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, April 26, 2018

April 27, 5PM: Reminder - Comments on Commercial Shellfish Operation Within the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge Are Due

Get Involved: 
Critical Marine Habitat
In a National Wildlife Refuge
Should not be Fragmented
It's a Wildlife Refuge

Reminder: April 27, 5PM - Comments to Clallam County on whether a permit should be issued to allow  150,000 2'X3' grow out bags, growing nonnative Pacific oysters, in the tidelands of the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge are due. Those comments may be submitted 2 ways:
1. Email to Greg Ballard at gballard@co.clallam.wa.us (reference SHR2017-00011)
2. Via electronic form on Clallam County's site here:
Get involved. Not for yourself but for the native species dependent on this critical and diminishing habitat they need for survival.
(For complete permit information, see here:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge: Comments Due April 27, Hearing June 7

Permit SHR2017-00011
Clallam County Shoreline Permit
150,000 Bags of Non-native Pacific Oysters
in the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

By April 27 - Clallam County Comment Form: http://www.clallam.net/features/emailClallam.asp?em=permits&caseid=SHR2017-00011
By April 27 Email contact: Greg Ballard at gballard@co.clallam.wa.us *
(*Ask for an email confirming it was received. If you don’t get one within 24 hours, call Greg Ballard at 360.565.2616.)
June 7, 1PM - Public Hearing

Should portions of the tidelands of the
Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
be allowed to be transformed
into a commercial aquaculture development
because the water is now cleaner?

Funding Sources
(from: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/publications/1410041.pdf)

Public dollars fund a restoration.
In 2005 an oyster operation within the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, which had been operating for decades, was abandoned due to water quality issues. Over the next 10 years millions of  taxpayer dollars in the form of grants from the EPA, including matching funds from Washington, was sourced by various groups (see "Funding Sources" above). These taxpayer funded grants were used to determine the source, and remedy the cause, of pollutants within the Dungeness watershed. In December of 2017 the tidelands within the National Wildlife Refuge were considered by the Department of Health to be "Conditionally" approved

DOH Classifications 

Now what? Clallam County, Army Corps, and the Department of Natural Resources
Currently there are two regulatory agencies, Clallam County and the Army Corps of Engineers, in the permitting process, and the Department of Natural Resources considering a lease. Clallam County had thought a hearing scheduled April 4th would be the end of public input, but the Hearing Examiner felt there was too much information still to be gathered from the public and various agencies before a decision could be made, so granted an extension for the comment period to April 27, to be followed by another Hearing June 7. Having denied qualification for a Nationwide permit, the Army Corps of Engineers is beginning to look at the proposal through their Individual Permitting process. Finally, the Department of Natural Resources is considering a new lease for the operation.

In a National Wildlife Refuge?
150,000 synthetic bags 
growing non-native Pacific oysters?

Lean forward and get involved. It's a National Wildlife Refuge on an easement granted to US Fish and Wildlife from the State for that purpose in 1943. It's 2018 and there's no "elsewhere" to go. 
These tidelands are neither privately held nor Tribal tidelands. The operation was abandoned 12 years ago. Public funds have indeed made the water quality better - the result of a number of groups, including the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe. However, this critical inter-tidal marine habitat is needed now than ever before. Industrial aquaculture is expanding throughout Puget Sound and it is fragmenting the marine habitat.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Conservation Groups File Papers Seeking WDFW Oversight of Commercial Aquaculture in Washington State

(See press release below)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE--Case Number: 18-2-01972-34.
April 12, 2018
CONTACT:   Patrick Townsend (360) 359-4406 
                     Laura Hendricks  (253) 509-4987
                     Kurt Beardslee    (425) 788-0125 


Protect Zangle Cove, the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat and Wild Fish Conservancy filed suit today against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (“WDFW”), demanding an end to the improper exemption of industrial shellfish aquaculture projects from state standards designed to protect fish and marine habitats. 

Most construction projects in or near Washington waters must receive an Hydraulic Project Approval (“HPA”), which requires that they have safeguards in place to protect fish and their habitat. WDFW has exempted commercial aquaculture from this statutory requirement for many years, meaning aquaculture projects go forward without these crucial environmental safeguards. 

The lawsuit filed in Thurston County Superior Court contends this exemption has no legal basis and asks the court to direct WDFW to apply the HPA law consistently to shellfish aquaculture projects. The suit also asks the court to halt development of a geoduck farm planned for Zangle Cove, a near pristine estuary in South Puget Sound, until it receives an HPA permit.

“With threatened Southern Resident killer whales and endangered native salmon at extreme risk, our state agencies have failed to implement the environmental protections that are critical to the broad scale ecological recovery of Puget Sound,” says Patrick Townsend, president of Protect Zangle Cove. “The action we are taking today is one important step toward restoring sanity to the recovery process. We must protect the tidelands from further loss of ecological function or we will see the loss of iconic species so important to the people of Washington State.” 

