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:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Should these buildings be saved for beef jerky?

Update 8/14: Ranchers leave organization after DBOC owner Kevin Lunny mails letters without consulting other ranchers, purporting to represent the Association.
In protest of letters and documents being mailed without consulting ranchers who belong to the Point Reyes Seashore Ranchers Association, over half of the members have resigned. It has come to light that the letter referenced below, asking the Drakes Bay Oyster Company "cannery" buildings be retained, was mailed by a sub-committee headed by Kevin Lunny whose ranch would benefit the most. Another document referenced in the resignation letter was one which had additional comments added which were reported to have been written by Drakes Bay Oyster Company attorneys, added after the original document had been signed off on by members, again without consulting other members.
Copied below is the resignation letter and explanatory comment from the West Marin Citizen social media site, followed by an image of where the ranches are located. Cut off from the bottom is the following:
"But reckless is how Drakes Bay Oyster Company has behaved, disregarding the ranchers with whom they share our publicly owned Point Reyes Peninsula."
Copy of resignation letter sent to the Association.
(click to enlarge)
Ranches circled in red are no longer members.
*The "Rogers Ranch" is part of the M Ranch.
Beef jerky for sale on Drakes Estero. Will
the Department of Health allow a change of use?
Outlet for beef products is proposed on Drakes Estero
The National Park Service has been asked to prevent the buildings used by Drakes Bay Oyster Company from being disassembled. The Point Reyes Seashore Ranchers Association is requesting NPS consider retaining the buildings which include processing facilities, a small retail stand, housing and trailers, and restroom facilities. It is felt by the Association the retail outlet could be used to sell beef products such as beef jerky, the restroom and running water could be used by kayakers and visitors, and the housing could be used by ranch workers or others looking for inexpensive housing in west Marin County.
Structures in disrepair seen at high tide,
a level which will only rise with time and storms.
Are these buildings worth saving?
As seen above the buildings have not been kept in the best of shape by the current tenant. The expense of repairing and making safe any of the structures is unknown, as is who would incur the cost. Perhaps more important is the rising sea level, something which already results in the retail outlet being flooded at the higher tides, as seen above and below in pictures taken last December. 
High tide, on a calm day, in December 2013
floods the building. The public
restroom facility is seen in the background.
Water and restrooms on a rising tide - a healthy proposition?
As noted above, included in the suggestion is retaining the retail outlet and the public restroom facility and running fresh water. The latter are felt to be useful for kayakers and others who visit the site. In addition to the location's remote location is the that higher tides already flood the retail facility and, as seen above, come close to doing the same for the public restrooms. Agencies responsible for food and water safety will all need to consider whether these buildings are worth saving.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pierce County Shoreline Master Program Update, July 21 Meeting Video Available

Update 7/30: We see what we want when we want
As noted below, Chelsea Farms spoke before Pierce County about all of the barnacles, crabs, etc. which grew on their tubes used for geoduck planting. Neglected was  the reality that those tubes are only in long enough for those species to take hold, 12 to 18 months, after which the tubes are removed. Harvesting take place 3 years later, with the effects being described as nothing more than a storm, neglecting to point out that storms do not liquefy 3' of sediments.

Tubes in place on a Chelsea geoduck farm.
Waiting for barnacles, crabs and seaweed.
Where did all those barnacles,
little crabs and seaweed go?
The moonscape left from harvesting.
"Just a storm." Really?

Note: Next meeting August 4.

July 21, Pierce County's Community Development Committee was held during which numerous amendments to the Shoreline Master Program were considered, including those regarding aquaculture. The full meeting may be seen by clicking here. Various amendments may be found by clicking here. Not all amendments were able to be acted on.

Some of the highlights included:

While Taylor Shellfish and Chelsea Farms were opposed to the amendment 8 it was passed by the committee. One of the more interesting comments regarded how the Public Trust Doctrine would be considered by the county through the review made available by a Conditional Use Permit. Testimony begins at 35:00 with Taylor Shellfish speaking at 37:36.

Public testimony for amendment 9 which would effect aquaculture begins at 76:45.

Aesthetics and water quality should not
be cause for banning aquaculture.
Taylor Shellfish
Cumulative impacts analysis is too expensive
for small farmers, therefor should not be required.

Please, don't enact things, unless
it would help the industry.
Trout Lodge
Nobody contacted us.

So much life is created - 
- at least for a while.
Comment: We see what we want when we want
Chelsea Farm's representative spoke movingly about how much life is created from the PVC tubes used in geoduck cultivation. Seaweed, barnacles, and crabs all took advantage of the PVC tubes and netting. Even greater, flocks of geese were now present to take advantage of the seaweed growing on the artificial structures. And of course, there are the "baby geoducks" taking advantage of the tubes. However, what wasn't mentioned is what happens to all that life which took advantage of the tubes and netting when those structures are stripped from the tidelands. It points out the weakness in the studies which were performed by the University of Washington. They look at a single point in time and not the ongoing transformations which occur on regular cycles.
Little  homes for little critters for a little while.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bee-killing Imidacloprid Banned in Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington Wildlife Refuges by Fish and Wildlife Service; DOE - "Spray on"

Will Seattle's organic restaurants
react to the shellfish industry's demand
that the Department of Ecology allow
imidacloprid to be sprayed in Willapa Bay?
In one incident 50,000 bumblebees were killed
by imidacloprid in Oregon.

