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:

Monday, December 22, 2014

Montery Bay Aquarium Drops Ratings on Geoduck, Calls for Comments on Rating System

Monterey Bay Aquarium Used as a Tool by the Geoduck Industry in Permitting
After Monterey Bay Aquarium's "green" listing of geoduck was used as "proof" in a permitting process that PVC, netting, and associated CO2 emissions from vessels and overnight air freighting geoduck to China was deserving of a "green" rating for geoduck, the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat sent an email of concern (click here to read that email). As a result of that letter, Monterey Bay Aquarium dropped important ratings on gedouck farming and called for comments on revising its seafood rating system which puts geoduck farming in the "green" category (see below for email addresses and comment link). Those comments are due by December 27.

Cumulative Impacts: Drops "Data" from Green to Yellow With favorable data provided by the geoduck industry, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's "Seafood Watch" program rated geoduck raised in Puget Sound as "green." This rating, used in the permitting process to "prove" that geoduck farming has minimal impact on Puget Sound's marine habitat was challenged by the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat. That response resulted in a number of categories being downgraded, including the most critical tool used for decision making, "Data", which was dropped from "green" to "yellow" due to a lack of understanding on cumulative impacts from the habitat transformation which is occurring.

Effluent Dropped from 10 to 8
As a result of the continued loss of PVC tubing and netting from geoduck farms this rating was dropped 20%. In addition, they are now considering a separate rating category which is focused on the use and loss of plastics in the marine environment by the shellfish industry.

Habitat Impacts Not Dropped
Surprisingly, the habitat rating was not dropped. How a process which first destroys an original marine habitat area by clearing and placement of PVC tubes and netting in it, then destroys that artificial habitat when it is removed 2 years later, then destroys the habitat at harvesting, all to begin again with new PVC tubes placed in the already altered marine habitat are considered "moderate" is difficult to understand.

Wildlife Mortalities Rating Dropped
While the habitat impact category did not drop, it was recognized that the process of cleaning the beach for PVC does create mortality of intertidal species. Its not being dropped further to recognize the "mortality" of the species which have taken hold on the PVC and netting structures apparently did not happen.

Get Involved: Rating System is Being Revised
To better help the Monterey Bay Aquarium understand the level of impacts which are occurring to Puget Sound's intertidal and subtidal areas comments on their current rating system will be accepted through December 27. Their lengthy comment form is found here:
Monterey Bay Aquarium Email Contacts: Tell them Geoduck for China is not deserving of a "green" rating
 Alternatively you may email Brian Albaum <balbaum@mbayaq.org> and associates at Monterey Bay Aquarium, Santi Roberts <SRoberts@mbayaq.org>, Lisa Tucker <ltucker@mbayaq.org>, Ken Peterson <KPeterson@mbayaq.org> to express how you see geoduck farming impacting Puget Sound's marine habitat areas and beyond. Why? Beyond the aesthetics, PVC placed in the marine ecosystem, continually escaping from farms, is not healthy. That "structure", being ripped out after 2 years with all species associated with it, is not beneficial. Clearing nets of aquatic vegetation left to drift, dry and decay, is not beneficial. Unnaturally high density planting of geoduck displaces native species, lowering the diversity of native species which exists. CO2 emissions from the creation of PVC, marine vessels used, pumps used in harvesting, and overnight air freighting to China - the source of most CO2 emissions impacting the Pacific Ocean - benefits nobody.

Get involved 
Get involved. The shellfish industry is and they know what to create and who to present it to in order to get favorable ratings for one of the most transformative activities occurring in Puget Sound's intertidal area.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Taylor Shellfish Mussel Farm Monitoring: Thurston County Passes Responsibility to DNR

Where is Thurston County lacking expertise?
Is this a good hand?
Thurston County's not sure, folds, 
and will let DNR play its hand.

Cumulative impacts analysis not required but you will have to monitor specific parameters (Shorelines Hearings Board reversal of permit denial for Taylor Shellfish 58 raft mussel farm)
In June of 2013 the Shorelines Hearings Board reversed Thurston County's denial of a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit for a 58 raft mussel farm to be operated by Taylor Shellfish. The county's hearing examiner had denied that permit application based on a lack of information, thereby requiring a cumulative impacts analysis.

Taylor Shellfish appealed that decision to the Shorelines Hearings Board which reversed the denial, approving the SSDP but adding a condition which required the development of a plan to monitor very specific items (e.g., dissolved oxygen and mussel fall-off below the rafts) and what Taylor Shellfish would be required to do if problems were found (see below for the specific condition, or click here for the decision which has Condition 2 on pages 33/34).

Taylor Shellfish agrees they will monitor, what they want to monitor and when
Taylor Shellfish took issue with what it was supposed to monitor and provided alternatives which it felt better represented impacts (see Taylor's draft alternative here). The County and Taylor Shellfish were unable to come to terms with the differences between what the SHB had in its condition and what Taylor Shellfish felt was more appropriate, resulting in a letter to the SHB stating future negotiations would be "fruitless" (see letter here).

Those threats of litigation by Taylor Shellfish cause Thurston County to admit they do not have the expertise, believing DNR does
After that letter and the threat of further litigation the County chose instead to turn over the monitoring to the Department of Natural Resources. It would be made part of the lease between Taylor Shellfish and DNR, something none of the other mussel farms Taylor Shellfish has in waters leased from DNR are required to do and which in large part caused the hearing examiner to originally deny the permit and require a cumulative impacts analysis.

Does DNR have a better hand
to play against Taylor Shellfish?
Thurston County thinks so.

Thurston County relies on a draft Aquatic Lands Habitat Conservation Plan
The original "Condition 2" would be replaced in its entirety by one paragraph, seen below. The monitoring plan would be based on undefined "conservation measures" and  undefined monitoring requirements developed by DNR. Thurston County felt a draft of the Aquatic Lands Habitat Conservation Plan they reviewed was comforting enough to turn all over to DNR. This draft is something the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has just finished accepting comments on, December 4 (click here for the Public Notice from FWS). Why Thurston County felt something currently in its draft stage could be used as a framework by an agency already (DNR) dependent on revenues from similar current leases which do not require monitoring is somewhat of a mystery.

Expertise lacking - in what? Creating a monitoring plan, or pushing back on Taylor Shellfish being unwilling to monitor their mussel farm as the SHB required it to do?
In announcing the agreement, Thurston County stated they lacked the expertise to develop and monitor a plan which would ensure the waters of Thurston County are not adversely impacted by aquaculture. Nobody expects the county to have the expertise in everything. But in this case, to simply give up and replace a condition from the SHB which required specific parameters to be measured and replace that condition with a single vague paragraph, hoping a draft Habitat Conservation Plan would result in an equivalent plan, suggests expertise is lacking in other areas. It also puts in question whether they should be issuing SSDP permits at all.