Laura Hendricks, director of the Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat, emphasizes that the lawsuit only asks the state to apply the law consistently.

“There is a double standard that exempts commercial shellfish aquaculture from the state HPA permitting system, even though these operations pose a severe threat to our fragile coastal habitats,” Hendricks says. “A private citizen installing a small dock needs to get an HPA permit, but a commercial shellfish facility would not need an HPA permit before constructing a facility that disrupts miles of pristine shoreline, destroys natural vegetation and aquatic life, and inserts tons of harmful plastic tubing, netting, and rebar into the tidelands.” 

Commercial shellfish aquaculture is in the midst of dramatic expansion in Washington. These factory-farm like facilities already take up as many as 50,000 shoreline acres, or as much as one-quarter of all Washington tidelands. Significant expansion is planned in the immediate future,  focusing largely on geoducks raised to sell in the Asian luxury market.

A single-acre geoduck operation usually includes around 44,000 PVC tubes, four- or six-inches in diameter, and approximately ten inches long. This amounts to approximately seven miles of PVC tubing per acre, weighing between 11 and 23 tons. Plastic nets are typically installed over the entire geoduck bed to keep out native wildlife that would normally feed and shelter there.

Kurt Beardslee, co-founder and Executive Director of the Wild Fish Conservancy, says: “There’s no way around it, it’s a scientific fact: the industrial shellfish aquaculture industry routinely damages vast amounts of habitat critical to federally protected species, including wild salmon and steelhead, with little or no agency oversight.”

Protect Zangle Cove, the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat and Wild Fish Conservancy are represented in the litigation by the law firm of Lane Powell P.C.

To view the complaint filed today, visit: 

For more information about the impact of commercial shellfish aquaculture, visit:

About Zangle Cove
Protect Zangle Cove is a nonprofit organization consisting of citizens who reside on the shores of South Puget Sound. Our mission is to protect the tideland of Zangle Cove from industrial geoduck aquaculture, preserve the critical habitat of Puget Sound tidelands, support the protection and restoration of eelgrass on Puget Sound tidelands, educate citizens about nearshore habitat, inform government officials about the problems from industrial shellfish aquaculture, and encourage rulemaking to protect Puget Sound shorelines for the enjoyment of citizens and for native species that make their homes here. 

About Coalitoin To Protect Puget Sound Habitat 
The Coalition is an alliance of citizens, environmentalists, scientists and recreational users concerned about industrial aquaculture and its impacts on plants, animals, and ecological functions. Our mission is to voice citizen concerns about industrial aquaculture and its adverse impact on the health and quality of Puget Sound and coastal waters, to effect changes in policies and regulations, and to encourage enforcement to protect shoreline habitat. 

About Wild Fish Conservancy
The Conservancy is a membership-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and recovery of the Northwest’s native fish species and the ecosystems upon which those species depend. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge Tidelands: Habitat for Native Species or 150,000 Synthetic Bags Growing Nonnative Oysters?

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

County Extends Comment Period
Schedules a 2nd Hearing
on Shoreline Permit

April 27: Comments to Clallam County are due.
June 7, 1PM: Hearing will be held at Room 160 of the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E 4th Street, Port Angeles
General Permit Information: http://websrv2.clallam.net/tm_bin/tmw_cmd.pl?tmw_cmd=ParcelViewParcel&shl_prc_parcel_no=043123XXXXXX

DNR Considers a New Lease 
of Tidelands
Comments Welcome

Office of the Commissioner of Public Lands - cpl@dnr.wa.gov
MS 47001, Olympia, WA 98504-7001
360-902-1004, fax: 360-902-1775

Aquatic Resources Division ard@dnr.wa.gov
MS 47027, Olympia, WA 98504-7027  
360-902-1100, fax: 360-902-1786

What is the purpose of tidelands within a National Wildlife Refuge?
After being abandoned in 2005 due to water quality issues, should Clallam County approve permit for a commercial shellfish development inside a National Wildlife Refuge which would allow over 150,000 synthetic bags growing nonnative oysters on the Refuge tidelands? After a one time renewal of a lease expired in 2017 should the Department of Natural Resources enter into a new lease of those abandoned 50 acres which would allow that portion of state tidelands deeded to the US Department of Fish and Wildlife in the form of an easement be entered into? Those are the critical questions facing the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.

Get involved - Sometimes enough is too much.
Noted above are contacts for both the county and for DNR. Make a difference and shape what the future experience of coming generations of wildlife will experience. The US Department of Fish and Wildlife has expressed deep concerns over the impact on the critical habitat which this proposal will have. You should as well, whether for native species; yourself; or future generations. 

Write a letter - Express yourself.
The subject line should say Letter to Editor - What is a National Wildlife Refuge For?