(from Seattle Organic Restaurants)

Use of Imidacloprid to be banned by Fish and Wildlife Service in Wildlife Refuges
Effective January 1, 2016, the Fish and Wildlife Service will no longer allow neonicotinoid pesticides, which imidacloprid is, to be used in any agricultural activity within a wildlife refuge. A press release from the Center for Biological Diversity noted the FWS is the first government agency to issue such a ban. The CBD noted:
The ban will affect nearly 9,000 acres of farmed wildlife refuge lands, limiting the toxic effects of neonicotinoids on pollinators, birds and ecosystems. The Fish and Wildlife Service has also announced that prior to the ban going into effect in 2016, refuge managers must exhaust all alternatives before allowing neonicotinoids to be used on refuges and also must analyze whether neonicotinoid use would harm species protected under the Endangered Species Act. (underline for emphasis)

Washington's Department of Ecology:
"Spray On"
Aerial spraying and hand application
in Willapa Bay will begin Saturday, July 26
Washington's Department of Ecology announces spraying of Imidacloprid to begin in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor - thank you shellfish industry
While the FWS has announced the ban, on July 25 the Department of Ecology released a statement announcing it will, instead, begin the aerial and hand application of imidacloprid in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor to "control" the native burrowing shrimp which the shellfish industry has found to be an inconvenience. Instead of using above ground growing techniques the shellfish industry has instead simply said "we can only spray chemicals."
Wouldn't you really want
to go eat something else
somewhere else?
Green sturgeon
One less native species to worry about so non-native shellfish may be grown
These native species, a primary food source for Green Sturgeon and other native species, soften sediments and make growing oysters difficult. Japanese eelgrass also finds soft sediments difficult to grow in so when the burrowing shrimp are gone sediments firm and Japanese eelgrass takes hold. This in turn creates another perceived problem for the shellfish industry which they claim requires an additional chemical application, imazamox, a separate permit process DOE is working through for the shellfish industry. All to be able to grow non-native Pacific oysters and non-native manila clams.
"What is that taste from?"
"It's the water."
(thank you for that, Olympia beer)

One more ingredient added to the "chemical soup" which gives a Willapa Bay oyster is unique "meroir" - is this really organic?
Already described as a "chemical soup" by the office of Washington's Attorney General, Willapa Bay's shellfish will now have another chemical to filter out of the water, in turn becoming part of their unique "meroir"* tasted when consumed. How the oyster connoisseurs will describe that taste is unknown. Whether Seattle's organic restaurants and outlets will react is also unknown.
*the concept of meroir recognises the existence of specific and unique properties and functions of a certain area of the sea

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Shellfish Safety: Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Closes Carr Inlet to Harvesting of All Shellfish

Tacoma-Pierce Health Department has announced the Department of Health has closed Carr Inlet to all harvesting of shellfish due to elevated levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. PSP toxins were one of the reasons China banned the import of shellfish from the West Coast. PSP toxins cannot be made safe by cooking.

Information on recreational harvesting may be found on a new Department of Health interactive map on their Shellfish Safety Information website. To be automatically notified by TPHD when a food safety or health event occurs, you may register on their web site, found by clicking here.

Recreational Harvesting Information
(interactive map image from DOH website)
(click to enlarge)
Note: Commercial and recreational harvest alerts may be different. For example, DOH recommends all shellfish harvested recreationally from June to September be cooked thoroughly in order to avoid vibriosis. Commercial harvesters must stop harvesting all together when levels or illnesses in a growing area reach pre-determined levels.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: KWMR Reports Red Tide Halts Harvesting of Oysters in Drakes Estero

Drakes Bay Oyster Harvesting Closed Due to Red Tide

Robin Carpenter with KWMR reported on 7/23 that red tide has halted harvesting of oyster from Drakes Estero. Linda Peterson with West Marin Citizen newspaper confirmed she had heard harvesting was halted on July 14. Robin Carpenter was told by Drakes Bay Oyster Company that harvesting had stopped and not resumed. The California Department of Health confirmed the harvest closure in Drakes Estero was in effect.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: New Underwater Video of Drakes Estero

It's time to dispel the myth that
Drakes Bay Oyster Company
has been a "good steward"
of Drakes Estero's marine environment.
Is this really good stewardship?
screenshot from Coastodian.org video

A new underwater video from the Coastodian.org continues to put in question whether Drakes Bay Oyster Company's claims to being a "good steward" of Drakes Estero, part of the Philip Burton Wilderness area, are based in fact or public relations. The 7 minute video is part of a post dated July 22. The video should leave no doubt that the "good steward" tag line is a PR firm's fantasy.

More tubes from Drakes Bay Oyster Company
on the bottom of Drakes Estero.
They don't float - out of site, out of mind.
"It's natural." Non-native oysters it grows on
in Drakes Estero aren't.
Treated lumber from racks
"They're not my racks." Kevin Lunny
How convenient.
DBOC: a “deep respect for the land and waters of the Estero ecostystem”.
The Coastodian: Just imagine what the place would look like if some company without such strong morals had been running the show…..

