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:

Friday, July 31, 2015

Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health Xprize for $2 million Awarded to Missoula Montana Firm, Sunburst Sensors

Sunburst Sensors from Missoula, Montana, has been awarded $2 million in the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE contest for having developed a pH sensor which is both accurate and affordable. Each category - accuracy and affordability - was worth $750,000 each, for a total of $1.5 million. The remaining $500,000 was awarded to two other teams for their efforts.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 31, 8:46PM - Blue Moon Rising, Sun Setting

You won't see it if you don't get out.

July 31 at 8:46 (Olympia time) is a rare moment. The 2nd full moon of July (a Blue Moon) rises and the sun sets at the same time. Get out and look to the west and east at 8:46PM. It will be a spectacular sunset and a spectacular moonrise.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Last Significant Daylight Minus Tides are This Weekend

There's a whole different world out there
which you won't see if you stay inside. Get out.

The last significant daylight minus tides, which also fall on a weekend, will occur this coming Saturday and Sunday. The weather is forecast to be sunny and warm. Get out and enjoy the unique area exposed when tides are this low.

Olympia Tides/Forecast July 30 through August 3
-2.2 on Thursday at 11:39AM Forecast high - 94 degrees
-2.5 on Friday at 12:22PM Forecast high - 94 degrees
-2.3 on Saturday at 1:06PM Forecast high - 93 degrees
-1.7 on Sunday at 1:51PM Forecast high - 89 degrees
-.7 on Monday at 2:37PM Forecast high - 87 degrees

Monday, July 27, 2015

Fudge Point State Park: Parks and Recreation Adds 48 acres to 136 and Approves Classification and Management Plan

Fudge Point State Park, Harstine Island
Almost Complete

Upland acquisition of lands for Fudge Point State Park complete
The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board has awarded $368,750 to acquire an additional 48 acres of uplands on Harstine Island. This acquisition will bring almost all uplands and tidelands under the Parks and Recreation ownership, creating an upland State Park of over 180 acres with access to almost 3,700 feet of waterfront in south Puget Sound on the eastern shoreline of Harstine Island. Views of Mount Ranier to the south and the Olympics to the north are spectacular. Fresh water ouflows from upland wetlands creates a unique transitional habitat to experience. Upland camping facilities will provide overnight experiences in the quiet of an isolated area. While an existing geoduck farm exists within the lower tidelands of the lagoon area, it is unlikely to present a problem for access from the water. 
Fudge Point State Park Lagoon
April 19, 2011 (looking south)
(before Taylor Shellfish geoduck farm)
Access for all the public to Washington's marine habitat and unique upland areas on Harstine Island comes closer to reality
July 22 the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously approved the land classification and management plan for Fudge Point State Park. An attempt to pass an amendment which would have removed overnight camping and cabins from the plan was rejected by a 6 to 1 vote. Parks and Recreation will now be able to begin work on improving access roads, developing outdoor camping spots and cabins for overnight use, parking facilities for day use, interpretive centers, and restroom facilities (see the July 2015 Final Recommendation here). For complete planning, steps taken and history, visit the Fudge Point Planning site here.
Long term development pland
of Fudge Point State Park
Get involved. Great things can happen when you are.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Seattle Shellfish to Mason County - Oops, guess we didn't quite know what we were doing.

Who is managing who?
Mason County Taken for a Ride
Public Loses Access to Tidelands

These are the experts in geoduck farming? 2 years later, "we don't know yet".
In August of 2013, Seattle Shellfish began formally working on acquiring tidelands between McMicken Island State Park and Harstine Island from Mason County, with the intention of growing geoduck. When Mason County decided a land swap was not workable, work on arranging a lease for those tidelands began which culminated in an April 1, 2014 lease. The county would receive 15% of the revenues. Projections of $3 million to the county now appear greatly overstated with the analysis of the tidelands being greatly understated. As of July 14, 2015, all Seattle Shellfish is able to tell Mason County is they don't know how many tidelands are suitable to grow geoduck. The Mason County Journal reported July 16 it was less than half. Who is managing who?

No, you can't dig here anymore.
Thank you Mason County.

December 2013: Tim Sheldon explaining
to fellow commissioners how ex-Commissioner
Steve Bloomfield's Seattle Shellfish will make the
County $3 million growing geoduck with
the public losing access to those acres.
Screenshot from MasonWebTV, December 11, 2013
[see at - https://youtu.be/dl5-j7Zona0]

The public's use of these tidelands is of no value. Ex-Commissioner Bloomfield with Seattle Shellfish says you'll get $3 million. 
In December of 2013 Mason County Commissioners approved a resolution to lease 19 acres of prime public tidelands between McMicken Island State Park and Harstine Island. Long used by the public for digging shellfish and enjoying the intertidal experience of Puget Sound, ex-County Commissioner Steve Bloomfield with Seattle Shellfish laid out a revenue stream which the county would receive, quoting figures of $3 million dollars from revenues and $1,000 in annual acres leased. What could go wrong? 