One paragraph replacement, followed by the original SHB condition

Newer and better?
2. An additional condition shall be added to the approved SSDP as follows:

Prior to operation of the NTI Farm, the permittee shall submit to Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department (TCRSD) a copy of (1) conservation measures, and (2) monitoring requirements approved by Department of Natural Resources in relation to permittee’s lease application for use of state-owned aquatic lands, Authorization Number: 20-013608. The conservation measures, and monitoring requirements shall be incorporated into and attached to the permit. All reports submitted to DNR as a result of the approved conservation measures and monitoring requirements shall also be sent to TCRSD within 10 days of completion.

Original Shorelines Hearings Board Monitoring Condition
2. An additional condition shall be added to the approved SSDP as follows:

Prior to operation of the NTI Farm, the permittee shall submit to Thurston County for approval a monitoring plan consistent with the Taylor Shellfish Farms Environmental Code of Practice (which needs to be incorporated into and attached to the permit issuance). The plan, at a minimum, shall include:

A. Annual benthic sampling under the mussel farm rafts to determine whether any impacts to the benthic flora and fauna in excess of those anticipated in the EIS have occurred.

B. Annual vertical profiles of the water column adjacent to mussel farms to measure potential changes in dissolved oxygen concentrations for an extended period in excess of those anticipated in the EIS.

C. Provisions for the periodic inspection and removal of mussel fall-offs and all unnatural and non-biodegradable materials that accidently fall from rafts and work areas onto the seafloor, as well as periodic inspection and immediate removal of any Beggiatoa that forms around any of the mussel rafts.

D. The plan shall also include specific measures designed to remediate unanticipated impacts to the benthic community identified through the implementation of the monitoring plan.
E. Monitoring shall include surveys that measure at a minimum the following parameters: sulfides, REDOX potential, total volatile solids, sediment grain size, presence or absence of gas bubbles, Beggiatoa, pseudofeces, feces, farm litter, and benthic and infaunal biotic samples.

F. The monitoring plan shall address what actions TSF will be required to take to minimize risks to aquatic life and habitat in excess of those anticipated in the EIS.
All required monitoring shall be conducted by TSF or its consultants consistently with accepted scientific standards and at a scientifically appropriate number of sites to be determined in the approved monitoring plan that are located directly underneath, adjacent to NTI Farms, and at least 1 km away from the actual NTI site.

TSF shall provide the results from the annual monitoring and surveys to Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department (TCRSD) within 10 days of completion. Thurston County shall review the information, and if it determines that the aquatic habitat of Totten Inlet may be at substantial risk of adverse impacts on the benthic community in the vicinity of the mussel farm or with respect to changes in dissolved oxygen concentrations in excess of those anticipated in the EIS, based on the surveys or other reports and analysis, Thurston County may impose additional conditions on the operation of the NTI Farm. If the County determines that the annual reports indicate no adverse impacts with respect to the monitored parameters and conditions for five or more consecutive monitoring years, it may allow TSF to modify the plan to allow for monitoring once every five years, rather than annually.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Vibriosis from Oysters Results in Lawsuit - Economic Impact to Growers Likely to be Significant

A lawsuit has been filed by a man who contracted vibriosis from raw oysters containing elevated levels of the naturally occurring bacterium, Vibrio parahaemolyticus. A shellfish farmer, distributor, and restaurant were all named in the suit.

The suit claims the plaintiff "...suffered septic shock, multi-organ failure and the need for prolonged critical care, according to the lawsuit, resulting in physical and emotional pain, an inability to engage in normal activities, substantial medical expenses, significant economic loss and permanent disability and disfigurement." It also claims his wife "...suffered extreme distress, fear, anxiety and uncertainty watching her husband fall from perfect health to a month-long struggle for survival..."

In part, as a result of this illness in 2011, and 12 others who also contracted the disease, tighter regulations on how to handle oysters were created in 2012. That year 27 contracted the disease, followed in 2013 with 58 contracting the disease.

While this has occurred in Massachusetts, over the years, shellfish grown in Washington have been a bigger problem and source of vibriosis. As is now happening in Massachusetts, each year in the summer it is guaranteed people will begin to contract vibriosis from oysters harvested from Washington. Despite knowing this, after almost a decade of trying to control the outbreaks and failing, Washington's Department of Health continues to simply wait until cases of vibriosis are confirmed before closing growing areas. By that time oysters with elevated levels of the naturally occurring bacteria have entered into the distribution chain and are spread throughout the United States, resulting in what the Los Angeles County Department of Health called at one time a "multistate epidemic of Vibrio parahaemolyticus linked to contaminated oysters from Washington state."

What should be of bigger concern to the Department of Health, however, is that the more virulent strain of Vibrio, Vibrio vulnificus, has recently been found in Washington oysters. Originally limited to the Gulf Coast's warm waters, this bacteria is far more deadly. Its ability to enter the bloodstream through the stomach walls and intestines places it in the blood stream where it in turn is carried throughout the body. The toxins it creates can result in open wounds, causing it to sometimes be called a "flesh eating" bacteria. Of those who contract vibriosis from this strain, 50% die. Warming water temperatures will only increase the population of this bacteria, now naturally occurring in Puget Sound.

The Department of Health is responsible for ensuring food from Washington is safe to eat. Given the consistent pattern of outbreaks from oysters harvested from Puget Sound, it is time for them to become more proactive, and less concerned about the economic impact to shellfish growers. Those growers may find the economic impact from lawsuits will be far more significant than a few extra hours taken during the harvest/shipping process.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Thurston County Board and Shorelines Hearings Board "Concerned" About Impacts of Geoduck Farming - What does it take?

Comments are due Tuesday, December 15th by 4 PM on Taylor Shellfish's proposal to transform Dickenson Cove's critical intertidal habitat into another geoduck farm for the Chinese. Tell Thurston County it's time to stop being "concerned" and require a cumulative impacts analysis.
Comments to: Scott McCormick, Associate Planner mccorms@co.thurston.wa.us
May 5, 2013 (Google Earth)

How much does Puget Sound's intertidal habitat need to be transformed before agencies recognize it's time to look at cumulative impacts?

Just over 1 year ago the Shorelines Hearings Board denied an appeal of permits for geoduck farms having been granted by Thurston County. Two of those geoduck farms (Taylor Shellfish's Lockhart proposal and Arcadia Point Seafood's Thiesen proposal) were within 1,700 feet of those proposed in Dickenson Cove. Those farms were part of a shoreline becoming transformed by geoduck farming, part of the larger south Puget Sound intertidal area being planted with PVC pipes and netting to grow geoduck for the Chinese. Since then, in south Puget Sound, proposals of 25+ acres in Burley Lagoon (Taylor Shellfish), 20+ acres adjacent to McMicken Island State Park (Seattle Shellfish), 11 acres north of Herron Island (Taylor/Seattle Shellfish), and numerous smaller farms, including those in Dickenson Cove have occurred. In addition, Taylor Shellfish and Thurston County may be near an agreement of monitoring for a mussel farm, producing an estimated 1 million pounds of mussel every 18 months. Taylor Shellfish also sees nothing wrong with a 30 acre proposal adjacent to Dungeness Wildlife Refuge, north of Sequim.