Tomales Bay Oyster Company and Perspective on Oyster Production (updated 7/24 - TBOC acreage available)

Update 7/24: TBOC has the acreage to grow more oysters. Employees from DBOC will be looking for work. Hatchery equipment from DBOC they use to produce oysters for planting will available to relocate. 
The company leases enough acreage in the bay to cultivate more oysters. But Tod Friend, an owner of T.B.O.C., told the Light that ocean acidification has made it virtually impossible to buy more seed. “Theoretically, we could grow all the oysters we need to supply our customers, but it’s a seed problem. We can’t get enough seed from hatcheries in the Northwest to fuel our need,” Mr. Friend said. (Point Reyes Light, 7/24/14)
The Drakes Bay Oyster Farm produces its own shellfish seed by performing remote setting on-farm. This advanced hatchery technique allows the farm to curtail the purchasing of seed (small shellfish) from producers in other waters (from DBOC web site)
The Point Reyes Light has published an article today in which TBOC notes it has additional acreage to produce more oysters. Their problem is one of sourcing seed. Less than 6 miles away (as the crow flies) are employees and equipment available to move which will increase TBOC's production.

Running a business is never easy. When public relations firms, attorneys and conservative land use groups begin to direct business strategies it becomes more difficult. It's time for the California shellfish industry to run a business, not be played as pawns in a greater game.

A 1 Acre Perspective for Tomales Bay Oyster Company
prior proper planning prevents poor performance

In the papers filed by TBOC it notes they purchase between 6,000 and 15,000 oysters per week from DBOC. For perspective, this is equivalent to what one acre of tidelands produces. In a paper discussing the use of grow-out bags for oysters (Subtidal Cultivation of the American Oyster) a low end estimate of 2,600 bags per acre will produce 585,000 oysters, or an average of 11,250 oysters per week. How many acres are lying fallow in Tomales Bay? Of course, it will take some time for oysters to grow, but then we fall back to what prior proper planning would have prevented.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tomales Bay Oyster Company Sues over Drake Bay Oyster Company Closing

Update 7/22: A 1 Acre perspective for Tomales Bay Oyster Company - In the papers filed by TBOC it notes they purchase between 6,000 and 15,000 oysters per week from DBOC. For perspective, this is equivalent to what one acre of tidelands produces. In a paper discussing the use of grow-out bags for oysters (Subtidal Cultivation of the American Oyster) a low end estimate of 2,600 bags per acre will produce 585,000 oysters, or an average of 11,250 oysters per week. How many acres are lying fallow in Tomales Bay? Of course it will take some time for oysters to grow, but then we fall back to what prior proper planning would have prevented.
One more attorney added to the mix
Tomales Bay Oyster Company's Tod Friend and others have filed another lawsuit over Drakes Bay Oyster Company's closure. TBOC and others claim the loss of DBOC oysters will cause them harm and the Philip Burton Wilderness is less important than their financial well being. Could a little bit of planning made a difference?
TBOC owner Tod Friend
removing derelict shellfish gear
on unused tideland lease holding.
(picture from Coastodian.org)
Purchasing a business with eyes wide open
In 2009 Tod Friend purchased Tomales Bay Oyster Company from Drew Alden. At the time, the fact that Drakes Bay Oyster Company would likely not have its lease renewed in November of 2012 was a well known fact. That Tomales Bay Oyster Company may likely lose one its primary suppliers in November of 2012, was a well known fact. Knowing these facts, Mr. Friend chose to go ahead and purchase this operation, with that risk well known, giving him three years to plan for that likelihood.
Wouldn't a bit of planning helped?
(picture from Coastodian.org)
How was I to know?
Now, in July of 2014, over five years after the fact, TBOC declares their business is now at risk of losing $250,000 to $400,000 and has decided to sue the government. Five years, during which any business owner should have been planning on alternative suppliers. Or expanding their own operations. 
3,000 poles removed, thousands more to go
(picture from Coastodian.org)
What about those unused tidelands? Better late than never.
It may be TBOC did in fact know the risk was real and had been planning on an alternative. Recently, the Coastodian.org published a series of articles on the abandoned shellfish gear in Tomales Bay. Included in those articles were pieces focused on areas leased by TBOC but apparently abandoned, lying fallow. Following the articles, TBOC has now begun removing the derelict gear, most probably to put the tidelands back into production.
Do I need a permit to remove this?
(picture from Coastodian.org)
No permits needed to remove shellfish racks - I guess
Forging ahead TBOC has begun the removal of the derelict racks and gear on their leased tidelands. While the recently filed lawsuit TBOC is party to expresses concern over what role the California Coastal Commission should be playing, in this case the belief is the oyster rack removal should be of no concern to the Coastal Commission.
The price of success
Now, about that parking - or maybe not.
At some point TBOC will have their supply back to normal levels, if not above. It will be without DBOC. Business will be better, and following a typical business model, that demand will allow for higher profit margins. With those profits TBOC may choose to expand their parking and retail outlet, increasing further their profits. It may be DBOC employees would even be interested in employment. Then again, the shellfish industry doesn't always do things the way a normal business might. It's an industry attorneys love.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vibrio Bacteria Levels Continue to Climb - Hammersley/Totten Inlets Closed to Commercial Harvesting of Oysters