This isn't quite what I thought it would be.

April 1, 2014: "So there's an estimate of $3 million." 
More or less. Commissioner Jeffreys to an attendee
of the Commissioner meeting.
Screenshot from MasonWebTV, April 2, 2014
[see at - https://youtu.be/zDK0m0IrZAM]

Entering into a lease on April Fools Day should have been warning enough.
Acting on the resolution passed in December, the county entered into a lease agreement with Seattle Shellfish April 1, 2014. At that meeting, Commissioner Jeffreys begins to back shuffle on the firmness of that $3 million in revenues. The illusion created by waving her hands belied just how weak that reality was and drove home why you should not enter into lease agreements on April Fools Day.

April 1, 2014: "It is an agricultural thing and 
in agriculture you never know what tomorrow
is going to bring." Seattle Shellfish's Steve Bloomfield
Screenshot from Mason WebTV, April 2, 2014
[see at - https://youtu.be/-mSGmnym1Js]

Seattle Shellfish is supposed to be an expert in this geoduck farming "agricultural thing". At least that's what they tell their investors and those they lease tidelands from.
At that same meeting, ex-Commisioner Steve Bloomfield with Seattle Shellfish began to explain why there may be cracks in the promises made. Pounding his fists together, Mr. Bloomfield explained to an attendee that some of the tidelands were "hardpan, like this floor." Mr. Bloomfield continued on to explain that Seattle Shellfish really didn't know how many acres could actually grow geoduck. Did the Commissioners then wonder just what it was they had entered into on April 1? Apparently not.

April 14, 2015: "Maybe a little bit of income
for the County over the years."
Ex-commissioner Steve Bloomfield w/Seattle Shellfish
Screenshot from Mason WebTV, April 15, 2015
[see at - https://youtu.be/23tjxtyHC18]

Yes, we've completely evaluated the sediments and habitat area and we know exactly where we are going to plant geoduck. At least on paper.
Despite the now apparent lack of awareness in just what tidelands were usable for geoduck, Seattle Shellfish forged ahead with permits. In those permit applications Seattle Shellfish was clear in stating they would be developing a geoduck farm on 19 acres. [corrected 7/19 - SS did note they were unsure of sediment types and what could be planted. Why approval was granted remains a question.]. Based on drawings submitted June of 2014, and information provided on the sediments and habitat by Seattle Shellfish, the Corps asked for an opinion from the US Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries Services. Based on that apparently flawed data, they approved a permit for the proposed 19 acre geoduck farm in December of 2014. As recently as April 14, 2015, Mr. Bloomfield was still assuring the county they were forging ahead and the county would be receiving a "little bit of income". Someday. How much that would be was no longer being stated as $3 million. 

The dog days of summer slow thinking down. 
July 14, 2015, ex-Commissioner Bloomfield stood before two Mason County Commissioners and explained Seattle Shellfish was wrong in estimating how much of the tidelands would be usable for geoduck. They were apparently unaware that the center of the lagoon area was a "catch basin" for aquatic vegetation which created anaerobic conditions in the sediments, which for an unexplained reason, were not compatible with geoduck aquaculture. Commissioner Sheldon, who originally extolled the benefits of the lease arrangement, was absent from the meeting. Ms. Jeffreys, instead of asking why it had taken Seattle Shellfish so long to determine their estimates were so wrong, thanked Mr. Bloomfield for keeping her aware. You may listen to ex-Commissioner Bloomfield explain the situation and the commissioners inability to question why things were now so understated by downloading this zip file, beginning at 5:55. Or simply shake your head and wonder who is managing who.

Get involved. The shellfish industry is.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 16th: Meeting on Taylor Shellfish Sustainability Rating at Griffin Hall

Get Involved - Thursday July 16th: Community meeting 3-5 pm at Griffin Hall, 3707 Steamboat Lp NW, Olympia to discuss "sustainability" certification of Taylor Shellfish.
Sustainable? Taylor Shellfish believes so.
Email comments to:
a - Name and contact details
b - Your association with the farm
c - Issues you would like to discuss
Also helpful are pictures or studies you may have.
Sustainable? Taylor Shellfish believes so.
Juan Aguirre with SCS will hold a public meeting from 3 to 5 PM at Griffin Hall to discuss the sustainability certification Taylor Shellfish is attempting to acquire on a "cluster" of farms located in Totten Inlet, Skookum Inlet, and Oakland Bay.
Standards by which Taylor Shellfish will be judged may be found here (why ASC and not Monterey Bay?):
The "public notice" which announced the south Puget Sound certification process is found here:
Get involved. Taylor Shellfish is and they helped create the very standards by which they are to be "judged".