It was a "close call" and everyone's "concerned"

October 11, 2013, the Shorelines Hearings Board issued a decision on an appeal of four geoduck farm permits in Thurston County having been issued. That decision stated:
On balance, it is a very close call whether a cumulative impacts analysis is warranted prior to approval of these four SSDPs. The County apparently reached the same conclusion, because, while not requiring a pre-approval cumulative impacts analysis, it included a special condition on all four of these applications pertaining to the potential for cumulative impacts. (p. 41)
March 26, 2013, after hearing an appeal of one of those permits having been granted, from the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat, and in denying that appeal, Thurston County Commissioners wrote:
"The Board shares many of the Coalition's concerns...about the impacts of geoduck aquaculture on the shorelines of Thurston County. The Board is also concerned about the existing and continued growth of this aquaculture, given that the science demonstrating the long term effects of this practice on the shoreline ecology is relatively new. The Board is further concerned about the carrying capacity of our shorelines to absorb the cumulative impacts of existing unpermitted geoduck farms, the newly permitted geoduck farms, and the anticipated applications for more geoduck farms in Thurston County." (Arcadia Point Seafood/Thiesen farm, Project 2010100420, p. 1)
 January 10, 2013, the Thurston County hearing examiner wrote in her decision, granting the permits for 4 geoduck farms (two being ~1,800 feet east of Dickenson Cove):
"...because many citizens of Thurston County and Resource Stewardship Staff are concerned about any potential long term adverse effects to Henderson Inlet, the recommended condition that would require review of the SSDP in seven years or prior to replanting is adopted." (Arcadia Point Seafood/Thiesen farm, p.39)

 It's time to stop being "concerned" and begin acting, for the benefit of everyone, not just geoduck growers. The Shoreline Management Act requires it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Taylor Shellfish Continues Rolling Over Estuarine Ecosystems to Grow Geoduck for China

Thurston County
Fishtrap Loop's Dickenson Cove
Another estuarine marine habitat transformed for geoduck?
Comments due December 16 (Demand the comment period be extended to January 16)
email: Scott McCormick: mccorms@co.Thurston.wa.us
reference Case 2014103991
See here for Notice of Taylor Shellfish application:

Taylor Shellfish: Greenfield Creek and Dickenson Cove -
A Marine Habitat - Perfect for PVC, Netting and Sandbags?
Tideland parcels within which 
geoduck farms are proposed.
Importance of freshwater outflows to Puget Sound's marine habitat
One of the most critical parts of Puget Sound's larger marine ecosystem are the freshwater outflows - streams, creeks, seeps and rivers - which exist throughout the shoreline areas of Puget Sound. These outflow areas mix fresh and salt water, and carry food and nutrients used by a number of species, many unique to Puget Sound. The importance of them cannot be understated.
Fudge Point State Park, Harstine Island
Taylor Shellfish geoduck farm.
In the middle, a wetland outflow.
Important for what, and who?
But these unique marine habitat areas also carry with them a different type of importance: economic gain from planting geoduck. In the case of the proposal by Taylor Shellfish, they view the delta area created by the outflow of Greenfield Creek as prime tidelands to grow geoduck. As with all delta areas in Puget Sound, they are flat and expansive, with sandy sediments. This combination creates an area in which PVC pipes are easy to place with nets being easy to lay down. That a stream channel exists in the middle of the proposal is simply unimportant to them and is, in fact, a risk to the survival of the densely planted geoduck.
Don't like that outflow? Sandbag it.
Wilson Point, Harstine Island
Freshwater and outwash do not mix with geoduck farms. Do sandbags mix with habitat?
One of the primary concerns to geoduck growers about these freshwater stream outflows is that fresh water will kill geoduck, especially young newly planted geoduck. In addition, during storm events, the outwash of sediments, whether from the upland area or those picked up along the upper tidal areas, will bury nets and tubes. It will kill newly planted geoduck and bury netting, making the removal of tubes and nets "very difficult", if not impossible. In a recent biological evaluation for another farm, it was worded this way:
"...sandbags will be used...to prevent a "blowout" coinciding with a heavy rainfall event which would bury tubes and area nets, thus smothering and killing the geoduck seed and making removal of nets and tubes very difficult." Biological Evaluation for Trident Marine Systems
Sandbags on Pickering Passage
placed to divert wetland outflow
away from geoduck farm. 
Maybe it just shouldn't be there.
Shoreline Management Act: Part 2 - Protection from the shellfish industry.
The primary reason behind why the original Shoreline Management Act was created was also for a freshwater outflow delta area: the Nisqually Delta. In the late 1960's a proposal was put forth to transform the last large delta area in Puget Sound to a deepwater sea port. As with geoduck farming, this delta too possessed qualities which were needed for a deepwater sea port: flat and expansive, with a deep drop off into deeper waters. It was this one large project which drove the creation of the SMA, created to protect what was then, and still is today, considered the "most valuable and fragile of its natural resources and that there is great concern throughout the state relating to their utilization, protection, restoration, and preservation." How ironic that now it is the shellfish industry who is posing the greatest threat to the marine ecosystem, not through one large project, but with many incremental and cumulatively significant projects.

Get involved. The shellfish industry is and they are not what they were when the Shoreline Management Act was created. A permit process as important as this should not occur during the Christmas planning period. Request Thurston County extend the comment period to January 16 and they deny this permit.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Xerces Society Submits Comments to DOE on Pesticide Spraying in Willapa Bay

(From https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline)

The Xerces Society submits comments on the Department of Ecology's proposal to apply the pesticide imidacloprid in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, a proposal driven by the shellfish industry.
See comment letter here: https://app.box.com/s/566kfjrrab8...n2ney9tlb
Just another native "pest" to the shellfish industry. 

In comments sent to the Department of Ecology, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (supported by other numerous groups - see below) notes it has "...substantial concerns about the plan set forth in the draft permit and draft EIS" DOE has proposed which address the application of imidacloprid on shellfish farms in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. Its purpose would be to eliminate the native burrowing shrimp which shellfish growers claim make sediments too soft to grow shellfish on. Its action would result in far more damage.
 Let them eat cake. Somewhere else.
Among the concerns is "...the significant risk imidacloprid presents to aquatic invertebrates..." which, in turn, "...can also cause a cascading trophic effect, harming fish, birds, and other organisms that rely on them for sustenance." Of special concern noted is the fact that Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor "...are among the most important migratory bird stopover sites on the west coast."