Update 7/21: Vibrio levels continue to climb and expand. The Department of Health has announced that testing for Vibrio levels has closed most of Hood Canal to commercial shellfish harvesting of oysters. This is now in addition to Hammersley and Totten Inlets. Oakland Bay's level of Vibrio was just below the 10,000 mpn level and remains open to harvesting.
Washington shellfish growing areas
closed to commercial harvesting of oysters
as of July 19.
Closed to commercial shellfish harvesting of oysters
Low tides and warm temperatures = warmer water
Following low tides and warm weather Washington's Department of Health testing found Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) exceeded safe levels and has closed Hammersley Inlet and Totten Inlet to commercial harvesting of oysters. Hammersley Inlet testing found levels of 110,000 mpn (most probable number). Totten Inlet testing found levels of 15,000 mpn. Last week similar levels were found in southern Hood Canal which resulted in that area also being closed. Levels above 10,000 mpn result in an automatic closure.
Bacterial blooms
Vp is a naturally occurring bacteria which oysters filter from the waters of Puget Sound and retain internally. When the waters of Puget Sound increase in temperature and tides are low during warmer summer days Vp blooms to a level oysters become unsafe to eat.
2013 Reported Cases from Atlantic States
(from CDC, April 18, 2014)
Past reported cases:
2011 - 6; 2012 - 52; 2013 - 104
(from CDC, October 21, 2013)
East Coast and West Coast Effected
In the past it was felt the bacteria was primarily a northwest shellfish problem but last year demonstrated that shellfish growing areas on the east coast now also face the same problem. Illnesses from east coast oysters increased to such a level last year that Massachusetts and Connecticut both issued recalls for oysters harvested from those states. An April 18, 2014, Center for Disease Control (CDC) paper noted:
In the United States, Vp causes an estimated 35,000 domestically acquired foodborne infections annually (1), of which most are attributable to consumption of raw or undercooked shellfish.
Learn how to minimize risk

Enjoy life, minimize risk
Life has risks in all we do. Knowing how to minimize those risks will allow you to enjoy life. Visit Washington's DOH "Illness Prevention" website for more information on shellfish safety.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pierce County Shoreline Master Program Update Meeting: July 21, 1:30

When - Monday, July 21
Where - County-City Building, Room 1045, 930 Tacoma Ave. S, Tacoma
What - Discussion of additional amendments to Pierce County's Shoreline Master Program update.

Onwards and upwards
Following a series of meetings at which Pierce County was challenged by shoreline owners and the conservative land use group "Freedom Foundation"  who felt a "taking" was occurring through proposed shoreline regulations,  Pierce County cancelled scheduled public meetings about their Shoreline Master Program update. The County felt there were too many pressures to deal with and amendments to address them could not be developed within the proposed schedule.

July 21, 24 amendments - let's try again
 The Community Development Committee has now re-scheduled a meeting for July 21 to discuss newly proposed amendments and presumably those proposed earlier. No voting will occur but comments will be accepted. The County web site currently lists 24 amendments. Previous public meetings which had been scheduled in the evening throughout the county in early evening times, more convenient for citizens to participate in, were canceled. The current meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 21, at 1:30PM.

Aquaculture - better hurry up and get them permitted now
Of the amendments listed there are X specifically noted as being related to aquaculture. Number 23 addresses monitoring. Number 21 would incorporate all aquaculture related amendments that were approved prior to consideration of Ordinance 2013-45s. Number 10, among other things, prohibits the use of pesticides in shellfish cultivation. Number 9 expands on the requirements for cumulative impacts analysis, including when they proposal takes place within an enclosed body of water (e.g. Burley Lagoon). Number 8 extends the non-conforming discontinued use period to three years from two.

Number 22: rights of the people
Included in the amendments is one introduced by Republican Jim McCune which states:
No person shall be deprived of property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. 
It is unclear whether the perspective that the rights of the people should include the right to expect that the shorelines of Washington will be protected as the Shoreline Management Act provides and for which the counties are responsible.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bloom of Vibrio Bacteria Closes Southern Hood Canal to Commercial Shellfish Harvesting of Oysters

Rising Vibrio levels close portions of Hood Canal to commercial harvesting of oysters
Washington's Department of Health has announced that it has closed the southern part of Hood Canal to the commercial harvesting of oysters. Testing for the naturally occurring bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus reached levels which require a mandatory closure until levels drop.

10,000 and above in growing areas 6, 7 and 8
Testing of waters from July 9th showed levels ranging from 110,000 to 15,000. Areas approaching the 10,000 closure number included Dabob Bay (6,400) and Denotas (9,300). It is expected that with the warm weather and low tides of last weekend levels of Vp will continue to increase.

"vibrio infections or vibriosis from uncooked seafood like raw oysters and sushi have become much more widespread" (Seattle PI, July 9)
In addition to testing for levels of Vp automatic closures of areas also occur when reported cases of vibriosis are traced back to specific growing areas. Currently, shellfish growers are trying to prevent the ongoing increase in reported cases which has been occurring and which the Center for Disease Control has expressed concern over. Steps range from shortening the time a harvested oyster is cooled to banning commercial harvesting entirely.

