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:

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Burley Lagoon Residents Complain of Putrid Smell, Clams Die Off: A "Preferred Use" of the tidelands?

"Particularly pungent smells 
may come from the beach when a common type of seaweed 
known as sea lettuce decays 
in an environment with low dissolved oxygen."
(Department of Ecology, "Focus on Saltwater Beach Odors")

Promoting and enhancing the public interest or industrial scale aquaculture?
After weeks of residents along the shoreline of Burley Lagoon complaining about a putrid smell so strong it has prevented many from enjoying the air outside of their homes, it appears there has been a clam die off to go along with it. To hear Taylor Shellfish discuss their "rights" under the Shoreline Management Act, the state and counties are to do nothing but promote and enhance aquaculture, prioritizing it over all other water dependent uses, believing it is in the statewide interest to do so. Even if it means what Burley Lagoon is experiencing.

Dead Clams in Burley Lagoon
Clean net placed too late?

The smell of politics.
Pierce County responded sources of the smell could be "Ulva" (aka Sea Lettuce, a native vegetative seaweed) so thick it smells of rotten eggs as it decays. Another source mentioned could be leaking septic fields. Not mentioned is that it could also be the carrying capacity of Burley Lagoon has been exceeded by Taylor Shellfish's intensive and industrial level of planting of clams and oysters, resulting in shellfish rotting as they die off, unable to survive due to the density of planting. Or it could be a combination of these or other things. Whatever it is, the stench is overwhelming and impacts enjoyment and use of the shoreline, whether a resident or a member of the public trying to enjoy the aquatic environment in Pierce County.

Maybe the nets just need 
a "good industrial scraping".
(Samish Bay, WA)

Do structures in the tidelands need bigger machines on the tidelands?
Long time residents of Burley Lagoon have stated they do not recall a stench so intense in all of their years living there, some for decades. What they also do not recall are the number of "predator nets"  which Taylor Shellfish uses to keep native species from feeding off of the sediments, or the expansive area covered. Nor do they recall the intensity of planting which is occurring, whether it be clams or nonnative Pacific oysters. As seen in the Samish Bay photo above, in order to deal with the heavy growth on their predator nets, Taylor partnered with New Holland and implemented the use of a tractor and a "street sweeper" to clear the nets there of Sea Lettuce so thick it prevents clams below from surviving. Algae which apparently exists in higher densities due to this artificial structure which has been placed over the tidelands of Burley Lagoon and on oysters planted in high densities.

It's not rocket science. It's "Ecosystem Services".

Oysters poop, seaweed grows, clams die. Ecosystem services at work.
As noted in an August 2017 "Ecosystem Services" winning picture, one source of the problem is directly related to oyster feces, their pseudo feces, associated ammonia, and shell surface area provided by high density planting of oysters. Oysters poop and provide "fertilizer". On the surface of those shells macro algae attaches and thrives on the "nutrients" expelled by the nonnative Pacific oysters. That growth is so intense oyster growth slows and clams rise to the surface. Summertime low tides and summertime heat promote decay and death. Smells emanate. Because of aquaculture. It's not rocket science. Calling it "ecosystem services" deflects attention from dealing with the problem created.

This is not "enhancing" the public interest
and is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act
was designed to prevent from happening
to Puget Sound tidelands.
(Read RCW 98.58.020 to see
intended preferences of the SMA)

"promote and enhance the public interest" - not industrial aquaculture
The Shoreline Management Act was created in response to industrial levels of activities impacting the shorelines of Puget Sound. It was not created to promote the industrial level of activities the shellfish industry has since evolved into. Activities and impacts which lower the statewide ability to enjoy the shorelines of Washington State. The Pierce County Council, in reluctantly passing their updated Shoreline Master Program, listened to Taylor Shellfish complain, even after additional changes were made to accommodate their industry, that more needs to be done in order for their industry to profit from tidelands and public waters. 
(Read August 28 letter from attorneys for Taylor Shellfish and the Foss family's North Bay Partners here: https://app.box.com/s/na0wpgwm4mjp7b41toj1iaf533iecij2)

Yes - Washington needs to change its laws.

"Maddening": Banning plastic straws and promoting PVC tubes in Puget Sound.
Most of what is noted in the Taylor/North Bay letter was addressed by Pierce County, yet still, Diane Cooper rose to state before the public and the council, not enough had been done for them. In response, most council members agreed, the state needs to change the law if, in fact, that is what Taylor Shellfish and others are relying on to promote their industry over other water dependent uses. [Read what the legislators who passed the SMA intended, here:
 https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=90.58.020, where it states counties, in developing their Shoreline Master Programs:
"shall give preference to uses in the following order of preference which:
(1) Recognize and protect the statewide interest over local interest;
(2) Preserve the natural character of the shoreline;
(3) Result in long term over short term benefit;
(4) Protect the resources and ecology of the shoreline;
(5) Increase public access to publicly owned areas of the shorelines;
(6) Increase recreational opportunities for the public in the shoreline;
(7) Provide for any other element as defined in RCW 90.58.100 deemed appropriate or necessary."]
Get involved.
Use of structures and methods which create an environment from which odors emanate that are so strong as to prevent the public's enjoyment of the tidelands and shorelines is only one example showing how this industry is out of control. Pierce County agrees that laws promoting this need to change and will become active in the state to change this lopsided interpretation of a law intended benefit all in the state, not just a few corporations.

No comments:

Post a Comment