The letter goes on to detail the concerns over neonictinoid insecticides, which imidacloprid is, being applied to critical marine ecosystems of Washington. It clearly defines why it is premature to grant a permit and states clearly that DOE has not provided a "..structure for a robust integrated pest management program."

In its conclusion it states: "Ecology has not adequately justified the use of imidacloprid, especially not the expanded acreage currently proposed."

The letter is supported by the Audubon Washington, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat, Friends of the Earth, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.

Citizens need to make clear to agencies the shellfish industry today is not what it was when the Shoreline Management Act was created in the early 1970's. It can no longer say it is a "preferred use" and simply do as it pleases. Get involved. The shellfish industry is, and has been for too long.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat Submits Comments on DNR's Aquatic Habitat Conservation Plan

Comments are due today, December 4
Make a difference - get involved.

Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat provides in depth comments on DNR's Habitat Conservation Plan. We encourage you to submit an email stating your support for these comments, which includes managing the subtidal aquatic lands for all of the state's citizens and tribal members.
Email your support to:

See comment paper here:
Attachments referenced in comment paper are found here:

Make a difference in how the future of Washington's aquatic lands are managed. Contributions to the Coalition, a non-profit 501c3 are tax deductible. 

Mail contributions to:
The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat
PO Box 228
Vaughn, WA 98394-0228.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

DNR Aquatic Habitat Conservation Plan: Comments Due December 4

Comments due December 4
Tell DNR to manage the state's subtidal
aquatic lands for the benefit of everyone,
not just a few corporations
selling geoduck to China.

Comments on Washington's Aquatic Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) are due December 4. They can be emailed to WFWOComments@fws.gov. In the subject line of the email, please include the identifier: WDNR Aquatic Lands HCP DEIS.

Details are found on DNR's site here:

4 million pounds of geoduck per year are "clearcut" from Washington's subtidal area
There are many facets to managing the state's aquatic lands, but as it relates to geoducks and the subtidal areas, it is not being "managed." It is simply extracting 4 million pounds of geoduck each year and hoping the "clearcut" subtidal areas will naturally recruit, and perhaps in 40 years a new "crop" will be ready to harvest.
Clear cutting is not managing
Unlike state and private forest lands, there is no requirement to replant geoduck after harvesting the subtidal areas. On forestlands, DNR does not wait for seeds to slowly spread over lands clearcut, they require operators and land owners to replant them. By managing the forests in this manner crop rotation is shortened dramatically. Trees are available to begin harvesting in as little as 25 years, not 70 plus years. It is called management, something DNR's aquatic division is lacking.
40 years from now Puget Sound's waters will not be the same
To wait 40 years is short sighted and misguided, benefiting in the short term a few shellfish companies who are forcing geoduck into the intertidal areas in unnatural densities, excluding other species. Predator nets further exclude species who had relied on these intertidal areas as a food source. Limiting supply by waiting 40 years is not in the statewide interest and DNR needs to be told so. 40 years from now Puget Sound's waters will be far different than they are now and DNR needs to recognize that.
If you can do this  you can replant
To see a subtidal harvest, you may view this clip on YouTube (harvesting starts ~6 minutes):
If you can do this you can replant.
Get involved - the shellfish industry is 
Tell Washington's Department of Natural Resources it is time to manage the state's aquatic lands like the forest lands and force the subtidal tracks being "clearcut" of 4 million pounds of geoduck annually to be replanted instead of waiting 40+ years for recruitment. If divers are able to harvest geoduck they can replant them, in the areas they grow naturally, instead of forcing them into the intertidal area with PVC pipes and nets. As practiced now it's not management, it's extraction. Tell them it's time to act in the state's interest, not for the benefit of a few shellfish companies.

From DNR's website: 
How can I comment on the proposed Aquatic Lands Habitat Conservation Plan?
Send written comments to: Tim Romanski, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 510 Desmond Drive SE, Suite 102, Lacey, Washington 98503; OR Scott Anderson, NOAA Fisheries, 510 Desmond Drive SE, Suite 103, Lacey, Washington 98503. Comments also may be submitted by e-mail, to WFWOComments@fws.gov. In the subject line of the email, please include the identifier: WDNR Aquatic Lands HCP DEIS.
All comments must be received no later than December 4, 2014.

Monday, December 1, 2014

(Update 12/4: Case Dropped) Tomales Bay Oyster Company: “This case is dead in the water.”

Update 12/4: The Tomales Bay Oyster Company and friends have dropped their case. Unknown is where the near $20,000 raised on indiegogo and other donations solicited by Sarah Rolph from Carlisle, MA will end up. Donors may want to ask. (see Press Democrat for article)

"Like a tenant suing a landlord
over the eviction of another tenant
from the same building."
Press Democrat, November 30, 2014
The Press Democrat writes about the final lawsuit being played out in court over the closure of Drakes Bay Oyster Company in California. In that case, filed by Tomales Bay Oyster Company and others, the government has moved for dismissal as Drakes Bay Oyster Company has agreed to cease operating in the Phillip Burton Wilderness Area on December 31. That dismissal hearing, should it occur, will be held February 10.
The article notes Heather Bussing, an Occidental attorney and Empire College of Law instructor, saying the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would be obligated to hear an appeal of the Government's moving to dismiss the case in Superior Court. However, as it also notes, because DBOC has signed a settlement agreement it is the equivalent of a tenant suing a landlord over the eviction of another tenant from the same building, a tenant who has agreed to the terms of eviction. She is quoted in the article as saying: "This case is dead in the water."
Stuart Gross, the attorney for Tomales Bay Oyster Company and the others, sent an email stating that "...he was leaving for Hong Kong and could not comment." Mr. Gross was told by Superior Court's Judge Gonzales-Rogers she had considered filing sanctions against Mr. Gross for submitting a case for which there was a "complete lack of merit."

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Taylor Shellfish: Further Negotiations Would not Be Fruitful, Refuses County Monitoring Plan

What is Taylor Shellfish worried monitoring of their proposed 58 raft mussel farm will reveal?

(From https://www.facebook.com/ProtectOurShoreline)

Taylor Shellfish Refuses Thurston County Monitoring Plan for Mussel Rafts: It's called Puget Sound, not Taylor Shellfish Sound, and it is "...the most valuable and fragile of its natural resources..." (RCW 90.58.020, Shoreline Management Act) What is Taylor Shellfish afraid of?

