Get involved. If you don't the shellfish industry's "alternative facts" generated by their paid contract scientists will continue to guide agency decision making on the expansion, and impacts from, aquaculture in Washington's marine waters. Tell the Department of Ecology to stop allowing herbicides and pesticides to be applied in Willapa Bay.
Comment form: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/pesticides/eelgrass.html
or, Mail to: Nathan Lubliner, DOE
PO Box 47696
Olympia, WA 98504-7696
We don't like your study's conclusion, so we'll find our own. They appreciate our money.
"If a reduction in shoots translates to death of the affected plants [native eelgrass], it may be premature to conclude little if any impact on native eelgrass outside of the 10m buffer." Impacts of Imazamox on Native Eelgrass, Grue and Conquest, with the University of Washington (Conclusion, p. 12)
Comments already submitted by the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat have stated the initial study performed by University of Washington scientists Christian Grue and Loveday Conquest on application of Imazamox to beds owned by Taylor Shellfish showed native eel grass outside of the buffers was being negatively impacted by Imazamox . They suggested in the conclusion of their study to monitor the same site in the future and would do so as part of their contract (Contract Number 14-1358). However, in the Coalition's comments, it is stated Taylor Shellfish prevented the University of Washington scientists from returning to their tidelands for follow-up studies. (Grue and Conquest "were barred from re-entry into the test site in 2015 by the grower,Taylor Shellfish, to do their follow up results." Coalition comments, page 3.)
You'll like her conclusions much better.
Instead of allowing Grue and Conquest back, the Coalition's comments state that Confluence Environmental was chosen as the firm who Taylor would allow back for follow-up studies. Confluence is considered the "go to" biological firm for hire used by the shellfish industry when they need support at hearings for permits or legislative support. They are paid well to support what the industry wants. The independent scientists from the University of Washington were apparently told they had fulfilled the terms of the contract and that despite their offer to follow-up for no charge, Confluence would be paid to do that.
[Note: Not mentioned was that it was Confluence who provided what was considered inappropriate data, by someone considered not to be knowledgeable on eel grass, at the Detienne geoduck operation permit hearing. The Court of Appeals Washington State decision agreed that permit should be denied, despite what Confluence tried to get people to believe. Attempts by shellfish attorneys to block that decision from being published were denied.]
Should conflicts of interest matter? Disclosure of conflicts should be out front if your study - or opinion - is used to support something you may profit from.
In addition to Confluence, DOE has provided another follow-up study provided by Kim Patten with Washington State University. Mr. Patten has, over the years, provided numerous opinions, some called studies, which support whatever it is the shellfish industry wishes to have supported, including the ongoing application of herbicides and pesticides in Willapa Bay. According to the Coalition's comments, Mr. Patten has neglected to mention his ownership of tidelands in Willapa Bay, stating further, he also has a clam farm on those tidelands. [Note: It could not be confirmed there was an active clam farm operation on Mr. Patten's tidelands.]
Contrary to what DOE says, agencies did not agree the study showed no harm from Imazamox, let alone that it was adequately designed.
Further discussed in the Coalition's comments was that initially, DOE claimed that agencies had supported the buffer, stating so both in the December 7, 2016 announcement, as well as at the first public meeting held January 24, 2017. When challenged, that comment was withdrawn. In fact, the Department of Natural Resources wrote in June of 2016 that WDNR "...remains concerned about impacts to native vegetation when lmazamox is sprayed to manage Z. japonica."