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, July 30, 2013

August 10: Hear Charles Moore, Author of "Plastic Ocean" Speak in Olympia Washington

August 10, 7PM
Traditions Café
3500 5th Avenue SW
Olympia, WA 98501
($10 donation encouraged)

(click to enlarge)

Listen to Charles Moore, founder of Algalita Marine Research Foundation discuss his book, Plastic Ocean, August 10 in Olympia, Washington. As he notes in a 2009 TED presentation, plastics in our marine waters are not just a local problem. It exists throughout our marine waters. Drakes Estero in California, Puget Sound in Washington, and the international waters of the Pacific Ocean are all impacted. Species impacted run from the base level of phytoplankton to the top of the food chain - humans.

Sources are many and control is difficult, requiring a change in consumption patterns difficult to implement. But if not addressed we will only leave a legacy of a larger "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" for those who follow us. Hear the dynamic and entertaining Charles Moore in Olympia, August 10.

KSCO Radio on the Drakes Bay Oyster Company Issue: "Sneaky weasels?"

Are  you talking about me?
Long tailed weasel, native to
Point Reyes National Park

 Or are you talking about me?
Short tailed weasel, native to
Point Reyes National Park

We can all find some words of wisdom in an article from Forbes on integrity.

"When you lie down with dogs you get fleas." (from the Forbes article)
On July 20, KSCO radio hosted a debate between Kevin Lunny, owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Company, and Bruce Cansler, a private citizen, on DBOC's continued operation in Drakes Estero. The interview opens with a long discussion by the host, Michael "MZ", on his use of the words "sneaky weasels" which he uses to describe those opposed to the continued operation of DBOC and who have chosen not to appear on his show, but who have appeared on others. 
[Note: Mr. Cansler and "MZ" first met when "MZ" was yelling out from the crowd "slimy weasel" during an interview of Amy Trainer, executive director of West Marine Environmental Action Committee, with KGO-TV after a recent court hearing. Mr. Cansler interrupted "MZ" and suggested it may not be appropriate, which in turn led to the radio show.]
A missed opportunity.
Mr. Cansler expresses concerns about the use of the terms "sneaky weasel" and "slimy weasel" both at the introduction of the show and again further into the show, leading to "MZ's" reasons for use of the terms. When given the opportunity to distance himself from the continued "name calling" Mr. Lunny instead describes the opening as being "accurate." Later in the program, after over 2 minutes of "MZ" explaining why he uses the terms, Mr. Lunny again says nothing about it and instead claims Mr. Cansler is "coming across as an expert," something which Mr. Cansler reminds Mr. Lunny he never said.

Where was Robin Carpenter?
Preceding the KSCO interview, talk show host Robin Carpenter, and Common Sense Alliance board members Ed Kilduff and Francine Shaw, on July 5 (two weeks prior to the KSCO interview) spent the better part of a 1/2 hour professing to be concerned about the "name calling" and - again - brought up the dead issue of the "Koch brothers" This was followed on July 15 by Ms. Carpenter interviewing attorney Peter Prows ("a lot of name calling"), Phyllis Faber and Sam Dolcini where again Ms. Carpenter felt name calling  was still an issue, and continued to fan the "Koch brothers." All of them might want to consider discussing with Mr. Lunny what shows he chooses to be interviewed on and how to elevate the conversations he is involved in. The weasels would appreciate it.



Saturday, July 27, 2013

Drakes Estero: A National Seashore Wilderness On the Verge of Completion

In 1999 the first steps of a long journey towards the completion of the only national seashore wilderness area on the West Coast outside of Alaska were taken. At that point in time the Muddy Hollow area, Abbots Lagoon and the Limatour Area of Point Reyes were moved to "wilderness" from "potential wilderness."

This left only 6,251 acres remaining before completion of the Point Reyes National Seashore wilderness, slated for November of 2012. At that time the then Johnson Oyster Company's use authorization would end, with the only remaining commercial operation in the seashore wilderness area ceasing. That step would complete the creation of the most dramatic wilderness seashore in the United States for all of its citizens to enjoy, a journey begun in 1962.

In November of 2012 the Special Use Permit and Reservation of Use and Occupancy were not renewed. With federal authorization ending so too did the lease from California for use of the  tidelands of Drakes Estero whose contract stated it was "contingent on a concurrent federal Reservation of Use and Occupancy for fee land in Point Reyes National Seashore."
Some attorneys may see the word "contingent" to mean "contingency fee" but contract law is a separate topic. While lawyers wait for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to decide on the fate of Drakes Bay Oyster Company, the lease from California may still be in force with rent due.
While California did reserve the right to fish, the Department of Fish and Game has also noted "it does not extend to aquaculture operations...fishing involves the take of public trust resources and is therefore distinct from aquaculture, which is an agricultural activity involving the cultivation and harvest of private property." In other words, the shellfish are private property which falls outside of the public trust.

President Kennedy had dreams, some of which resulted in the most monumental achievements this country has seen. Included was the initial step taken in the creation of the Point Reyes National Seashore in 1962. That step has lead down a path whose end is the creation of a national seashore wilderness which will be preserved for the future generations of all, not just a few.

President Kennedy's press
release from 1962.

Restoration of Drakes Estero will bring native Olympia oysters. Efforts to restore this native species are taking place throughout the west coast, including nearby San Francisco Bay. The addition of Drakes Estero to those efforts is the next logical step.

Imagine a child decades from now looking out over Drakes Estero and seeing the great reefs of native Olympia oysters which existed when Native Americans were the only ones visiting Drakes Estero. Imagine the gratitude the parents of that child will feel for those who took those final steps on the journey begun in 1962 when President Kennedy noted "...the necessity for prompt action to preserve our nation's great natural beauty areas to insure their existence and enjoyment by the public in the decades and centuries to come."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Comment on "Is West Marin Like the San Juans" By Peggy Day, Executive Producer of ‘Seriously Now’

Update, May 22, 2014: Island County Commissioner Kelly Emerson, 7 months before the end of her term, gave one week's notice and resigned from her position. She recently announced she would be running for the position of Auditor in Kitsap County.
Update, August 24: Bring in the children. Freedom Foundation's Scott Roberts' video using children to promote his philosophy of "business over regulations" shows what Marin County should expect as Robin Carpenter draws in Ed Kilduff to the county's politics. It is pitiful and one the children will ask their parents one day why they did not stop their exploitation to promote something they know nothing about, except to "sing this." The exploitation of their talents - and they are talented - are seen in the video uploaded by Freedom Foundation's Scott Roberts titled "Spies like us."