Friday, July 10, 2015

Vibrio Shuts Down Portions of South Puget Sound to Commercial

Update 7/22: Cooler weather has resulted in test results with lower Vibrio levels, leading DOH to open most areas of south Puget Sound to the commercial harvest of oysters. Recreational harvesters are able to check the Department of Health's website for information.

Update 7/13: North Bay in south Puget Sound has been added to the list of growing areas closed to the commercial harvest of oysters due to elevated levels of vibrio parahaemolyticus.

Puget Sound Water Temperatures Rise
Bacterium Levels Increase
Commercial Harvesting of Oysters Stopped

Hammersley Inlet, Totten Inlet, Skookum Inlet, Pickering Passage, Portions of Hood Canal - Closed

As expected, the warm weather has resulted in the naturally occurring bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus increasing to levels which have resulted in the Department of Health shutting a large portion of southeast Puget Sound to commercial harvesting of oysters. For a complete list of growing areas closed and the reasons, such as biotoxins and normal summer closures, click here (not included are the most recent closures of Totten Inlet and Hammersley Inlet).

For recreational closures and information, an interactive map is available from the Department of Health's website.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Uh-oh: What will happen when China's economy implodes?

Market problems: "...there is growing concern that that the slowdown in Chinese construction, and economic growth more generally, will be much more dramatic than previously expected."
Labor problems: "...on-going friction between purchasers and divers has further disrupted the [geoduck] market..."
DNR, June 2015 Quarterly Economic and Revenue Forecasts


Is a 30% loss - in 3 weeks - significant?
Chinese Shanghai Composite, 2015

Banks artificially propping up stock prices
has been tried before.
Will it be different this time in China?

You promised I could buy an Audi R8
if I leased my tidelands to you.
My bad.

 I also forgot to tell you, you'll
have to clean up after me. I'm 
taking my money to Alaska.
Look at all that "structure."

There is no moral risk for geoduck farmers who lease tidelands. Geoduck prices, artificially propped up because DNR refuses to replant their subtidal acres harvested of geoduck, does not result in a sustainable market, any more than the blind faith Chinese investors have placed in a popped stock market bubble will be maintained by banks propping up prices in a falling market.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Taylor Shellfish Kicks Monterey Bay Sustainability Standards Under the Bus

Get involved: Tell Juan this is not sustainable aquaculture.
Contact - Juan Aguirre, JAguirre@scsglobalservices.com
"Public Notice" information on "sustainability" certification for south Puget Sound is found here:

Firm from the Netherlands will now determine 
if Taylor Shellfish farms in a "sustainable" manner.
Only Totten Inlet, Little Skookum and Oakland Bay
will be considered. (A separate application 
for Willapa Bay has been submitted, found here.)

Are thousands of PVC pipes in
Puget Sound's tidelands "sustainable"?
Is this "structure" a "habitat"?
The algae is green. Does that help?

Monterey Bay Aquarium listens to citizens and reconsiders ratings for geoduck farms
In a September 15, 2014 letter to Pierce County, attorneys for Taylor Shellfish touted how Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch had given farmed geoduck a "green" rating. Citizens from the northwest complained (see Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat letter here). Those initial concerns and complaints resulted in scores for "Data", "Effluent", and "Wildlife Mortalities" being lowered (see Protect Our Shoreline post from December here). Following those concerns, Monterey Bay then held a "webinar" in which citizens were invited to participate and express their concerns. Many did and Monterey Bay Aquarium listened with interest.

Is growing a genetically modified, sterile,
non-native Pacific oyster "sustainable"?
Ask the man in wooden shoes.

Yellow is the new Green
Taylor Shellfish has now decided to pursue a "sustainability" certification for its geoduck, non-native Pacific oyster, non-native Manila clams, and non-native Gallo mussels grown in south Puget Sound from another organization, ASC, based in the Netherlands. Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch, concerned with the credibility of other programs, ranks the standards of ASC as a "yellow" which they define as:
 Buy, but be aware there are concerns with how they’re caught or farmed.
Harstine Island's Fudge Point State Park? Ignore it.
Harstine Island's Wilson Point? Ignore it.

A "cluster" of farms is not the same as an entire company's operations.
In the certification announcement, Taylor Shellfish is not asking for certification of its methods overall. It is only seeking certification for a "cluster" of farms. One "cluster" is in Totten Inlet, Little Skookum Inlet, and Oakland Bay. Not included are the expansive geoduck farms throughout south Puget Sound, including those along the shores of Harstine Island, Key Penninsula, and those proposed in Burley Lagoon and in Carr Inlet. Separately, another cluster is located in Willapa Bay, where imazamox is being sprayed, fully supported by Taylor Shellfish (see Public Notice below).

