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:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"the ideal Christmas present for your favorite regulator"

Created in part through a $160,000 grant from NOAA, "Shellfish Aquaculture and the Environment" is being promoted by the shellfish industry as "the ideal Christmas present for your favorite regulator."  In response, the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association has ordered 26, presumably to pass out as gifts to their favorite regulator.  If you aren't a "favorite regulator" they are available for $219.95.

The caveat to those regulators fortunate enough to receive one, or with a budget line large enough to order one, is it was created by and for the shellfish industry to promote their business.

Section 5, Science, of Executive Order 13563, relating to "Scientific Integrity" reads: "...each agency shall ensure the objectivity of any scientific and technological information and processes used to support the agency's regulatory actions."   Good words to include in your thank-you card.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Trespass Settlement Terms Disputed

The Squaxin Tribe has challenged 2010 trespass settlement terms.

Should the bigger question be:  Were the 17 treaty Indian tribes aware in 2007 tidelands managed by the State may have Tribal Treaty rights impacted?

In 2010, settlement terms for trespassing may have done so. 

In 2009 Taylor Shellfish, Seattle Shellfish, and Arcadia Point Seafood were all found to be trespassing on State tidelands.  These tidelands were adjacent to private tidelands which had been leased and cultivated, in one case since 1998.  Over this period one, perhaps two harvests occurred with the recent plantings being perhaps a third "crop."  In the 1998 case, settlement terms allowed harvest of the 1/2 acre of planted State lands for a payment of $75,000.

[Our comment:  1/2 acre of geoduck, after expenses, nets up to $500,000 for the grower.  Was a settlement of $75,000 for geoduck worth $500,000 in the best interest of the State and the Tribes?  Were Tribal members notified cultivation and harvesting would occur on State tidelands when letters from the growers were mailed or did those letters only identify the privately held tideland parcels?  Should the growers be allowed to retain ownership of the geoduck planted on State tidelands?]

The Squaxin Tribe does not agree with the settlement terms for reasons outlined in a Magistrate's decision here: 

If the Magistrate's decision stands, should the 2007 settlement also be challenged?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Being Frank: Corps' permit program threatens salmon habitat

Billy Frank writes about the Nationwide Permit program:  
"...There's also little consideration of how multiple projects in a certain area might result in greater habitat damage."
"The Clean Water Act says that the Corps can't authorize the permits if they cause more than minor harm to the marine ecosystem alone, or combined."
"The Corps' nationwide streamlined permit process might make sense in other parts of the country, but not here. This isn't the Mississippi River or Florida. They don't have salmon. We do, and they're in trouble."
"We're not asking the Corps to stop issuing permits for shoreline work nationwide, but rather for the Seattle District Office to switch to an individual permit system that acknowledges the need to protect and restore salmon habitat in Western Washington."

Our comment:  We agree.  We would also add it is time for agencies and the public to turn around and look at what is happening to the intertidal tideland ecosystem through this program and others.  Aquaculture is transforming the most critical habitat area used by salmon into a sea of plastic growout bags, PVC tube structures on the tidelands, and fields of mussel rafts on the water. 

Taylor Shellfish tideland farm in North Bay, Case Inlet.
Plastic grow-out bags

PVC Tubing

Invasive tunicates growing on mussel rafts in Gallagher Cove

Claims of creating "structure" and "biodiversity" are countered with the fact this artificial ecosystem and anything dependent on it is destroyed every time harvesting occurs, as was the original ecosystem in place.  Recovery?  It will never recover as long as "farming" cycles occur.  Biodiversity?  Introduction of non-native species and creating "structure" where invasive species take hold (see tunicates on non-native mussels above) is not healthy for Puget Sound.

Taylor Shellfish Foss Farm - geoduck harvesters 'in the hole.'
("harvesting" geoduck through injection and liquefication of sediments)
(note sediment plume behind "farmers")

To allow cumulative adverse impacts to occur through the Nationwide Permit program, whether through tideland development or through upland development, together or alone, puts habitat the salmon of Puget Sound rely on at great risk.  We believe the Clean Water Act is clear.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Superior Court Transcript Denying Taylor/Arcadia Petition

A transcript detailing why the Thurston County Superior Court denied the petition from Taylor Shellfish and Arcadia Point Seafood is found here:  http://www.caseinlet.org/uploads/taylor_10-21-11.pdf

In clear logic it affirms Thurston County's decision to require a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit for the proposed Thiesen/McClure/Lockhart geoduck farms based on the fact that the PVC tubes and netting are a structure, therefor a development. 

The task of ensuring Puget Sound's most critical habitat - the intertidal tideland area - will be regulated as the Shoreline Management Act intended has taken a great step forward.