Update, August 4: Ed Kildfuff has apparently cloned his "Trojan Heron" blog and created a "Trojan Herring" blog specifically focused on Marin County and Drakes Bay Oyster Company. Using the same "elevated" discourse he professed a need for in his interview with Robin Carpenter he has now enlisted the help of cookbook author and "corporate story teller" Sarah Rolph to begin a new vein in Marin County politics. For a sense of what to expect from Mr. Kilduff and his associates, research Lee Atwater or read this short piece from the Daily Beast about Mr. Atwater. A sense of Mr. Kilduff's beliefs may also be gained in his interview with Ms. Carpenter when he discusses Charles Dalton, an organic farmer, as being "mixed race" and that he was unsure of his "sexual orientation." Really? Marin County is in for an experience.
"I read it in the SF Sentinel so it must be true."
Consider that its owner is Sam Singer
associate MediaWorksSF owner Phil Siegel.
Where is Dave Mitchell?

Robin Carpenter 
 Certified hypno therapist

In the July 18 to the July 24 edition of The West Marin Citizen is an article by Peggy Day, Executive Producer of  'Seriously Now' about what is best described as an "infomercial." In it Robin Carpenter interviews Ed Kilduff and Francine Shaw of Friday Harbor, WA, located in the San Juan Islands. The article states:
Major chasms have developed in San Juan communities, pitting friend against friend and environmentalist against environmentalist. Kilduff and Shaw describe tactics by a local non-profit called Friends of the San Juans that involve both an unwillingness to come to a collaborative “table” and frequent targeting of long-time liberal citizens, who are now being labeled as right-wingers or “Koch Brothers”.The pair offers some advice and some practical suggestions for West Marin in its effort to return to open, honest communication and an atmosphere of respectful civility.
The article and video are focused on Ms. Amy Trainer, previous staff attorney for Friends of the San Juans (FSJ) and now executive director of the West Marin Environmental Action Committee (EAC). Mr. Kilduff and Ms. Shaw claim FSJ has pitted "neighbor against neighbor" and "environmentalist against environmentalist." It would have been wise for the reporters to have broadened the scope of their research into who Mr. Kilduff and Ms. Shaw are.

Undisclosed issues.
Mr. Kilduff and Ms. Shaw no doubt have issues with Friends of the San Juans. In fact, they have issues with a number of people and agencies involved in regulatory oversight, whether environmental or otherwise. Friends of the San Juans are the least of their problems.

Francine Shaw

Ms. Shaw was fired from her position as Deputy Director of Community Development and Planning. She felt it was "retaliation" for not issuing permits. Or maybe that she was being made a "scapegoat" for the Public Works Director losing a $500,000 grant. Or maybe it was both. She's not sure.

Ed Kilduff

Mr. Kilduff feels the Department of Ecology is not capable of overseeing wetland delineations and that a licensed hydrogeologist (which he is) is the only one capable of performing a wetland determination. Others disagree with his skill set. In the article a county planner "questioned his understanding of the science" of wetland delineation and also notes that the Department of Ecology stated, “Understanding geology (specifically hydrogeology) is one piece of the puzzle, but does not replace knowledge of wetland vegetation or wetland soils. In 2009, the state Geologist Licensing Board determined that wetland delineation is not the practice of geology.”

Board Member Positions Not Disclosed
Also not disclosed is that Ms. Shaw and Mr. Kilduff are Board Members of the conservative land use group Common Sense Alliance. That group has issues with why Friends of San Juan,  neighbors, and the county are concerned with people such as Charles Dalton (who Mr. Kilduff describes in the Marin video at 15:20 as a "mixed raced Richard Simmons") building a barn/shed without a permit within a wetland area, and why the Department of Ecology did not agree with Mr. Kilduff's perception of what a wetland is. A video created for Scott Roberts with the conservative Freedom Foundation includes interviews with Mr. Kilduff and how he feels a wetland should be defined which differs from the Army Corps, Department of Ecology and other state agencies.

Mr. Kilduff's Trojan Heron blog
In addition to the above Mr. Kilduff also runs a blog called "The Trojan Heron" where his ideas of how to "get along with people" are seen in his "Central Casting" page. It is hardly the ideal Ms. Carpenter is looking for nor what Mr. Kilduff espouses to.

Charles Dalton
"I made a mistake."

Mr. Dalton May be a Nice Person
What Ms. Shaw and Mr. Kilduff perceive as the "right way to do things" exists in the reality that while people like Mr. Dalton may make questionable decisions (i.e., building structures in wetlands without permits) in their quest to get closer to a food source, there are many others who want to know how to skirt or ignore regulations in place and develop their land as they see fit. It is why people like Ms. Shaw are in demand as "consultants". Experience working within the county systems of regulations gives an insight into where the limitations of county enforcement lie and how hard an issue may be pressed, sometimes with success and sometimes without. At the very least she is able to say the county budget cannot afford to find all violators and must rely on citizens' help, if the regulations are to mean anything.

In part it is why Friends of the San Juans are looked on with such displeasure by them. FSJ and others understand that if people such as Mr. Dalton are allowed to develop wetland areas without permits because they "just made a mistake from ignorance," that 10 others will develop theirs from a position of greed. People don't like being caught ignoring regulations and permit requirements which all are supposed to abide by, whether they are individuals, County Commissioners, or developers, and whether in Marin or San Juan Island Counties.

Commissioner Emerson

Update: The county and Emerson's have agreed to settle. The Emerson's will pay a $5,000 fine and are being required to have a DOE approved wetland determination made. While the county will not tell the Emerson's who to use the settlement does give the county the right to a third party review if the quality of work is in question as her first two submittals were. A continuance of their previously rejected building permit is also part of the settlement. It is unknown how Mr. Kilduff feels about his peer-review not being accepted. One resident questions what Ms. Emerson is being paid $78,000 as a commissioner for.