Is the application of an herbicide
a sustainable practice?

Get involved. Taylor Shellfish is. If they want true certification, why not return to those who their attorney/lobbyist told Pierce County was so good? Taylor Shellfish is seeking an easy certification which Monterey Bay's Seafood Watch considers only capable of giving a "Yellow" ("...there are concerns...") rating. If that.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

DNR Tideland Leasing - Who is managing who? Part 2: DNR negotiates geoduck tideland leases with an inactive/administratively dissolved LLC.

Kent Kingman, owner of Minterbrook Oyster
and the administratively dissolved (2012)

Case Cove LLC, "inactive" since October 1, 2012 
"Administratively dissolved
for failure to file an annual report."
Secretary of State

Kent Kingman's 'Case Cove LLC' - "Inactive" since October 1, 2012, and administratively dissolved. But good enough for DNR to negotiate terms and new contracts with for geoduck tideland leases beginning in 2013.
DNR documents released (files are large) reveal how convenient the various players in the geoduck industry make it for each other, and how convenient the state's Department of Natural Resources makes things, including negotiations with Kent Kingman's non-existent LLC. In the requests for proposals, rights to a DNR parcel in front of Kent Kingman's unpermitted shellfish operation were won by Brian Allen in 2006. Mr Allen's offered 12% and a price per acre  of $1,250/acre/year. Mr Allen agreed to give up his winning proposal ("for a piece") and DNR, beginning in December 2013, started re-negotiating with Mr Kingman's non-existent LLC, ending up agreeing to terms lower than originally offered by Mr Allen. (See the Washington State's Secretary of State website  showing Mr Kingman's Case Cove LLC being inactive since October of 2012).

Brian Allen's 2006 winning proposal -
12% and $1,250/acre.

Terms from DNR offered 12/5/2013 
to Mr Kingman's "inactive" Case Cove LLC
"...and the base rent is offered at $1,000/acre/year..."
(20% lower - and Mr Kingman still complains  - 
see the end of this post)

Mr Kingman's "Inactive" Case Cove LLC,
represented as still active.
(received at DNR 12/20/2013)
Secretary of State? It's inactive and dissolved.

Mr Kingman's Inactive on Resolving
Shoreline Violations As Well 

Kent Kingman's unpermitted shellfish farm, 
bulkhead, deck, remodeled cabin, retaining wall, etc.
Inactive on violations
December 2013: Settlement agreement signed.
June 2015: Not resolved.
Perhaps too busy working on a permit 
for his "oyster bar" in Purdy to get around to it?

I'll hold the lease but Taylor Shellfish will do the permitting
In notes released to the public from DNR, in a conversation with Mr Kingman about what the relationship of his "inactive" Case Cove LLC is with Taylor Shellfish, it was written:
1-14-15 BHL- I spoke to Kent today and found out that he will be the leaseholder, and Taylor will do the permitting at this point but he is paying for that service. (DNR Notes related to the now inactive Case Cove LLC)
 - or not.
But in a letter to Pierce County dated June 10, 2015, Taylor Shellfish states it is now withdrawing its permitting efforts for geoduck farming on the Kingman parcels, adjacent to those those the "inactive" Case Cove LLC is in negotiations with DNR about. The letter from Taylor Shellfish states it would be best to get his unpermitted farm "...in good order." Good idea in 2013 and still a good idea in 2015.

Subtidal Management by DNR?

Seattle Shellfish Tidelands
Leased from Mason County
(outlined in red)
(from DNR)

Current geoduck "seed" being planted
by Seattle Shellfish

Meanwhile, subtidally, wild populations are stripped from DNR "managed" tidelands and not replanted
While DNR negotiates with non-existent LLC's whose "permitting partners" are no longer permitting geoduck farming on the "owner's" tidelands, it has been reported Chelsea Sea Farms and the Detiennes are appealing their permit denial, affirmed by the courts, for their subtidal farm. In addition, Seattle Shellfish reports to the Corps they will be planting with divers. DNR? Well, that's something they apparently can't do. Instead, the few public tidelands still available are being leased to geoduck farmers. And LLC's who do not exist and whose owner complains about their previously offered terms now being too high.

Kent Kingman: "Expressed the % wholesale state royalty
should be re-evaluated..." How about thrown out?
(click to enlarge)

Get involved - Commissioner Goldmark's email: CPL@dnr.wa.gov
Tell Peter Goldmark he was not elected - twice - as the Commissioner for Public Lands to allow the aquatics division to continue as it was before he was elected. It's time for DNR to first manage their subtidal tidelands like their forest lands and require replanting, then open more intertidal tidleands to the public.