Life is not always safe - but don't stay inside
Life has many risks and contracting a disease is only one of them. Take precautions when eating seafood in the summer time. The Department of Health recommends not eating raw oysters and cooking them until they reach 145 degrees. They warn that a shell opening is not a sign they are safe to eat. (see DOH "Safe Practices" for more).

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Minus Tides, Warm Weather and a Full Moon - A rare opportunity to...

...find out why the Shoreline Management Act says:
"the shorelines of the state are among the most valuable
 and fragile of its natural resources"
Friends of Burley Lagoon have announced an opportunity to explore the low minus tides and warm temperatures this weekend. The minus tides will occur near noon on Saturday and 1 on Sunday. In between you can experience a rare "supermoon" rising in the east as the sun sets in the west. 
Time - 10AM to 1:30PM
Location -  1502 Lucille Parkway NW, Gig Harbor (Narrows Park)
This is sponsored in part by Harbor Wildwatch in Gig Harbor, will take place at Narrows Park in Gig Harbor, just off of the Narrows Bridge. Experts in the intertidal marine life will be on hand to help identify species and habitat important to all of Puget Sound.
Saturday and Sunday
An unorganized opportunity near Burley Lagoon is available at the boat ramp West of Purdy near where Highway 302 and Goldman Drive NW intersect. Parking is limited so plan ahead.
Supermoon Saturday - 9PM
Near 9PM, if skies are clear, look to the East and see why tonight's moon rise is being called "Super moon Saturday". It is one of three which will occur this year, tonight's being described as looking "30% brighter and 14% closer." For a video on why the "Perigee moon"  appears as it does, see a short video on Space.com.
Get out and experience the natural world. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Drakes Estero: Take Time to Thank Congress for Creating the Philip Burton Wilderness

Drakes Estero, the heart of the Philip Burton Wilderness
A contiguous marine wilderness - at last.

Send Congress a thank you for creating the Philip Burton Wilderness - for generations to come
After a long and at times contentious 19 months, the Supreme Court's decision will allow Drakes Estero, the final piece of the Philip Burton Wilderness area, to become part of the contiguous marine wilderness Congress created. You can copy the message below, or write in your own words the appreciation you, and future generations have. (see below how to contact your representative)

"Honorable XXXXXX: I want to say thank you for Congress creating the Philip Burton Wilderness in California. This marine wilderness, which Drakes Estero is the heart of, will live on for future generations to enjoy. Thank you. [xxx your name]"

How to contact your congressional representative to say "thanks"
You can find your congressional contact information here:
There, you may either enter your address information or click on your state and the representative contact information will show up.

Especially those in California
For those in California, most impacted by this contiguous marine wilderness, should take the time to say "thank you" for creation of this incredible wilderness which will be enjoyed for generations to come. Listed below are the congressional districts and representatives from California. Take time to click on the name and fill out the form. You can copy the message below, or simply write your own.
(Click on the name, then "Contact", then "email". Note: You must live in the congressional district to email the congressman/woman.)
1 LaMalfa, Doug R506 CHOB202-225-3076Agriculture
Natural Resources
2 Huffman, Jared D1630 LHOB202-225-5161Natural Resources
the Budget
3 Garamendi, John D2438 RHOB202-225-1880Agriculture
Armed Services
4 McClintock, Tom R434 CHOB202-225-2511Natural Resources
the Budget
5 Thompson, Mike D231 CHOB202-225-3311Intelligence (Permanent)
Ways and Means
6 Matsui, Doris O. D2434 RHOB202-225-7163Energy and Commerce
7 Bera, Ami D1408 LHOB202-225-5716Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology
8 Cook, Paul R1222 LHOB202-225-5861Armed Services
Foreign Affairs
Veterans’ Affairs
9 McNerney, Jerry D1210 LHOB202-225-1947Energy and Commerce
10 Denham, Jeff R1730 LHOB202-225-4540Agriculture
Veterans’ Affairs
11 Miller, George D2205 RHOB202-225-2095Education and the Workforce
12 Pelosi, Nancy D235 CHOB202-225-4965
13 Lee, Barbara D2267 RHOB202-225-2661Appropriations
the Budget
14 Speier, Jackie D211 CHOB202-225-3531Armed Services
Oversight and Government
15 Swalwell, Eric D501 CHOB202-225-5065Homeland Security
Science, Space, and Technology
16 Costa, Jim D1314 LHOB202-225-3341Agriculture
Natural Resources
17 Honda, Mike D1713 LHOB202-225-2631Appropriations
18 Eshoo, Anna G. D241 CHOB202-225-8104Energy and Commerce
19 Lofgren, Zoe D1401 LHOB202-225-3072House Administration
Joint Library
Science, Space, and Technology
the Judiciary
20 Farr, Sam D1126 LHOB202-225-2861Appropriations
21 Valadao, David R1004 LHOB202-225-4695Appropriations
22 Nunes, Devin R1013 LHOB202-225-2523Intelligence (Permanent)
Ways and Means
23 McCarthy, Kevin R2421 RHOB202-225-2915Financial Services
24 Capps, Lois D2231 RHOB202-225-3601Energy and Commerce
25 McKeon, Buck R2310 RHOB202-225-1956Armed Services
Education and the Workforce
26 Brownley, Julia D1019 LHOB202-225-5811Science, Space, and Technology
Veterans’ Affairs
27 Chu, Judy D1520 LHOB202-225-5464Small Business
the Judiciary
28 Schiff, Adam D2411 RHOB202-225-4176Appropriations
Intelligence (Permanent)
29 Cárdenas, Tony D1508 LHOB202-225-6131Natural Resources
Oversight and Government
the Budget
30 Sherman, Brad D2242 RHOB202-225-5911Financial Services
Foreign Affairs
31 Miller, Gary R2467 RHOB202-225-3201Financial Services
32 Napolitano, Grace D1610 LHOB202-225-5256Natural Resources
33 Waxman, Henry D2204 RHOB202-225-3976Energy and Commerce
34 Becerra, Xavier D1226 LHOB202-225-6235Ways and Means
35 Negrete McLeod, Gloria D1641 LHOB202-225-6161Agriculture
Veterans’ Affairs
36 Ruiz, Raul D1319 LHOB202-225-5330Natural Resources
Veterans’ Affairs
37 Bass, Karen D408 CHOB202-225-7084Foreign Affairs
the Judiciary
38 Sanchez, Linda D2423 RHOB202-225-6676Ethics
Ways and Means
39 Royce, Ed R2185 RHOB202-225-4111Financial Services
Foreign Affairs
40 Roybal-Allard, Lucille D2330 RHOB202-225-1766Appropriations
41 Takano, Mark D1507 LHOB202-225-2305Education and the Workforce
Veterans’ Affairs
42 Calvert, Ken R2269 RHOB202-225-1986Appropriations
the Budget
43 Waters, Maxine D2221 RHOB202-225-2201Financial Services
44 Hahn, Janice D404 CHOB202-225-8220Small Business
45 Campbell, John R2331 RHOB202-225-5611Financial Services
the Budget
46 Sanchez, Loretta D1114 LHOB202-225-2965Armed Services
Homeland Security
47 Lowenthal, Alan D515 CHOB202-225-7924Foreign Affairs
Natural Resources
48 Rohrabacher, Dana R2300 RHOB202-225-2415Foreign Affairs
Science, Space, and Technology
49 Issa, Darrell R2347 RHOB202-225-3906Oversight and Government
the Judiciary
50 Hunter, Duncan D. R223 CHOB202-225-5672Armed Services
Education and the Workforce
51 Vargas, Juan D1605 LHOB202-225-8045Agriculture
Foreign Affairs
House Administration
52 Peters, Scott D2410 RHOB202-225-0508Armed Services
Science, Space, and Technology
53 Davis, Susan D1526 LHOB202-225-2040Armed Services
Education and the Workforce