Ed Kilduff's "Peer Review" and Commissioner Emerson's Unpermitted Construction
One last example of Mr. Kilduff's views of permits and development, touched on above, is found in a wetland violation by Island County Commissioner Kelly Emerson and her husband.
(Note: July 12 Commissioner Emerson was removed from her position as chair due to her "lack of understanding" of commission procedures.)
In the Emerson case construction of a "sun room" was begun without permits in 2009. Despite being made aware of a wetland in 2008 under a separate permit process, they were found in violation of building within a wetland area and constructing the sun room without a permit. After a wetland report completed by the firm SNR was found to be deficient the Emerson's were given the option to have the report "peer reviewed". Ed Kilduff, a contractor for SNR, was the one asked to do the "peer review." As noted in a Whidbey New Times article, "He’s not exactly an independent peer." For a second time the Department of Ecology found Mr. Kilduff's understanding of a wetland was lacking
“The site-specific information required in the delineation manual to make a wetland determination is not provided in either the SNR report or in Mr. Kilduff’s letter to the Emersons,” the Department of Ecology review letter states. The letter gives several examples of omissions.
Mr. Kilduff's response was to state that the only professionals capable of determining where a wetland exists are hydrogeologists. However, as noted in the article, "In 2009, the state Geologist Licensing Board determined that wetland delineation is not the practice of geology."

Mr. Kilduff continues to disagree with the Board, going so far as to use "change.org" where he created a petition drive entitled "The Independent Campaign for Protection from Unlicensed Geological Practice." He notes his belief that the Department of Ecology's "wetland scientists regularly and openly practice hydrogeology and geomorphology without a license." Something he is entitled to believe, but something which should also be taken within the context of his being told his wetland determinations were faulty by both county and state agencies, and the licensing board which oversees his license has said wetland delineation is not the practice of geology.

Is Marin County the same as San Juan County?
In the sense that there are large economic forces at play who wish for commercial development with minimal regulatory oversight, yes, the counties are similar. Both Marin County and San Juan County have habitat areas which have remained protected through regulatory oversight which because of that oversight may be enjoyed by future generations. But both have big targets on them from developers and industries who see those undeveloped areas as being profit centers. Many of those are conservative individuals who see government as nothing but an impedance to their ability to make money. In the case of Marin County the Drakes Bay Oyster Company's operation in a wilderness area is seen as a means to expand other commercial operations into wilderness areas. Near to San Juan County the "Wild Olympics" campaign to create an additional 126,000 acres of wilderness is in process. Will commercial operations be allowed within those wilderness acres? Some hope so.

Corporate Environmentalism
Anonymous funding of non-profit conservative groups is a very real strategy being used, whether it be Cause of Action, the Freedom Foundation, or others. Those groups in turn fund many legal and public relation actions designed to weaken environmental regulations, in an attempt to create a new "corporate environmentalism", in both Marin and San Juan Counties.

Marin's Press and Press Releases
Marin County's press should consider stepping up a level and not simply accept press releases without vetting them. Just because it was printed in the San Francisco Sentinel doesn't mean it's true. Research into the ties between the Sentinel, MediaWorks and Singer Associates might be a good place to start. It was how Dave Mitchell and the Point Reyes Light won a Pulitzer Prize in 1979.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Vibrio parahaemilyticus Levels Continue to Climb, Quilcene Bay Growing Area Closed, Port Gamble Vibriosis Cases Reported

Warm weather continues to cause an increase in Vibrio parahaemilyticus levels in Puget Sound shellfish. Most recently Quilcene Bay Growing area has been closed to commercial oyster harvesting. Port Gamble has had 2 reported cases of vibriosis traced to oysters harvested there, resulting in a reduction of "harvest to temperature control".

In addition to increases in Vp levels, increasing levels of biotoxins have impacted Buck Bay Growing Area on Orcas Island and Mystery Bay Growing Area. Buck Bay has had Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) levels exceed regulatory levels in Blue Mussels, Pacific oysters and Manila clams. Mystery Bay has had PSP toxin levels exceed regulatory levels in Manila clams. Other areas impacted by biotoxins include various subtidal geoduck tracts throughout Puget Sound.

For recreational closures see the DOH website.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Native Olympia Oysters Make Comeback On the West Coast

July 20th, The Oregonian

Native Olympia oysters

A July 20th article by Oregonian reporter Katy Muldoon discusses successful restoration efforts of the native Olympia oyster on the west coast. After having been over-harvested by commercial operators to a point of being "functionally extinct" recent efforts at rebuilding the only native oyster populations on the west coast are seeing positive results.

Unlike the non-native Pacific oyster which has fallen into a state of reproductive crisis due to ocean acidification, the native Olympia oyster is beginning to naturally repopulate areas of Puget Sound in Washington, Netarts Bay in Oregon, and a handful of California bays. With control of upland runoff the waters in many areas are now healthy enough to support a diverse set of species, including the native Olympia oyster.

Unlike the commercial operations which never allow natural reefs to form, thereby removing any "structure" they may form at harvest, restoration efforts allow the oyster population to remain and rebuild the great permanent reefs which used to exist. With the increase in surface area and population comes a positive loop which allows for the native shellfish to spawn and seed themselves, further increasing their population.

There are still risks to the efforts. These include increasing population densities and associated runoff as well as non-native species becoming naturalized and taking over the limited habitat needed by the Olympia oysters. Another significant risk is commercial shellfish harvesting spreading the non-native invasive tunicate Didemnum vexillum throughout bodies of water.

But with continued effort the inlets and bays of the west coast may one day again see the great reefs of Olympia oysters which existed before the commercial shellfish operators harvested them to near extinction.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Drakes Bay Oyster Company - Superior Court Ruling Update

Update 7/19: (moved to 7/18 post on court ruling)

Vibriosis Traced to Washington Oysters from Totten Inlet, Oakland Bay, and Willapa Bay

Vibriosis traced to oysters harvested from Totten Inlet, Oakland Bay and Willapa Bay in Washington state within the last 30 days has initiated a decrease in the harvest-to-temperature times. This step is part of the Washington Vibrio Control Plan designed to prevent outbreaks caused by the naturally occurring bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp). If additional cases are reported closure of commercial harvesting may result. Additional consumer information is located on the DOH website.

