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:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Shellfish Initiative: Money Spent on Jobs for Who?

Streamlining permitting and the multiple millions of dollars being spent through NOAA and the Governor's "Shellfish Initiative" were promoted in December as a way to get the unemployed in rural counties back to work with "family wage jobs." 

In February the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, based in Olympia, was in Washington DC telling Congress:

"The current domestic workforce is not able to provide sufficient qualified workers for the shellfish industry." 

They went on to say, "Among Washington shellfish growers, I-9 audits confirmed that employers were complying with the law, however many of these employers were directed to terminate large numbers of workers who proved to be not work authorized."  (i.e., the foreign workers did not have the proper documentation)

Spending millions of dollars to create jobs which only migrant workers are interested in is something taxpayers should question.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Charles Moore and The Plastic Ocean

REMINDER:  Charles Moore will discuss the growing problem
of plastics in the marine environment February 29 with a
reception beginning at 6:30PM, the presentation at 7PM.

Captain Charles Moore
Scientist and Activist
Discusses "The Great Infection of the Sea"
detailed in his acclaimed new book
Plastic Ocean
Location:Olympia Center
222 Columbia St NW
Olympia, Wa
Contact:Susan Macomson

Donations Welcome

A prominent seafaring environmentalist and researcher shares his shocking discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean, and inspires a fundamental rethinking of the Plastic Age and a growing global health crisis.
In the summer of 1997, Charles Moore set sail from Honolulu with the sole intention of returning home after competing in a trans-Pacific race. To get to California, he and his crew took a shortcut through the seldom-traversed North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a vast "oceanic desert" where winds are slack and sailing ships languish. There, Moore realized his catamaran was surrounded by a "plastic soup." He had stumbled upon the largest garbage dump on the planet - a spiral nebula where plastic outweighed zooplankton, the ocean's food base, by a factor of six to one.
In this presentation Moore will discuss these observations, what they mean to our planet, and his book Plastic Ocean. A call to action as urgent as Rachel Carson's seminal Silent Spring, Moore's sobering revelations will be embraced by activists, concerned parents, and seafaring enthusiasts concerned about the deadly impact and implications of this man-made blight.

This event is sponsored by the South Sound Sierra Club Group with additional sponsorship from Environment Washington, the Thurston County Progressive Network, Move to Amend, the Black Hills Audubon Society, the Thurston County League of Women Voters, the Olympic Peninsula Surfrider Chapter and APHETI.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Scientific Integrity and Peer Reviewed Geoduck Studies

"The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions"

This all important line was contained in a November of 2011 Presidential Memorandum sent to Executive Departments and Agencies which was entitled "Scientific Integrity" (click here for copy). In part, it states: "When scientific or technological information is considered in policy decisions, the information should be subject to well-established scientific processes, including peer review where appropriate" From this, Executive Order 13563 was issued, emphasising the importance of the public being able to rely on the integrity of scientific studies agencies rely on (Section 5), and the public's involvement in agency decision making (Section 2).

In part this belief in the importance of studies being peer-reviewed before presentations and agency decision making is made based on them was reflected in the funding of the University of Washington's Sea Grant to perform these studies, codified in RCW 28B.20.475, Section 3 which says:
All research commissioned under this section must be subjected to a rigorous peer review process prior to being accepted and reported by the sea grant program.

March 6 at Alderbrook, Sea Grant and the Department of Ecology are sponsoring a "Geoduck Research Symposium." (click for flier) A question to be asked by anyone attending and any agency considering the information for policy decision making is what has been peer reviewed. Something for the University of Washington and Sea Grant to ensure is the status of these studies be made clear, before each study is reported on.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Japanese Eelgrass Eradication with Imazamox in Puget Sound

The Department of Ecology is proposing to allow the application of the herbicide Imazamox to Japanese eelgrass on commercial shellfish beds in Puget Sound and Willapa Bay.  Comments are due by March 9, 2012 at 5 pm.  They should be directed to:
 Kathy Hamel
Washington State Department of Ecology
P.O. Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Telephone: (360) 407-6562
Email: Kathy.Hamel@ecy.wa.gov

Background  Until January of 2011 Japanese eelgrass was considered to be a Priority Habitat Species (PHS).  Growing higher in tidal elevation, it provides increased habitat for forage fish and is an important food source for migratory water fowl.  The shellfish industry requested Representative Brian Blake ask WDFW Director Anderson to remove Japanese eelgrass from the PHS list which he did in February of 2011. 

In November, 2011 the noxious board met in Yakima, WA. Numerous objections to classifying what had been a PHS were sent.  The Noxious Weed Control Board even noted "this species also appears to share similar structure and function to the important and protected native eelgrass, Zostera marina, although it occurs higher in the intertidal zone than the native species. It also appears to be a major food source for migrating shorebirds."  Despite this, the shellfish industry again prevailed.
Current Situation  With Japanese eelgrass now classified as a Class C Noxious Weed, the shellfish industry's desire to eradicate what had once been considered a Priority Habitat is one step closer.  But first, Ecology must approve a permit for the application of the herbicide Imazamox.  Comments will be accepted until March 9, 5PM.

Comment  Imazamox applied to eelgrass in Puget Sound's waters will not stay where it is applied but will drift with the currents, destroying whatever aquatic vegetation it comes in contact with. At what point is the shellfish industry going to be satisfied with what it has?  At what point will people notice Puget Sound's ability to support the diversity of species it once did is threatened?  We feel that point was passed years ago.