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: What is stewardship of Drakes Estero best determined from?

Scuba diving in Drakes Estero - inches away?
(from Richard James, Coastodian.org)

A kayak in Drakes Estero - feet away?
Tubes pulled from the bottom and piled
onto wooden racks in Drakes Estero.
(from Richard James, Coastodian.org)

A second floor office in San Francisco - 35 miles away?
"a superb example of how people can produce high-quality food 
in harmony with the environment." June 14, 2014
Press release from Tina Walker, Singer Associates 
on Pacific Legal Foundation web site.

An "office" next to the Willow Oaks Country Club in Virginia - 2,500 miles away?
"They are the best stewards that paradise could have."
Tom Kent, Kent Communciations, February 6, 2014
Partner with Sarah Rolph in trying to
raise money for projects now not clear, 
supporting DBOC remaining in Drakes Estero.

A home in Carlisle, Massachusetts - 2,700 miles away?
"The Lunnys are known as careful stewards of the land and water"
Website created in part by Sarah Rolph
supporting Drakes Bay Oyster Company's
continued commercial operation in
the Philip Burton Wilderness.

How to determine stewardship - West Marin citizens need to step out of the fog 
If one were to determine whether Drakes Bay Oyster Company has been a "good steward" of the marine environment as they claim, where would be the best place to determine whether in fact that was the case? Citizens of Marin County need to step out of the fog which public relations firms and individuals have surrounded this commercial operation with. Claims of environmental stewardship sink when facts are revealed through pictures on Coastodian.org.

Pawns in a greater game
This is not what lobbyists from San Francisco, a public relations firm in Virginia, and a self proclaimed "story teller" in Carlisle, Massachusetts describe it as. It is a commercial operation whose owners and employees are being used in a greater game by those whose objective is to open wilderness areas to other industrial commercial operations and to redefine wilderness so future wilderness areas are not protected. DBOC has not been a good steward of this wilderness estuary and it is far past time to go.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Judge says to develop a plan to cease operations by August 11.

Drakes Bay Oyster Company update 7/8: Time to wind it down.

The clock's spring is winding down
July 7, Judge Gonzalez told the Department of the Interior and Drakes Bay Oyster Company to develop a plan to wind down and cease the commercial operation in Drakes Estero, part of the Philip Burton Wilderness area. Another meeting will take place August 11.