Vibriosis traced to oysters harvested in July and August by Drakes Bay Oyster Company last year resulted in a recall of oysters from that operation. California currently regulates oysters from the Gulf Coast states harvested during the warmer summer months due to concerns over the more deadly species of Vibrio, Vibrio vulnificus. That ban has all but eliminated the disease, deadly to 50% of those who contract it.

Consumption of any food carries risks. In the case of oysters, that risk is increased greatly if they are consumed raw during the summer months. Minus tides and increasing temperatures over the coming week will most likely increase that risk.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Superior Court Orders Drakes Bay Oyster Company to Comply with Coastal Commission's 2007 Cease and Desist Consent Order and 2013 Cease and Desist Order's Interim Use Provisions

Update 7/30: The Marin Indepent Journal has reported that Drakes Bay Oyster Company has asked Marin Superior Court Judge Duryee to reconsider her ruling that DBOC must comply with the California Coastal Commission's interim use provisions contained in the most recent Cease and Desist order. The interim environmental protection measures which Mr. Lunny had previously been willing to act on is something he no longer agrees with.
Update 7/19: Superior Court Judge Duryee's ruling that Drakes Bay Oyster Company must comply with the California Coastal Commission (CCC) 2013 Cease and Desist Order's interim use provisions has generated numerous articles, including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, KTVU News, and the Marin Independent Journal . All have noted DBOC must comply with the coastal regulations it has either violated or ignored. It was far from what attorneys representing Phyllis Faber and DBOC had asked for, which included "Issuance of a declaratory judgment that the Commissions Orders were unlawful". 

DBOC must act on, among other things, the removal of the non-native invasive manila clams; creation of a management plan to prevent the growth and spread of the non-native and invasive tunicate Didemnum vexillum; limit production of shellfish to 2007 levels; and, to develop an operational debris management plan. While DBOC implied the CCC was attempting to "shut them down", in fact what the CCC was trying to get DBOC to do was comply with the coastal regulations we all are supposed to work within. It was something DBOC agreed to in 2007 but simply ignored. 

They said what?
Unlike the others news outlets, the San Francisco Sentinel declares the ruling forcing DBOC to address the numerous coastal regulations it has been in violation of a "Major Victory" for DBOC. It goes on to devote a large portion of the "reporting" to what can only be described as a "Karl Rove" discourse on Amy Trainer, Executive Director of the West Marin Environmental Action Committee, the EAC and CCC with broad unsubstantiated statements. SFS might consider first vetting its news sources before simply publishing a press release, from whomever they received it from.

Update 7/18: Drakes Bay Oyster Company may no longer ignore the 2007 California Coastal Commission's Consent Order No. CCC-07-CD-04 (beginning on page 17) signed and agreed to by Mr. Lunny November 29, 2007. Further, DBOC must also comply with the 2013 Cease and Desist Order's interim use provisions CCC-13-CD-01 (a 42mb file - Section V, starting on page 132).
For Immediate Release                                                                                   
July 18, 2013
Amy Trainer, Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, 415.306.6052
Gordon Bennett, Save Our Seashore, 415.663.1881 
Court Order Requires Drakes Bay Oyster Company to Comply With Coastal Act
Company Must Remove Invasive Clams, Clean up Marine Vomit, and End Plastic Pollution
Point Reyes, California.  The controversial Drakes Bay Oyster Company will be required to remove the invasive Manila clams it planted, manage its invasive “marine vomit” problem that coats its oysters, and finally address the significant amounts of the company’s plastic debris that has polluted beaches all over the Point Reyes National Seashore according to a court ruling yesterday afternoon. Marin County Superior Court Judge Lynn Duryee sided with the California Coastal Commission and ruled that the Drakes Bay Oyster Company must take immediate steps to comply with the 2007 and 2013 [2013 file is 42mb, a result of DBOC attorney's last minute "document dump"] Cease and Desist Orders, which mitigate some, but not all, of the company’s ongoing environmental harm to the national park wilderness area.
 “Since inception, the Drakes Bay Oyster Company has been operating illegally as if basic regulations that protect our spectacular coastline don’t apply to it,” said Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin. “The court’s ruling supports what the public has known for years: this unsustainable oyster company that pollutes beaches, fosters the spread of invasive species, and causes harbor seal disturbance has no place in a national park wilderness area.”
The court ruling is the latest to reprimand the oyster company for its lack of compliance with coastal protection laws, including its failure to: comply with the production cap established in 2007, remove all the invasive Manila clams and Didemnum vexillim “marine vomit, clean up its plastic debris pollution, remove several pressure-treated wooden racks that are outside the permit area, and stay out of protected habitat for harbor seals.
The Drakes Bay Oyster Company, which was removed from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Partner list more than 3 years ago, is being supported by the Koch brothers funded Pacific Legal Foundation and Americans For Prosperity in its quest to commercialize Drakes Estero Wilderness. Yesterday’s court ruling follows on the heels of this week’s news that California River Watch is preparing to sue the oyster company for violating the Clean Water Act.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Point Reyes National Seashore Wilderness: Part of the "Grand Plan" to eliminate farming in Marin and Sonoma Counties?

Update: It should be noted that Robin Carpenter only hosts a program on KWMR, but is not an employee of the station. The views and opinions expressed on her program are not necessarily those of the radio station, its funders or members.

Robin Carpenter

On June 17th, Amy Trainer, Executive Director of Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC), was interviewed by Robin Carpenter on Marin County's independent non-profit radio station KWMR (scroll to June 17, click on play button, interview begins at 28 minutes), located at Point Reyes Station. Ms. Carpenter, a supporter of Drakes Bay Oyster Company's (DBOC) continued commercial operation in the Drakes Estero wilderness area, expressed concerns about whether EAC still represented the knot tying environmentalism to farming or if it was instead trying to eliminate farming on all of Point Reyes. [Note: If Ms. Carpenter is truly concerned about "discourse," collegial conversations and building relationships between farmers and others she may want to consider dropping her lead in song which implies the "city kids" are somehow "going to pay" because they don't have "fluffy dogs that smell like hogs."]