A pre-hearing to discuss why Japanese eelgrass
is now considered a noxious weed
will be held on February 24 at 10AM
(Note:  This is informational only and intended
to provide "stakeholders" the opportunity to meet.
It will not change the Class C categorization.)

Announcing the Proposal of a Japanese Eelgrass Management
on Commercial Shellfish Beds General Permit
The Department of Ecology (Ecology) is proposing to issue a general permit for the application of the aquatic herbicide imazamox to manage Japanese eelgrass on commercial shellfish beds.

These management activities may result in the discharge of chemicals to the surface waters of the state of Washington. We are requesting comments about whether or not it is appropriate for Ecology to develop a permit for this activity. This comment period ends March 9, 2012 at 5 pm. Please direct comments to:
Kathy Hamel
Washington State Department of Ecology
P.O. Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Telephone: (360) 407-6562
Email: Kathy.Hamel@ecy.wa.gov

Friday, February 17, 2012

For the Hearing Examiner to Consider

The decision on Taylor Shellfish's proposed mussel farm will determine how The Shoreline Management Act's guiding principals are applied in the future.  To date these principals have prevented the shorelines and waters of Puget Sound from becoming the West Coast equivalent of Chesapeake Bay - overdeveloped shorelines and waters unable to support anything.  Profits for the few should not become the guiding principal for how the Shoreline Management Act is applied.

Sunrise or Sunset of the Shoreline Management Act?

(1) Recognize and protect the statewide interest over local interest;
Should the profits of Taylor Shellfish gained through placement of 58 rafts growing non-native mussels in Puget Sound be considered a proposal which protects the statewide interest found in Puget Sound?
(2) Preserve the natural character of the shoreline;
Do 58 rafts, each 30'X34', growing mussels on structures extending 16' below them, with attendant machinery and noise, preserve the natural character of the shoreline?
(3) Result in long term over short term benefit;
Is spreading non-native mussels throughout Totten Inlet and into Puget Sound so Taylor Shellfish's short term need to "meet demand" in the long term interest of protecting Puget Sound? (Long term consequences?  Bill Dewey described to the Senate Environment Committee having to remove predator nets over PVC geoduck tubes in order to clean off mussels which were "suffocating the geoduck.")
(4) Protect the resources and ecology of the shoreline;
Do 58 rafts and their underwater structures protect anything?  The only obvious "protection" are the nets hanging in the water to keep the native wildlife out of the mussel farm.
(5) Increase public access to publicly owned areas of the shorelines;
Does placement of 58 rafts in front of one of the few remaining publicly owned state tidelands increase access?  Not when workers are telling boaters to "keep away from the rafts" and to "slow down."
(6) Increase recreational opportunities for the public in the shoreline;
Does placement of 58 30'X34' rafts improve recreational opportunities for boaters in Totten Inlet? (see above)
(7) Provide for any other element as defined in RCW 90.58.100 deemed appropriate or necessary.
All of the information available must be considered - even if supplied by citizens concerned about the future of Puget Sound.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Taylor Mussel Farm Hearing Carried over to Friday

The hearing for the 58 raft mussel farm proposed by Taylor Shellfish in Totten Inlet has been carried over to Friday, February 17.  It will reconvene at 9AM in the Thurston County Courthouse, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, Building One, Room 152. Comments may still be submitted to Cami Peterson at:  peterscs@co.thurston.wa.us
NOTE:  They must be in by Thursday afternoon at 4PM or hand delivered.

Citizens are overwhelmingly opposed to this project.
http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/permitting/devactivity/totten/totten-hearing.html (Exhibit 15, 3 separate files).

If submitting comments they should address whether the project fits within the Shoreline Management Act which states:
The legislature declares that the interest of all of the people shall be paramount in the management of shorelines of statewide significance. The department, in adopting guidelines for shorelines of statewide significance, and local government [Thurston County], in developing master programs for shorelines of statewide significance, 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.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Political Lobbying in DC with the Shellfish Industry

Listed below are people in the shellfish industry from the West coast who will be leaving for Washington DC to lobby congressman and agencies.  Included are attorneys Billy Plauche and Amanda Stock who are the attorneys-of-choice when the industry initiates- or threatens to initiate - legal action.  The political process is in full swing and the industry is spending a significant amount of money to ensure they get what they want, including a major expansion of geoduck farming in the tidelands, and mussel rafts in the waters of Puget Sound.  

Write or call your congressmen and senators and tell them there is more to Puget Sound than what the shellfish industry will be telling them it wants.

Margaret Barrette, ED, Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association
Connie Smith, PCSGA
Billy Plauche, Plauche & Stock, WA
Amanda Stock, Plauche & Stock, WA
Bill Dewey, Taylor Shellfish Farms, WA
Bill Taylor, Taylor Shellfish Farms, WA
John & Linda Lentz, Chelsea Farms, WA
Cairn Steele, Rock Point Oyster, WA
Dave Steele, Rock Point Oyster Co., WA
Ian Jefferds, Penn Cove Mussel Co, WA
others include:
Mark Wiegardt, Whiskey Creek Hatchery, OR (major oyster seed supplier to the industry)
Kevin & Nancy Lunny, Drakes Bay Oyster Co, CA (fighting to keep a commercial oyster in a national park - http://www.savepointreyeswilderness.org/ and  http://savedrakesbay.org/ - despite having purchesed it knowing their lease expired in 2012)
Greg Dale, Coast Seafoods, CA (owned by Pacific Seafood, one of the largest seafood companies in the US)
John Finger, Hog Island Oyster Co, CA