Humboldt Bay proposals (L, in blue)
and Drakes Estero (R)
(click to enlarge)
(Humboldt Bay image information taken from 

Look north young men and women
One suggestion has been that DBOC consider relocating the operation to other tideland areas in California, with Humboldt Bay being mentioned as a possible alternative. There, the shellfish industry has been working with state and local officials to open large tracts of the northern portion through the "California Shellfish Initiative." The image above shows for comparison the size of the two bodies of water. The red line is equal to one mile. These skilled workers, should they desire to start their own company, would most likely find money readily available, providing wealth far beyond that from being a DBOC employee, and set an example to their children of how adversity is overcome. Without the help of lawyers, lobbyists, and public relations firms.

Look to the past to temper optimism
While DBOC attorneys appear willing to negotiate the final actions necessary to complete the Philip Burton Wilderness area, past performance and recent statements should temper optimism. There have been numerous agreements to work out issues in the past, only to find attorneys recommending legal actions instead. Most recently, public relations attorney Peter Prows has stated: 
"...we will be evaluating over the next couple of weeks what new claims we might want to bring and how to proceed."

A horse cannot swim forever
Mr. Lunny has stated he believes he is fighting this because "it is right." He is entitled to his beliefs, but the simple fact is he made a bad business decision when he assumed he could somehow get the lease extended. 19 months of legal actions have resulted in the courts supporting, over and over, the Department of the Interior's position that the lease would end November 29, 2012; that Mr. Lunny was fully aware of that fact when he purchased the farm in 2005; and, that Congress legislated the creation of the Philip Burton Wilderness and did not exclude the oyster farm. This horse needs to be brought to shore and put out to pasture, for the benefit of all.

Agriculture and ranching in Marin County are not threatened
Claims of agriculture and ranching in Marin County being under siege and that this step is only the first in a long march to eliminate them is little more a public relations executive's pen put to paper. It is without foundation and to repeat it does not make it any more true. Agriculture and ranching have been, are, and will be a strong part of Marin County. A public relations executive in San Francisco won't change that.

The 6 p's of business: prior proper planning prevents poor performance
Asking for additional time to develop a plan which should have been developed in 2012 when the lease was slated to end is a simple example of the what happens when a business does not plan. Giving DBOC another month is generous. It is hoped they will use it wind things down, not wind up another legal plan in which only the attorneys benefit.

Deep Minus Tides July 9 - 16 and Warm Weather This Weekend

Update 7/10: Washington has recommended shellfish growers not harvest shellfish during the upcoming minus tides and warm temperatures. Presumably they also suggest recreational harvesting also not occur, or if so, precautions are taken to avoid contracting vibriosis. (see here for July 3 general safety suggestions)

(See end of post for tide table and weather forecast.)

Healthy starfish in south Puget Sound, 2013

Are starfish still dying off?
Deep minus tides begin on Wednesday with Saturday's -3.4 at noon being the lowest of July. Warm temperatures will make for a great weekend to get out and explore the lower intertidal area to see habitat and species submerged 90% of their lives. It will also be another opportunity to see whether starfish populations are continuing to decline from Sea Star Wasting Syndrome.

Same beach, 2014

Shellfish warning
The minus tides, coupled with unseasonably hot weather will increase the possibility of Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria in shellfish, especially oysters. The Department of Health does not recommend consumption of raw oysters during the summer months. Those harvesting shellfish for raw consumption should consider this warning from DOH shellfish safety website

Vibrio is destroyed by cooking shellfish to an internal temperature of 145° F for 15 seconds.
Eat only well-cooked shellfish, especially in summer months. Do not consider shellfish to be fully cooked when the shells just open; they need to cook longer to reach 145° F.
When harvesting:
  • Just before you leave, check for closures due to vibrio, biotoxins, and pollution at our Shellfish Safety website, by contacting your local health department, or by calling our biotoxin hotline at 1-800-562-5632.
  • Harvest shellfish as soon as possible with the receding tide.
  • Don't harvest shellfish that have been exposed to the sun for more than one hour (less in really hot weather).
  • Keep shellfish cold after harvesting.
  • More shellfish safety tips 
Tide tables and forecast
Enjoy the weather, enjoy the low tide, and be safe.

Minus tides for the weekend of July 12 and 13
(Olympia times)
(from Dairiki.org)

8 day forecast for Shelton, WA
(from weather.com)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Case Management Meeting Monday July 7 To Determine Next Steps

Update 7/8: Time to wind it down.

Judge Gonzalez has given the Department of the Interior and Drakes Bay Oyster Company 30 days to develop a plan to wind down and cease the commercial operation in Drakes Estero. Another meeting will take place August 11. It has been suggested that DBOC consider relocating the operation to other tidelands in California, with Humboldt Bay being mentioned as a possible alternative. There the shellfish industry has been working with state officials to open large tracts of the northern portion. The image below shows for comparison the size of the two bodies of water. The red line is equal to one mile. Were the workers motivated money to start their own company would most likely be readily available for them to start their own company, providing wealth far beyond that from being an employee.

Humboldt Bay proposals (L, in blue) 
and Drakes Estero (R)
(click to enlarge)
(Humboldt Bay image information taken from 

Update 7/7: Perks and taxes - more responsibilities.

"You shall meet all commitments you make in your Campaign including, but not limited to, delivering all Perks you offered with your Campaign."
"You are responsible for collecting and remitting any taxes on Contributions, and any taxes due in connection with your Perks."