Taylor Shellfish has complained about the time it has taken to obtain a permit for a 58 raft mussel farm near the mouth of Totten Inlet. Now that the permit has been approved, Taylor Shellfish has refused to agree to a monitoring plan which would ensure its operation would not adversely impact the marine habitat.
Read letter from Taylor Shellfish's attorney here:

Initially the hearing examiner for Thurston County said a cumulative impacts analysis would be required. Taylor Shellfish appealed to Thurston County who denied the appeal. Taylor Shellfish then appealed to the Shorelines Hearings Board who reversed the denial but required a monitoring plan, developed by Thurston County, as part of the approval. The permit approval was appealed by APHETI to Superior Court but lost that appeal. Taylor Shellfish did not appeal the monitoring requirement then. They now refuse to agree to the monitoring plan required by the Shorelines Hearings Board.
Read SHB decision here (monitoring Taylor refuses is on p.33):

Taylor Shellfish continues to believe it may do as it pleases when it pleases wherever it pleases in Puget Sound. The reality of Taylor Shellfish and others who hide behind them is clear: deep pockets from extracting geoduck from Puget Sound's marine habitat for the Chinese affords them the luxury of hiring attorneys to file appeal after appeal, hoping they will wear down those less fortunate than them, allowing them to proceed headlong in achieving their vision of Puget Sound being nothing more than a shellfish "factory" for their family's corporation to grow wealthy from. At the expense of what citizens of Washington consider "...the most valuable and fragile of its natural resources..." (RCW 90.58.020, Shoreline Management Act)

Get involved. Tell Thurston County you support their requirement of monitoring. Tell Governor Inslee he is on the wrong side of protecting what the Shoreline Management Act is intended to protect, for everyone: the treasure Puget Sound's marine habitat provides for everyone, not just Taylor Shellfish and their family.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Burley Lagoon: Demand Letters Sent to Pierce County and Washington State Attorney General From Coalition Attorney

If you ignore them they will not go away,
they will only become more focused.
 In the beginning:
"The purpose of this letter is to request that the Pierce County government [and Washington Attorney General] take action to strictly enforce current Pierce County regulations which prohibit any aquaculture activities on the shorelines of the State without a valid permit, and to impose the appropriate penalties that both State laws and Pierce County -regulations require, including prosecution of responsible Taylor Shellfish Company and/or its employees for a criminal misdemeanor pursuant to RCW 90.58.212." November 18, 2014 letter to Pierce County and Washington's Attorney General from Mr. Tienson

Demands for action will not go away
The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat, Friends of Burley Lagoon, and concerned individuals have had their attorney send letters to the Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist, and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy  demanding action be taken against Taylor Shellfish's unauthorized and unpermitted activities which have been occurring in Burley Lagoon since April of 2012. The letters were written by attorney Thane Tienson, with the law firm of Landeye Bennett Blumstein in Portland, Oregon, and detail how Pierce County has turned a blind eye to citizens' complaints about Taylor Shellfish greatly expanding operations within Burley Lagoon. (attachments referenced in the letters above are found here; individual letters are found by clicking on links above)
You wouldn't question grandfather would you?
When Pierce County was asked to produce permits which allowed Taylor Shellfish to expand activities within Burley Lagoon, Pierce County responded: "There are no formal permits to produce as this has been a use that has been grandfathered." For reasons detailed in the demand letters, Mr. Tienson states: "Only the first portion of this statement from PALS is supported by the facts..." (no permits). All Pierce County has on record of something being "grandfathered" is a 1988 letter written to tideland owner Mr. Yamashita (Western Oyster Company) which described "floating oyster culture." However, the letter also states: "should Western Oyster wish to expand the operation in Burley Lagoon, Pierce County will require the obtaining of all shoreline permits and approvals."
Just because your car had a current license when you parked it in a garage 5 years ago doesn't mean it's current now.
In December of 2007 Western Oyster stopped reporting any shellfish harvests to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, something it had done on a regular monthly basis between 1986 and December of 2007, after which nothing harvested from Burley Lagoon was reported until 2012, then by Taylor Shellfish. Washington law is clear in requiring shellfish growers to report their harvests, including registered farm numbers, names of shellfish harvested, and the amounts harvested. Mr. Tienson also notes Washington and County regulations are clear in stating if a "nonconforming use activity ceases for more than one year, any restarting of that activity requires issuance of a new permit under any new rules that thereafter were adopted (WAC 173-27-080; PCC 20.72.060)." Western Oyster ceased reporting any harvests after 2007. Taylor Shellfish cannot, 5 years later, start up a nonconforming activity without permits.
He waved his arm and said this is what you are buying. Oops, he didn't own it to sell.
When Taylor Shellfish was found to be growing geoduck on state tidelands in Totten Inlet which it didn't own, they claimed the seller of the tidelands told them it was theirs to sell. This excuse was dismissed by the Attorney General. Likewise, Taylor Shellfish cannot now claim they were an "innocent purchaser" under PCC 18.140.023(D) when they began leasing tidelands in Burley Lagoon.
We're just making it disappear or look different, so we don't need a permit.
Part of Taylor Shellfish's unpermitted operations in Burley Lagoon included dismantling many of the >45,000 square feet of floats in Burley Lagoon and replacing a minor amount. Taylor Shellfish did not have the luxury of simply telling Pierce County it was "still within the footprint and use of the historical exemptions." As Mr. Tienson's letter shows with clarity, any exemption which may have existed ended long ago. Pierce County chose not to act, despite citizen complaints of unpermitted activities.
Pierce County's gumshoe investigation, without shoes (or gum?).
In June of 2014, Pierce County concluded its investigation of complaints from citizens about Taylor Shellfish's unpermitted activities in Burley Lagoon. At its foundation lay the belief that Taylor Shellfish was already authorized to be in the Lagoon. Had the investigator put on his shoes and taken a walk he would have discovered, for reasons detailed in Mr. Tienson's letter, that Taylor Shellfish had no authorization, permits, nor use rights of any nature to be operating as they were and still are.
In the end
In summation, Mr. Tienson ends with this closure:
"In sum, Taylor Shellfish has no authorization or valid permits of any sort which would authorize it to be in Burley Lagoon for any reason, let alone for a large industrial-scale commercial geoduck farm. Pierce County Code and Washington State laws demand that its unlawful operations and activities be halted immediately, that it be required to remove its equipment and materials and floats from the Lagoon, and allow the Lagoon to begin the slow process of recovering to its original condition. Costs for the Lagoon's recovery should be borne by Taylor Shellfish, as required by PCC 18.140.050(G).
"Finally, since Taylor Shellfish is in violation of several provisions of State and County law. We also request that any evaluation activity by PALS personnel on Taylor Shellfish's geoduck permit application that is currently under review be halted immediately."
It is called Puget Sound, not Taylor Shellfish Sound for a reason
Puget Sound is a treasure providing habitat for a diversity of species, some found only in the northwest. It was not meant to be a habitat for a few large companies to transform, used to create a treasure chest for themselves.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Non-native Pacific Oyster Hatcheries' New Problem - For Now