Amy Trainer
EAC Executive Director
In that interview Ms. Trainer was asked to address the belief by West Marin County farmers that allowing Drakes Estero to revert to the Congressionally designated wilderness was only part of what Phyllis Faber has described as a "Grand Plan" whose end goal was to eliminate farming in all of Marin and Sonoma Counties (see below).

Local Coastal Program Update
The interview began with a brief discussion about concerns expressed by EAC over amendments proposed to the Marin County Local Coastal Program. Ms. Carpenter expressed that the Farm Bureau felt EAC's letter was a surprise to which Ms. Trainer replied that it had only expressed a summary of concerns previously known. Among other points in that letter were concerns over the Farm Bureau's advocating for increased housing density:

Additionally, the Farm Bureau advocates that C-APZ-60 owners, in addition to one farm house, an agricultural home-stay or a bed-and-breakfast, and farm worker housing, should be allowed guest housing and second units as a Permitted Use, and two inter-generational homes for family members not engaged in agriculture on the property as a Principal Permitted Use.
Is a "Right Wing Agenda" causing a divorce in the family?
After addressing the Coastal Plan issue Ms. Carpenter then moved to the question of whether supporting DBOC's continued commercial operation in Drakes Estero was supporting a "right wing agenda" of expanding commercial operations within wilderness areas and whether that was causing a "divorce" between EAC and the Farm Bureau. At 44 minutes Ms. Trainer explained that EAC, most of its local members, and many others throughout the nation believe very strongly that preventing commercial operations within Drakes Estero is critical to the future integrity of other wilderness areas. If DBOC's commercial operation is allowed to continue it will open the door to other wilderness areas becoming developed. Following a discussion on whether oysters provide any filtering of significance and who will be responsible for overseeing the removal of oysters and associated gear, the interview ended with how EAC saw itself, with Ms. Trainer noting that EAC has always taken on what she describes as "the tough challenges." Included is strong support of the creation of the only shoreline wilderness area on the west coast.

Phyllis Faber
Part of the Grand Plan?
Response to the Trainer Interview - Part of a "Grand Plan"
In response to the 30 minute interview with Ms. Trainer, KWMR provided DBOC attorney Peter Prows, MALT co-founder Phyllis Faber, and Farm Bureau President Sam Dolcini 60 minutes to discuss DBOC and their perceived threat to agriculture its closure represented. In that interview, Ms. Faber, at 25:30 minutes, describes what she sees as the "Grand Plan" which starts with eliminating cattle on Point Reyes. In that "plan" she sees first, DBOC's commercial operation ending, followed by the Center for Biological Diversity coming along the shoreline to sample waters for pollution. There they will find nitrogen traced to cows which will result in the farmers being told "the cattle must go." She states that environmentalists "do not understand" what support for the Drakes Estero wilderness means. In her eyes it is that first the oyster farm will cease operation, then farming on Point Reyes will cease, followed by farming ending in all of Marin County, after which Sonoma County's farming will cease (28:34).
[Is this what the opening song for the 6/17 interview, "City Kids" refers to? In that song those "city kids" with TV's and "fluffy dogs which didn't smell like hogs" have seen the tables turn and "now they're gonna pay". As noted above, Ms. Carpenter should consider whether that really improves the dialogue she professes to believe in.]

Ideals should not diminish with time.
At 28:59 she states her fatalistic view: wilderness will never exist, and at 46:00 states people should just "be happy with the wildness the park does provide them" and to focus on something else, like climate change. How would she have felt if, when she was younger, she was told by developers in San Francisco that her idea of forming the Marin Agricultural Land Trust was a waste of time and she should instead focus on the ozone hole. Wilderness can still exist and ideals still drive actions.

Sam Dolcini, President
of the Marin County Farm Bureau
"continued pressure"

DBOC: Canary in a Coal Mine or an Egg about to Hatch?
Sam Dolcini, President of the Marin County Farm Bureau, at 35:50 uses a metaphor to describe what he sees as growing pressure on the agricultural community. In his eyes, the shifting views on agriculture represented by the closure of DBOC is an egg in the nest which is about to hatch, becoming a canary in a coal mine which will "go onto life support," something he sees as being "very scary." He feels the agricultural community is being given advice from a community (represented by EAC) who doesn't understand them.

Can't we all just get along? It's just a little oyster farm.
After DBOC accepted support from Cause of Action, David Vitter and Doc Hastings, the link to larger agendas was found to be harming efforts to continue operations in the shoreline wilderness area. Now a new shift scripted by others is attempting to create the current frame for the DBOC issue. Now it is  one of "can't we all just get along" and that there are more important things in the world than a wilderness area in Marin County for people to focus their energies on.

Statements by DBOC attorney Mr. Prows that support for the wilderness area Congress created is an "attack on this little oyster farm" and to go elsewhere only demonstrates a lack in understanding the larger picture of the importance wilderness plays in people's lives now, and more importantly, the role it will play for future generations. It is most certainly not an attempt to eliminate farming in Marin and Sonoma Counties. It can exist and it is worth fighting for.

Monday, July 15, 2013

California River Watch Notice to Drakes Bay Oyster

Press release from California River Watch on Clean Water Act violations and intent to sue.
For Immediate Release                                                          July 15, 2013
Contact: Sarah Danley, Esq.,  RiverWatch.press@gmail.com
Drakes Bay Oyster Company Facing New Lawsuit for Clean Water Act violations in Pt. Reyes

Point Reyes, Ca. - California River Watch, a Sebastopol-based organization devoted to protecting Northern California's water quality, today announced it is preparing a lawsuit against the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, saying the industrial operation operating in the Point Reyes National Seashore is polluting the ocean with waste water and other pollutants and has failed to obtain necessary permits for its operations.

In the 60-day notice to the oyster company that it intends to sue (attached below), which is required by the federal law, California River Watch alleges that the oyster company has been unlawfully discharging waste water from its shellfish operations into Drakes Estero in violation of the Clean Water Act. The 60-day notice demands immediate cessation of all unlawful discharges, and that Drakes Bay Oyster Company apply for the proper permit, something it has failed to do for over seven years.