How regulated is crowdfunding and what
legal responsibilities are there?

The Press Democrat has reported Judge Yvonne Gonzalez will meet with attorneys for Drakes Bay Oyster Company and the Department of the Interior. After the Supreme Court refused to hear DBOC's case last week the injunction which had allowed the company to operate for the last 19 months without a permit was lifted, allowing for the completion of the marine wilderness area.

Awe shucks
At hand is how the operation will be brought to an end, something Kevin Lunny has claimed will devastate his business, but something which he knew full well would end November 29, 2012 when he purchased the operation. That Mr. Lunny chose not to plan for an orderly closure but instead fight a legal battle to the level of the Supreme Court was his choice and his alone. He has claimed it is not over until the last oyster is shucked. It is now time to shuck the last oyster and cease operations.

Hand full of gimme and a mouthful of much obliged
In the mean time, DBOC public relations people continue to ask for money from the public on one of the internet "crowdfunding" sites where individuals promote their causes asking for money from the public. In the case of DBOC, their initial attempt was to raise money to "maintain" an already existing website and expand their on-line presence. Various "perks" were offered to donors who provided funds, including free oysters, tours and picnics. A second "tranche" is now being sought. But...

Was that an expressed or implied contract offered to donors?
Sarah Rolph, "story teller" from Carlisle, Massachusetts and hoping to publish her 2nd book (on Drakes Bay Oyster Company) has posted a note that the "oyster farm picnic" is no longer available to those who donated funds at a certain level. She has suggested others who were promised oysters for donations at another level "visit as soon as you can," implying that offer may soon be off the table. It was unclear if those who donated and would not receive what they expected would have a portion of their donation refunded or what other legal obligations DBOC may have.  DBOC's public relations attorney Peter Prows may want to consider whether those offers of "gifts" for donations were an implied or expressed contract.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Burley Lagoon: Comments on Taylor Shellfish 25+ Acre Geoduck Farm Due July 3

Taylor Shellfish Proposal

Comments on the proposed 25+ acre geoduck farm by Taylor Shellfish are due July 3, by 4:30 (see earlier post here).
Comments Due July 3, 4:30 P.M.
Must include permit number SD/CP15-14 and Applicant, Taylor Shellfish – Western Oyster
Properties LLC aka Burley Lagoon
Attn: Ty Booth, Senior Planner
tbooth@co.pierce.wa.us 253-798-3727

Planting Schedule
(click to enlarge)
Add ingredients and stir continuously
As seen in the image from the Environ's "Habitat Review" submitted to Pierce County, Taylor Shellfish intends to plant areas on a 3 year cycle, although Environ notes it would "vary, depending on site and seasonal conditions." Tubes would be placed on 12.2" centers and left for "one to two growing (years). Because there is no clearly fixed time frame there may be over 1 million tubes and 25 acres of netting at times. Tubes would then be pulled and either re-used or somehow "disposed of." Harvesting will occur at undefined schedules, based on market conditions. Both "dry" and underwater harvesting will occur, both stirring the sediments of Burley Lagoon. As it is a low flushing body of water the waters will remain clouded with sediments for an unspecified time.
Burley Lagoon Is not Case Inlet
Isn't it all the same? Really?
Within Environ's "Habitat Review" an attempt to paint this project as being nothing different is created. Studies of various subtidal and intertidal operations are referenced, all being in open bodies of water where current flow and dynamics are far different than the enclosed body of Burley Lagoon. Environ goes so far as to state this is only a "change in culture practices" and "because it [Burley Lagoon] is currently cultured, the current background conditions already include boat use, sediment disturbance, and maintenance activities" it is really just the same. As the Shoreline Hearings Board has clearly stated, geoduck farming is not the same as oyster cultivation or manila clam cultivation. Nor is one site comparable to the next.
Is this greater than 24/square foot?
And just where do I put my foot?
And if more than 24/square foot,
where is my new home going to be?
Crunch time for Sand Dollars - how to "interact" at planting, and simply ignore them at harvesting
Also described within the "Habitat Review" is how Taylor Shellfish intends to interact with beds of sand dollars which exist within Burley Lagoon. Initially, the strategy is "planting through" or, if too thick, to "push them aside by hand." Relocation would "only be necessary in densities greater than 24 animals per square foot." They do not say how they will deal with the planter's boots "interacting" with the sand dollar beds. Also not mentioned is what happens at harvest time, after they have moved "back to orientation that allows for feeding" after planting.
"If densities are too thick to plant through, the grower will try to push them aside by hand. Because sand dollars are typically found within the top 4 inches of sediment, the grower only needs to push enough sand dollars aside to get in the PVC tube (or suitable alternative) so that the sand dollars do not restrict juvenile geoducks from burying into the sediment." "After the tubes are in place, sand dollars would be able to move back to an orientation that allows for feeding."
Eelgrass and herring spawning
in Burley Lagoon.

Is eelgrass really all that important? It's just a dot on a map.
One final note of significance made, or not, within the habitat review is on eelgrass. It is noted that a new Herring population exists (the "Purdy" population). It is noted eelgrass exists. It is noted the herring use this eelgrass for spawning. Dots are used to show where it exists. Not discussed is how planting harvesting will effect these dots.

Comments due July 3