The progression of blame for
non-native Pacific oyster hatchery problems:
Vibrio Tubiashi>Ocean Acidification>Vibrio coralliilyticus>?
Old bacteria, newest blame
Vibrio coralliilyticus
(from 2003 study in Applied and
So many Vibrio to choose from
Shellfish hatcheries in the northwest trying to grow non-native Pacific oysters now have a new source of their trouble to point their fingers at: Vibrio coralliilyticus (Vc). In the years past, the bacterium Vibrio tubiashi (Vt) was believed to have been the source of hatchery die-offs, but Oregon State University now says there was a mis-identification. In a press release today, OSU states Vc is "the primary offender in bacterial attacks on Pacific Northwest oyster larvae."
Far more widespread and the primary offender
In announcing the mis-identification, OSU noted Vc is not only "...far more widespread than previously believed, but that it can infect a variety of fish, shellfish and oysters, including rainbow trout and larval brine shrimp. And it appears to be the primary offender in bacterial attacks on Pacific Northwest oyster larvae."
Sometimes a non-native species just
shouldn't be where we want it to be.
One piece of the puzzle about why non-native oyster hatcheries have a problem
Trying to grow the non-native Pacific oyster from Japan in the colder waters of Puget Sound has always been a challenge for the shellfish industry. Large sums of taxpayer money has been spent to overcome one perceived problem after another. Genetically modifying the species so they become sterile only adds a level of stress to a species out of its normal environ. OSU notes there are multiple problems in saying:
In what's now understood to be a problem with multiple causes, these pathogenic bacteria were involved in major crashes of oyster hatcheries, causing shortages in seed oysters for commercial producers. Dramatic losses were suffered in a Netarts Bay, Oregon, hatchery in 2005, and Washington hatcheries were also hard hit. Bacterial infection, water acidity, oxygen depletion and rising seawater temperatures are all believed to have been part of the problem.
Something to consider is the problem lies not with the waters of Puget Sound and the northwest, but instead it's in trying to force a non-native species into Puget Sound and other areas of the northwest. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tell Congress to Protect Our National Parks

2016 is the Centennial Celebration
of the National Parks System
Get involved in helping to ensure the National Park Service has the congressional support it needs. Click here to tell your Senators and Representatives you support the protection and funding of the National Parks for future generations. You can send the form letter as is, or better, add your own personal comments on why National Parks are important. Show your support by getting involved.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster: Black Helicopters Sighted About Point Reyes National Seashore

[Update 11/13: Portion of Hog Island lease in Tomales Bay closed by California Department of Health due to fecal coliform. (see Point Reyes Light article - requires subscription) Despite claims from Corey Goodman and Peter Prows of how well oysters filter water of fecal coliform, Tomales Bay tells another story. Hog Island Oyster has had a portion of its lease area closed to harvesting due to elevated levels of fecal coliform. This despite an abundance of oysters in Tomales Bay. Mr. Goodman and his sheep farm, along with other cattle ranchers along the shorelines of Tomales Bay, might consider where the pressure to clean up their discharges into the bay is going to be coming from. It will not be their bogey men written about in their October 6 article.] 

Peter Prows and Corey Goodman Claim Protect Our Shoreline
Part of Some Scheme to Eliminate Agriculture
on Point Reyes National Seashore

Flights of fantasy - no charge
In what borders on hyperbolic exclamations of paranoia, Peter Prows and Corey Goodman have claimed this blog site is somehow part of a scheme to eliminate cattle ranching on Point Reyes National Seashore. Quoting from an October 6 post in which it was suggested an opportunity exits to see how effective oysters are in clearing the water, when harvesting of planted oysters is completed at the end of the year, they instead use Glen Beck logic to make this site part of a "master plan" whose sole purpose is to eliminate ranching from Point Reyes Seashore. To be clear, this site is not part of a "plan" to end cattle ranching or sheep farming on Point Reyes or nearby.

They're coming after your minds.
Get your tinfoil hats out!

Control the press, you control their minds -  and willingness to speak of written memories?
Mr. Prows and Mr. Goodman have put in their minds, and now in printed words through the Point Reyes Light (which Mr. Goodman's Marin Media Institue purchased in 2010), a story of such fantasy it puts in question what legal or investing advice flows from the two authors. In their co-authored piece, retired (2003) superintendent of Channel Islands National Park Tim Setnicka and Santa Rosa Island are referred to. In a recent speech (which the PRL said "sometimes sounded like a conspiracy") Mr. Setnicka referred to a $28 million sale by Vail and Vickers Company of Santa Rosa Island which allowed occupancy for 25 years. In 2011, what had evolved into a private hunting reserve for wealthy clients, the lease came to an end and the National Park Service allowed Santa Rosa Island to become available to all citizens. Mr. Setnicka, Mr. Goodman, and Mr. Prows apparently feel the agreement signed between the Vail and Vickers Company, who chose to convert the island to a private hunting reserve in 1998, somehow makes clear ranching on Point Reyes National Seashore is doomed. Not clarified by Mr. Setnicka in his speech was while it may have taken him from 2003 until October of this year to "speak" of his "conspiracy" belief, he did write a 3 part series for the Sanata Barbara News-Press in 2006.

Nov. 11: Nita Vail to speak of the olden days.
 Nita Vail as a child on Santa Rosa Island

From the horse's mouth - November 11
Perhaps some clarity to just what went on with the Vail family's hunting reserve and the National Park Service, including what role Mr. Setnicka played while employed by the Park Service, will be heard on November 11 when Nita Vail, daughter of the family whose lease ended in 2011, speaks at West Marin School. Ms. Vail may also be willing to discuss who it is that invited her and Mr. Setnicka to speak and perhaps shed some light on the $28 million agreement signed over 25 years ago by the Vail and Vickers Company. She may also be willing to comment on testimony before Congress by Vail family member Tim Vail in 2007 which included:
 To ease in the transition,[to a National Park] part of the island’s sale included an important provision to allow the V&V [Vail and Vickers] cattle and wildlife operations to continue within the Park through the year 2011. Specifically the family was given a 25-year lease on a 7-acre parcel with right of use and occupancy. Separately, V&V was promised by the Park Service the cattle and wildlife operations were to continue for 25 years through the use of mutually agreed upon successive 5-year Special Use Permits.
Know your enemy - or who at least who it is
It is best for the Point Reyes Light to steer from the speculation and conspiracy theories submitted by others about who cattle ranchers and sheep farmers should fear. Were they to spend a small amount of time researching water quality, they would find it is the shellfish industry's concerns about clean water the cattle ranchers and sheep farmers should fear. It is not this site.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Taylor Shellfish and Geoduck Farming, Welcome to Clallam County

"Don’t see major issues with proposal."
Greg Ballard, Senior Planner for Clallam County

 Taylor Shellfish proposes a 30 acre geoduck farm on Dungeness Farm's tideland parcel. The proposal is adjacent to the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge to the west and designated Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas to the south. Taylor Shellfish apparently feels that expanding the wilderness area on the Olympic Peninsula is fine, as long as they are able to populate the tidelands with PVC.
[Note: This site is an avid supporter of wilderness, including the expansion of wilderness areas on the Olympic Peninsula. To not include the intertidal areas in the Wild Olympics proposal is short sighted. Bill Taylor fully supports the program "so that shellfish companies can continue to grow."]