"Drakes Bay Oyster Company, which has been repeatedly cited by state agencies for its pollution and violation of permits, is at it again," said Sarah Danley of California River Watch. "It contributes discharge waste water into the ocean, fouling our waters and degrading one of the most pristine wilderness areas established in the United States."

Drakes Bay Oyster Company was cited by the California Coastal Commission earlier this year for a host of violations of the California Coastal Act, and for failing to obtain the required coastal development permit.  Rather than complying, the oyster company sued the Commission. The Commission counter-sued the oyster company for ongoing violations of the Coastal Act and Cease and Desist Orders which could carry fines and penalties totaling tens of thousands of dollars.

Last Daylight Deep Minus Tides of 2013

July 2013 Tide Table
(Olympia Times/Depths)

The last daylight deep minus tides of 2013 will occur on the 20th through the 24th of July. Tidal elevations will drop to -3.3 in south Puget Sound, ending with a high tide elevation of 16 feet on the 24th and 25th, the highest level of the year. It is because of these deep minus tides that south Puget Sound has seen the highest intensity of geoduck farming in Puget Sound. If time allows and you or a friend have a boat, get out for a lunch time ride and see what's happening to Puget Sound's lower intertidal areas.

Fudge Point, Harstene Island
June 23, 2013 ( -4 tide) - new farm

Spencer Cove, Harstene Island
June 23, 2013 (-4 tide) ongoing farms
Case Inlet, eastern side
June 22, 2013 (-3.5 tide) forgotten tubes
Case Inlet, eastern side
June 22, 2013 (-3.5 tide) mesh tubing

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

California River Watch Sends Notice of Violations Under the Clean Water Act And Intent to File Suit to Drakes Bay Oyster Company

[Update: Read Lunny Grading and Paving "Notice of Violations" here.]

The California River Watch has sent Drakes Bay Oyster Company a notice of Clean Water Act violations noting their intent to file suit within 60 days. Unlike the shellfish processing plants operated by Taylor Shellfish in Washington, DBOC is not in possession of a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. As such there is no control over what DBOC may  discharge into Drakes Estero, the only shoreline wilderness on the west coast. (See one of Taylor Shellfish's NPDES permit here.)

Drakes Bay Oyster Company
Is this really compatible with wilderness?
"I'm an environmentalist." By whose definition?
This is not the first "notice of intent to sue" which Mr. Lunny has received. Earlier this year his "Lunny Grading and Paving" also received a "notice" from the California River Watch for alleged Clean Water Act violations. In that "notice" a variety of violations were described which were related to its operation of the Nicasio rock quarry. These are on top of violations which the California Coastal Commission described as "egregious."
Nicasio quarry operated by
Mr. Lunny's "Lunny Grading and Paving."
5400 Nicasio Valley Road, Nicasio, CA

Specific to the Nicasio quarry operation, the California River Watch alleges:
The General Permit requires storm water dischargers to comply with its terms, including adequate monitoring, reporting and implementation of BMPs [Best Management Practices]. From January 5, 2008 to January 5, 2013, Nicasio has been in violation of the Clean Water Act for its failure to: 1) comply with the General Permit; 2) make and record the required observations concerning stormwater discharges; and 3) implement BMPs using BAT [Best Available Technology] and/or BCT [Best Conventional Technology] to eliminate pollution in stormwater discharges from the site.  
River Watch alleges that Nicasio has not implemented BMP by not using BAT or BCT to control or eliminate its non-stormwater discharges. Nicasio is violating the General Permit by: (1) allowing materials other than storm water (non-storm water discharges) that discharge either directly or indirectly to waters of the U.S.; (2) causing or threaten to cause pollution, contamination, or nuisance; exceeding the specified effluent limitations identified above; (3) discharging storm water containing a hazardous substance equal to or in excess of a reportable quantity listed in 40 CFR Part 117 and/or 40 CFR Part 302; (4) failing to reduce or prevent pollutants associated with industrial activity in storm water discharges and authorized non-storm water discharges through implementation of BAT for toxic and non-conventional pollutants and BCT for conventional pollutants; (5) failing to development and implementation of an  SWPPP that complies with the requirements in Section A of the General Permit and that includes BMPs that achieve BAT/BCT constitutes compliance with this requirement; and (6) discharging storm water and non-storm water to surface or ground water which adversely impact human health or the environment. 

Corporate Environmentalism
Through the eyes of some the environmental impacts of the sort detailed by California River Watch in their Clean Water Act notifications sent to Mr. Lunny may not be "adverse." They are just "part of doing business." In part it is why Drakes Bay Oyster Company found the likes of Cause of Action, Senator Vitter and Representative "Doc" Hastings rushing to its support when their special use permit was not renewed. Allowing the only commercial operation within the designated wilderness area to continue operation would open the door for other extraction industries (energy/mining) to operate within wilderness areas. Mr. Lunny's quarry operation only helped tie the knot tighter.

If environmental regulations are able to be weakened to the point where Mr. Lunny's alleged violations are acceptable it will open broaden the definition of a new "Corporate Environmentalism" where impacts to the environment are less important than corporate profitability. It is a clear and simple strategy which with minimal effort is easily exposed.

Attempts by well paid Public Relations firms and lobbyists to portray what Mr. Lunny is dealing with as "government overreach" or "eco-McCarthyism" may find traction with some and most certainly helps in billing hours. It should not find traction with those who put future clean waters ahead of short-term profits.

Ending Operations is a One Time Event
Drakes Bay Oyster Company's attorneys may complain that ending ongoing commercial operations and removing the artificial structures is a significant event which must be avoided. What they do not point out is that removal of these structures and the ceasing of its commercial operations will be a one time event and then be over, resulting in a wilderness for everyone, instead of a profit center for one.

You can help support the California River Watch here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sea Grant: Pacific Oysters "may be in the early stages of a full-fledged, non-native species invasion."

Non-native Pacific oyster
from Drakes Bay Oyster Company
They grow bigger, faster.

