define a 'new commercial shellfish aquaculture operation’ as an operation in a project area where commercial shellfish aquaculture activities have not been conducted during the past 100 years."
Should an area in which some undefined form of "commercial aquaculture " occurred over the past 100 years be automatically approved? The shellfish industry has been lobbying intensely in Washington DC to lessen Army Corps oversight and to "..to further streamline the authorization process." Included is anything giving an operator a "...legally-binding agreement which establishes an enforceable property interest for an operator." [What does that mean? Does a 1901 tideland deed from the state of Washington create an enforceable property interest which can be passed on to an operator by a new owner?]
As noted, one of the results is to change the definition of what a "new commercial operation" is, pushing the "bar of activity" back 100 years. Is it realistic to say that because great-grandpa threw some shells on tidelands in 1930, but then stopped in 1950 when he died, that a geoduck farm proposed today by a new owner who holds a deed to the tidelands is not a "new commercial operation"?
As an added bonus, is this: " The presence of submerged aquatic vegetation should not prevent the use of NWP 48 to authorize commercial shellfish aquaculture..." Eelgrass? Not so important now. IF there is any questions on impact, PCN's "...should be EXPEDITIOUSLY reviewed by the district engineer." (Put another way, "Hurry up and approve it because I want to start dredging in eelgrass for oysters.")
As noted, the Washington shellfish industry has been busy lobbying in Washington DC and the results are apparent. Below is a brief summary of proposed changes. Details are at the link above.
Get involved. The shellfish industry is.
Summary of proposed changes to Nationwide Permit 48 (aquaculture):
Project areas include lands where
other legally binding agreements
establish enforceable property
interests. Define “new commercial
shellfish aquaculture operation”
as operating in an area where
such activities have not occurred
during the past 100 years.
Remove the PCN threshold for
dredge harvesting, tilling, or
harrowing in areas inhabited by
submerged aquatic vegetation.
Does not authorize activities that
directly affect more than 1/2-acre
of submerged aquatic vegetation
beds in an area that has not been
used for commercial shellfish
aquaculture during the past 100
years. PCN must include all
species that are planned to be
cultivated during the period the
NWP is in effect. PCN must
specify whether suspended
cultivation techniques will be used
and indicate the general water
depths in the project area.

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