The proposal describes how they would have a 14 year transformation of tidelands occurring. Up to 5 acres each year would be planted, meaning that after the 2nd year, at any one time, over 10 acres of PVC pipes and netting would cover areas in these tidelands. The parcel is leased through 2028, paying to Dungeness Farms 10% of the revenues and a small amount for acreage planted until harvest. The rest of the revenue generated for geoduck exported to China goes directly to Taylor Shellfish.
[Note: Seattle Shellfish has recently signed a lease which pays 30% to the tideland owner. The owners of Dungeness Farms may want to ask Taylor Shellfish about that.]
There is no description of when harvesting would occur or how much would occur, leaving only speculation to how much sediment would be disturbed. Also left to speculation is what number of wildlife which has become dependent on the Wildlife Refuge and Habitat Conservation areas will become ensnared in the "predator exclusion" netting.

Did any of the preceding help Clallam County
see any major issues?

The JARPA application and other documents submitted to the county may be found here:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Kitsap County: November 17, County to Discuss Department of Ecology's Conditionally Approved SMP update

Kitsap County will hold a meeting November 17 to discuss Ecology's conditionally approved Shoreline Master Program update. Both required and recommended changes will be available at the meeting, or are available on Ecology's web site. As a result of Taylor Shellfish's attorney, much of the regulatory oversight of aquaculture has been minimized.

Aquaculture gear provides "habitat"
so should not need a "burdensome" permit.
(p.3, 2012 letter)

Unlike aquaculture gear, Japanese eelgrass
is a "weed", not a food source for migratory birds,
habitat for other species, or something to sequester CO2.

 Date:  November 4, 2014
 Contact:  David Greetham, Planner Supervisor Kitsap County DCD  
  dgreetha@co.kitsap.wa.us or 360.337.5777
No:  2014-126 

 Kitsap County to Host Open House on Final Shoreline Master Program (SMP)
County to host an open house on Department of Ecology SMP conditional approval and Ecology’s required and recommended changes. 
(Port Orchard, WA)   The Kitsap County Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Update received conditional approval by the Department of Ecology on October 2, 2014. The Kitsap Board of County Commissioners wishes to provide the public an opportunity to view the required and recommended changes before they take final action to adopt the SMP.

Kitsap County will host an open house on Monday, November 17 from 5:00-6:00pm at the Silverdale Community Center, Evergreen Room.  Copies of the Department of Ecology Conditional Approval letter and display copies of the Kitsap SMP will be available at the open house. These documents can also be accessed via the Kitsap SMP website, www.kitsapshoreline.org.

The Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to hold a hearing on adopting the Ecology approval conditions on Monday, November 24th at their regular business meeting (5:30pm, Kitsap County Administration Building, Port Orchard).  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pierce County SMP Update: Final Council Hearing Delayed Until Early 2015, Geoduck Expansion Continues

Taylor Shellfish is "troubled." Kitsap County experiences
the geoduck industry's dislike of permits.

Pierce County SMP Update Council Hearing Put Off Until Early 2015
Pierce County has announced its final Council hearing on its updated Shoreline Master Program (SMP) will not occur until early 2015. Comments will continue to be accepted, as will public testimony at the final hearing (click here to comment). To see amendments proposed click here. To see the draft SMP, click here. To see Taylor Shellfish's 156 page document written by their attorney describing why they are "troubled" by the amendments, click here (10mb file).

Marine habitat or PVC?
Seattle Shellfish/Taylor Shellfish/Haley
Geoduck proposal

Older SMP Suits Industry Just Fine - Better than Almond Roca for Christmas 
In the interim the geoduck industry has continued to press for expansion in Pierce County under the old SMP. Most recently, a permit allowing 11 acres of intertidal habitat has been approved for Seattle Shellfish and Taylor Shellfish, the two largest geoduck operators in Washington. The joint project on tidelands owned by both, and by the Haley (Almond Roca) family, is a clear indication of the cooperation between the companies to ensure expansion occurs under the older, more lenient SMP, under terms they find acceptable. A delay of the more "troubling" updated SMP may be a Christmas gift the industry wants.

Kent Kingman's Unpermitted Shellfish Operation
(Mr. Kingman owns Minterbrook Oyster)
To be operated by Taylor Shellfish
So Good You Can't Have Just One - Taylor Shellfish, Picking up Pieces of the King
Among a myriad of other proposals in Pierce County, Taylor Shellfish has also proposed a 25 acre geoduck farm in Burley Lagoon, a small embayment located west of Gig Harbor. Taylor Shellfish has also been chosen to be the operator of Kent Kingman's unpermitted shellfish operation on tidelands he owns (Mr. Kingman is also the new owner of Minterbrook Oyster). The resolution of Mr. Kingman's various violations is currently being worked through by both Taylor Shellfish and Mr. Kingman  (click here to read Pierce County's June 3, 2014 letter to Taylor Shellfish requesting additional information and describing some of Mr. Kingman's violations). (See earlier post for additional details on Mr. Kingman's various shoreline violations.) Located ~2 miles south of the Haley operation, this too would fit well with Seattle Shellfish's hatchery and nursery facilities, ~2 miles to the west in Spencer Cove on Harstine Island.

Geoduck tubes and oyster tumblers.
Oops, did I need a permit?