Sea Grant writes in a July 2, 2013 article that the Pacific oyster "may be in the early stages of a full-fledged, non-native species invasion." The article goes on to note:
The traits that make it so suited to culture could also make it a formidable invader..."Our worry is that native oyster restoration efforts may backfire and we will end up creating habitat for the invasive oyster,” said Danielle Zacherl, a professor at Cal State Fullerton, who has been documenting the Pacific oyster’s spread in San Diego and Orange counties and is involved in native oyster bed restoration in Southern California.
Native Olympia oyster (left)
vs. Invasive Pacific Oyster (right)

Drakes Bay Oyster Company has claimed that the waters of Drakes Estero are "too cold" for the non-native invasive Pacific oysters it cultivates to spawn in. However, this is strongly countered by the introduced population of Pacific oysters in Willapa Bay, a similar estuary, almost 600 miles to the north on the coast of Washington state which experienced a commercially sized "set" last year and appears poised for another this year.

Nature finds a way
While in recent years the Pacific oyster had no natural sets of commercial size in Willapa Bay, perhaps due to ocean acidification, perhaps due to various chemical treatments of "aquaculture pests" by the shellfish industry (e.g., native Ghost shrimp, a primary food source for the Green sturgeon, an ESA Species of Concern), last year saw a "set" in commercial numbers. This summer, gonads have developed in the Pacific oysters. With the continued warm weather an environment suitable for spawning and another natural set in commercial quantities is most likely in the making.

Drakes Estero National Seashore
Schooner Bay and Drakes Bay Oyster Company

Drakes Estero is similar to Willapa Bay and in some ways more conducive to Pacific oysters. For example, with only a small stream draining into Schooner Bay, it takes up to 20 days to flush this shallow finger in Drakes Estero. The very same finger where Drakes Bay Oyster Company's facilities are located. Similar to portions of Willapa Bay which take weeks to flush (click here for an interactive map representing flush rates for Willapa Bay), Schooner Bay's resident time of up to 20 days for waters allows it to have higher temperatures than the main body of the Estero. The other "fingers" of the Estero are similar. Global climate change will only add to the probability of a habitat conducive to this invasive species of oyster displacing any native populations.

As noted in the Sea Grant article:
“The stars have aligned for it [the Pacific oyster] now, and we don’t know why, but it’s worth tracking because of its ability to massively modify habitats,”
Unless the non-native and invasive Pacific oyster in California is contained it will find itself in the same situation as Willapa Bay to the north - another ecosystem transformed by the shellfish industry at the expense of native species.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rising Vibrio Levels Close Hood Canal Growing Areas

The Department of Health has announced it has halted commercial harvesting of shellfish in Hood Canal's growing areas 8 and 9 due to a rise in Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) levels.  It has also warned commercial shellfish growers of rising levels in other areas of Puget Sound and for them to take extra precautions after harvesting to minimize the risk of illness being contracted by the public from shellfish consumption. The Department of Health has also warned the public about the increase in the risk of contracting Vibriosis from shellfish harvested recreationally.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus
Naturally Occurring
The naturally occurring bacteria increases during the warm summer months as water temperature increases. Exposure of oysters to the sun during low tides causes the internal temperature of oysters to rise further, which in turn results in the number of Vp bacterial cells within the oyster increasing. When consumed, these bacteria damage the inner wall of the intestine, resulting in Vibriosis. Its cousin, Vibrio vulnificus, passes through the intestinal wall into the blood stream, resulting in a far more deadly disease. Currently the waters outside of the Gulf states are too cold for Vv to grow, but some feel the increasing water temperatures from climate change may increase the risk of Vibrio vulnificus in more areas.

Months without R
The consumption of oysters in the months without R (May, June, July and August) has its grounding in two things. First, and most important, warmer temperatures increase the risk of contracting Vibriosis from Vp or its more deadly cousin Vibrio vulnificus (found in the Gulf state oysters harvested during the warm summer months). Second is that during the warmer months oysters spawn, causing them to become unsavory due to their oily and milky texture.

Genetic Manipulation of Oysters and Sterility
Taste issues brought on with spawning have been dealt with by the shellfish industry through genetically modifying oysters. This genetic manipulation results in an oyster which is sterile and does not "plump" from spawning during the months without R. The downside to the introduction of this oyster is the increase in consumption, raising the risk of contracting Vibriosis.

Food Safety
With any food there is risk of contracting illness. The risk of contracting Vibriosis from oysters is minimized by thoroughly cooking them. (Note - Cooking does not eliminate the risk of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning, caused by toxins from the family of Alexandrium algae.) For additional information on shellfish safety the Department of Health has information on their web site as well as an interactive map showing areas which have been closed.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Taylor Shellfish Mussel Farm Update: APHETI to Appeal Shorelines Hearings Board Decision