A Philosophy Spreading into Kitsap County - "New Day Fisheries" (owned by Scott and Joni Kimmel)
Recently Kitsap County began to experience the philosophy of its being "easier to ask forgiveness than ask for permission" some industry members practice. Rather than apply for a permit, New Day Fisheries operators chose instead to simply install PVC tubes last summer into tidelands owned by the Baldwin family, and plant them with geoduck. When reported to the county, instead of being required to pull the unpermitted tubes, New Day Fisheries apparently said they were sorry, and that in addition to the 3,000 unpermitted PVC tubes they were also going to populate another 35,000 square feet with PVC tubes, and "oyster tumblers" on another 27,000 square feet of tidelands (see image above). Kitsap County told the Kimmels and the Baldwin family, the latter being the tideland owners, they do in fact need permits. That permit process has begun with an initial comment period on a SEPA decision of a mitigated determination of non-significance ending November 6, and a public hearing scheduled for January 8. The permit information may be found by clicking here. Unclear is how the lateral boundaries of the tideland parcel were determined. What is clear is the plasticizing of Puget Sound's tidelands is spreading north. Contact/permit information may be found here:

The application file may be examined at the Department of Community Development, 614 Division Street, Port Orchard, Washington, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Fridays 9:00 a.m. through 1:00 p.m., except holidays. The staff person assigned to this project is Lisa Lewis and may be contacted at (360) 337-5777. Lisa's email is: llewis@co.kitsap.wa.us
This is not in the "statewide interest"
and should be stopped.

"Statewide interest" or just in the interest of a few geoduck operators plasticizing Puget Sound's intertidal area?
Geoduck growers transforming Puget Sound's intertidal areas claim geoduck sold to China in order to satisfy their emotional belief of its bestowing virility, like shark fin soup or Black rhinoceros horns, is in the "statewide interest."  They claim their industry is a "preferred use" and as such should be allowed to use any methods with minimal regulatory oversight. Through well crafted public relations efforts and well paid attorneys they have to date succeeded in convincing agencies this is somehow good for Puget Sound. It is not.

Governor Inslee and Taylor Shellfish's Bill Dewey

Politics is messy, but it need not be gooey.
Governor Inslee has turned his eyes towards fundraising and sees a large pool of money available to support his campaign and those of others with help from the shellfish industry. Politics is messy, but it need not be gooey. Tell the governor geoduck farming is not in the statewide interest and populating Puget Sound's intertidal areas with PVC pipes is not a "preferred use" allowed under the Shoreline Management Act. Click here to contact the governor.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Taylor Shellfish/Seattle Shellfish Haley Geoduck Farm Permit Approved (was Ocean Acidification an issue to consider?)

Pierce County Hearing Examiner
Approves Haley Geoduck Farm Permit
Denies MDNS Appeal
Geoduck Farm on Haley Family
Tidelands in Case Inlet
On October 21, Pierce County's Deputy Hearing Examiner Edward McGuire issued a decision on the appeal of a Mitigated Determination of Non-significance (MDNS) and shoreline permit for a geoduck farm operated by the two largest geoduck growers, Taylor Shellfish and Seattle Shellfish, on tidelands owned by the Haley family and themselves.
MDNS Appeal: Industry Witnesses "More Persuasive"
In that decision Mr. McGuire found the challenges to the MDNS decision by the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound and neighbors were either "without merit", did not establish a "probable significant adverse impact", "failed to carry their burden of proof", and had witnesses who were "overshadowed by Applicant's witnesses pertaining to specific field experience, knowledge, and expertise in geoduck aquaculture; and were thus more persuasive." Despite Seattle Shellfish building a shellfish hatchery to the west on the shoreline of Harstine Island's Spencer Cove, operating a shellfish nursery over 100 yards long within Spencer Cove, and operating numerous geoduck farms in Spencer Cove, along with those in Case Inlet, the Hearing Examiner felt he was not presented with sufficient evidence to warrant requiring a cumulative impacts analysis.
Shoreline Permit: Approved with Conditions, Some added or Modified
Beginning on page 30 of the decision the Examiner lists the Conditions which are to be made part of the permit. Added is that a "status report" must be submitted every 2 years, listing all conditions of the permit and that an aquatic vegetation survey be completed "following issuance of the SDP", used to determine farm boundaries and to "reflect any changes between issuance of the SDP and planting." With conditions listed and as modified the Examiner believes the permit approval will meet all requirements.
Consumption of carbonate ions by CO2's
absorption impedes calcification.

Absorption of fewer carbonate ions by
increased high density shellfish farming
 will impede calcification in all species.
(image from NOAA)
Is what's good for the shellfish industry good for Puget Sound?
Ocean Acidification - Shellfish initiatives and CO2 absorption are bad for native species.
Not considered is what impact expansion of high density shellfish "farming" will have on chemical changes resulting from what is being promoted by the shellfish industry as a threat to its survival: Ocean Acidification. In the image provided by NOAA, it is seen that CO2 being absorbed by the marine waters is altering its chemical makeup, resulting in what Taylor Shellfish's Bill Dewey says are "fewer carbonate ions" required for shellfish. It is these carbonate ions which all species who require calcification to grow, whether it be shells or bones, are dependent on.
Pteropod shell dissolution
Shell dissolution on native pteropods
A study published August 27, 2014 by NOAA's Shalene Busch, shows pteropods native to Puget Sound, and an important link in the oceanic food chain:

"experiences shell dissolution and altered mortality rates when exposed to the high CO2, low aragonite saturation state (Va) conditions that occur in Puget Sound and the northeast Pacific Ocean." [click here for study]
Is what's good for the shellfish industry good for Puget Sound?  What will be the impact of the Washington and National Shellfish Initiatives on the native species of Puget Sound as those high density plantings "sop up" the fewer carbonate ions? There's something for Sea Grant, the University of Washington and Governor Inslee to ponder, along with other Hearing Examiners, the Shorelines Hearings Board, and judges.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sierra Club Calls on Governor Inslee to Roll Back the Shellfish Initiative

Click here to join with the Sierra Club to tell Governor Inslee the shellfish initiative's transformation of Puget Sound's intertidal habitat area is not in the statewide interest. Get involved.  The shellfish industry is.
Speak up to Protect Shorelines and Wildlife
from Unlimited Expansion of Industrial Aquaculture
PVC pipes for geoducks shipped to China.
Plasticizing Puget Sound's intertidal area 
is not in the "state wide interest."
Join with the Sierra Club in calling on Governor Inslee to roll back the shellfish initiative before it results in the transformation of the intertidal habitat area into one populated with PVC pipes, grow-out bags and other structures used in the industrial production of shellfish. The shellfish initiative is not healthy for this fragile habitat area, unique to Puget Sound, and upon which a diversity of species depend on for survival.

Grow-out bags for non-native oysters.
Grow-out bags leave nothing
but scoured sediments when removed.
Get involved. The shellfish industry is generating millions of dollars in profits from growing geoducks shipped to China. They are using those profits for their attorneys, lobbyists and public relations firms to craft an image which will result in a permanent transformation of a habitat area unique to Washington's Puget Sound. It is what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to protect and is not in the statewide interest.

Governor Inslee and Taylor Shellfish
lobbyist Bill Dewey.
The things that money can buy.
Plastic pollution - Over 40,000 PVC pipes per acre are stomped i

Plastic pollution - Over 40,000 PVC pipes per acre are stomped into the beach for geoduck planting.

Take Action