Decision to Reverse Thurston County's Denial of
Taylor Shellfish's Permit Application for
58 Raft Mussel Farm in Totten Inlet
(see APHETI announcement
at the end of this posting)
You can help support APHETI's appeal to Superior Court by donating to:
APHETI (as a registered 501(c)3 organization donations are tax deductible)
PO Box 11423
Olympia, WA 98508-1523
Phone: 360-866-0218
Web Site: www.apheti.com
Buying up Puget Sound's
Natural Ecosystem
One Tideland Acre at a Time
Shellfish Industry's Vision for South Puget Sound
In January of 2012 the Senate Environment Committee heard what the vision for south Puget Sound was, clearly articulated by Jim Gibbons with Seattle Shellfish. In that testimony he told them that compared to south Puget Sound's production of 20 million pounds of commercial shellfish, Spain produced, in the same area of south Puget Sound, over 600 million pounds. His excitement over the amount of nitrogen removed was difficult for him to contain.
"Imagine the Nitrogen Removed"
Is this what Puget Sound needs?
(shellfish farming in France)
More than Nitrogen is Removed
However, as Thurston County's hearing examiner clearly recognized in the denial of Taylor's permit, the problem with "the vision" described by Mr. Gibbons - reflected in part in the mussel farm proposal - is commercial shellfish operations bring with them more than removal of a miniscule amount of nitrogen (estimated at ~1% of the total weight harvested). That nitrogen is removed as shellfish filter and feed on plankton needed by native species in Puget Sound, ejecting feces and pseudo-feces in a concentrated area which are consumed by bacteria, further lowering levels of dissolved oxygen in the area. To the point of why the permit was denied, you can no longer look at a single event (one mussel farm) within a larger system and ignore everything else which is occurring. Specific to shellfish, as anyone who is aware of the impact which nitrogen has on a body of water knows, none of the fresh water systems now safe and healthy were made so by shellfish. It was through controlling the inputs into those systems. In Puget Sound, it is the political pressures from the shellfish industry regulating what goes into Puget Sound which helps makes the waters healthy, not shellfish. 
CO2 in a Bottle -> CO2 in the Ocean ->
Lower pH (acidification) -> Shellfish Industry Crisis
(from Shallin Busch at The Evergreen State College)
Ocean Acidification, the Shellfish Industry, and Beyond
As is currently being heard throughout the country, but especially in Washington state, there is a crisis in the shellfish industry, caused by what is commonly referred to as "ocean acidification." From the breakdown of CO2 in the Pacific Ocean comes the lowering of pH levels ("acidification"), which in turn breaks down the element needed for calcification - carbonate ions. This reduction has resulted in hatcheries having had a near collapse in their oyster seed production as larvae become stressed, unable to produce shell. As more energy is used to create shell, they become more vulnerable to other external stressors, such as Vibrio tubiashii. Through "buffering" and choosing when to draw in water, production has risen, but the drop in carbonate ions remains, made less so by intensive shellfish farming.
These ions are needed by all species - whether native shellfish or any other species which require calcification. Through harvesting the shellfish grown, in many cases non-native species, those limited ions used to create shells are removed from the system and do not return, removing any "buffering" which occurs in a natural system.
Washington will Lead - Where?
In response to the shellfish industry's crisis created from CO2 emissions the Washington Shellfish Initiative was created, wrapped within the belief that by so doing will show the nation "Washington will lead" in addressing excessive CO2 emissions. [Skipped over is how allowing coal terminals to export hundreds of millions of tons of coal to Asia affects the perception of just what "leadership" there really is.] In that leadership role is a proposal to "streamline" permitting in order to facilitate the expansion Mr. Gibbons and others in the shellfish industry desire.
Cumulative Impacts Cannot be Ignored
To date, industry attorneys have successfully argued that current regulations cannot look beyond the myopic vision of "one farm at a time." Thurston County's denial of Taylor's permit was the first significant acknowledgement that in fact cumulative impacts have to be considered. While Taylor argues that over $1 million in studies have been done, in part funded by taxpayer dollars, having a big report does not mean it is correct and that cumulative impacts should be ignored. For this reason and others, APHETI has chosen to appeal the SHB decision. Further, it disagrees strongly with Taylor Shellfish now attempting to create their own monitoring plan through the SHB instead of Thurston County as the added condition required. More importantly, if additional monitoring is in fact needed, then it should be designed around existing operations. It is why the permit was denied in the first place.
The Shoreline Management Act
The Shoreline Management Act defines its shorelines as "the most valuable and fragile of its natural resources" and is in place "to prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state's shorelines." (RCW 90.58.020)  It is not in place to promote an industry's expansion and use of any methods it chooses simply because in 1971 it was considered one of the uses of Washington's "most valuable" resources. Shellfish farming is no longer Grandpa Taylor's oyster farm.
Association for the Protection of
Hammersley, Eld, & Totten Inlets
PO BOX 11523
Olympia WA 98508-1523    
Phone: (360) - 866 - 0218
Email: apheti@gmail.com     
June 28, 2013

RE:  State Shoreline Hearings Board (SHB) decision

Greetings APHETI Members and Supporters -

The SHB met on April 22, 2013 to hear Taylor's appeal to overturn Thurston County's denial of Taylor's application to expand aquaculture of non-native mussels in Totten Inlet.  The basis of the denial was that Taylor's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) lacked sufficient study on cumulative impacts.   

The SHB issued its decision on June 17, 2013 – overturning Thurston County's denial of Taylor's permit application – see APHETI's website www.apheti.com.  This is disappointing but not surprising.  The SHB has a historical bias of siding with the commercial aquaculture industry.  We have learned the future Puget Sound wide plan of the aquaculture industry is to use suspension aquaculture (rafts) to grow not only mussels but all other forms of shellfish - clams, oysters, scallops, sea urchins, etc.

The bottom line – unless each one of us does all we can to stop this NOW, Taylor has a green light to put 58 more mussel rafts in Totten Inlet – AND – open the door for the aquaculture industry to put more rafts not only in Totten Inlet but throughout all of South Puget Sound!  Hundreds of raft type aquaculture operations could easily develop in Eld, Budd, and Henderson Inlets and the Nisqually Reach areas of Thurston County and Hammersley, Carr, and Case Inlets in Mason and Pierce Counties.  

APHETI attorney, David Mann, says this of the SHB decision - 
I continue to believe the SHB got it wrong on Benthic impacts, dissolved oxygen, Gallo mussels and cumulative impacts. The only way they could get to their answer was to ignore entirely our legal arguments, our cross examination, and the multiple holes in the analysis.” 
“Frankly I believe all of the issues the Examiner raised and we defended before the SHB are worthy of appeal. It will be an uphill fight, but it is by no means a slam-dunk against us.” 

APHETI intends to appeal the SHB decision to Superior Court.  This will require substantial financial resources.  Your help is needed.  Previously, we asked for your financial contribution to support this coming appeal and some have responded most generously – THANK YOU!  Additional resources are needed though.  If you have not yet considered making a contribution please do so now for without your support APHETI's appeal may not be possible.  

APHETI is an IRS registered non-profit charitable organization.  Contributions may be tax deductible and all are acknowledged in writing.  The identity of all donors is kept strictly confidential.  Please use the enclosed pre-addressed envelope to mail your contribution to APHETI or use APHETI, PO Box 11523, Olympia, WA 98508-1523 if you are receiving this communication via e-mail.  

As always, please feel welcome to contact APHETI (360/ 866-0218) with any questions you may have.  We again, Thank You! for your continued support.  
APHETI Board of Directors