Proposal for Hood Canal geoduck farm dropped – PDN

This is not as simple as it sounds. Mr. Kimmel, from sources that I talked to, had figured that if he simply planted the farm that the county would, if challenged, just give him the permit. Unfortunately for him, it angered neighbors who alerted some activists that are not in favor of geoduck farm expansion, and a number of other environmental groups in that county also joined in.

For those unaware of the issue, with the value of geoducks skyrocketing due to Chinese demand, there is enormous pressure to turn as many possible good beach locations into farms as possible. The South Sound has been a hotbed of angry legal battles from environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, who’s chapter there  has made it the only thing it apparently fights. Taylor Shellfish, who are the leading, but not only company in that area, are the ones that get many of the lawsuits.

The problems that these geoduck farms cause are not easily apparent. Everyone loves shellfish and many consumers in urban areas are not aware of the problems that people living along the shore face. People who moved down into these beautiful bays, may have assumed a peaceful quiet location far from urban activity. In the winter, when the harvest of geoducks is in full swing (due to Chinese end of year festivities) the low tides are often late at night. Homeowners can be kept awake for many hours from the diesel generator activity as the divers and beach workers blast the sand away to get at the geoducks.  There is also wide spread netting of the beaches in the startup phase (the farms rotate a five year crop, planting successive beach areas, so they are planting and harvesting every year), sometimes in front of homeowners beaches, as the farms can sometimes be licensed in the tidal zone that is often legally in the state’s legal jurisdiction, due to our unusual State Constitution, that defined aquaculture as fundamental to the State. There is much concern about environmental destruction of the beaches from repeated geoduck farming and harvest, but a 7 year study by Washington Sea Grant, supported by some environmental organizations, did not find long term problems that would cause enough concern to ban the farming. It did ask for more research on the issues they raised, but that was not supported by the shellfish industry, which funds many of these efforts. Since the collapse of People For Puget Sound, which was the most effective organization in working on these issues with the shellfish industry, the industry has pretty much had run of the legislature, and left their opposition to fighting the battle only in the courts. They have had some limited success in suing, but it has not really stopped or even slowed the expansion of geoduck farming, as new farms are being put in on the Dungeness river estuary, and off the east side of Indian Island. Tribes have been farming and harvesting geoducks as well, as is their right. This issue described below is more about non-tribal farm expansion.

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A controversial proposal for a geoduck and oyster farm on Hood Canal is being pulled. The Kitsap Sun reported that according to Kitsap County planners, Scott Kimmel, the owner of New Day Fisheries, has decided not to pursue permit applications for the project.(Associated Press)

Read the short story at the PDN.

 http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20141228/NEWS/312289945/proposal-for-hood-canal-geoduck-farm-dropped

Raw oysters sicken 12, prompt shellfish harvest closure and recall – Seattle Times

Oops. Apparently a leaking septic system was to blame. This affects a wide range of fresh oysters in many states. Read the article for more information. Environmental organizations have pushed for well over a decade to get counties to force mandatory inspections of septic systems. However, public outcry against doing it, especially in counties like Mason, have forced voluntary programs. And this is the kind of outcome that happens. Haven been made sick from oysters myself, I can tell you it isn’t fun. I spent almost a week in bed once from the experience, and really felt like I was dying.

Washington state health officials have ordered an emergency harvest closure and a multistate recall of all shellfish from a portion of Mason County’s Hammersley Inlet after at least a dozen people who ate raw oysters became ill. (Seattle Times)

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2025219127_shellfishrecallxml.html

Killer whales expected to head south any day now- Kitsap Sun

Chris Dunagan at Watching Our Water Ways blogs: “As chum salmon swim back to their home streams in Puget Sound this fall, three killer whale pods — the Southern Residents — can be expected to follow, making their way south along the eastern shoreline of the Kitsap Peninsula. These forays into Central and South Puget Sound could begin any day now and continue until the chum runs decline in November or December. The Southern Residents, which typically hang out in the San Juan Islands in summer, have not been spotted for several days, so they are likely somewhere in the ocean at the moment, according to Howard Garrett of Orca Network. (Kitsap Sun)

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2014/10/01/killer-whales-expected-to-head-south-any-day-now/#axzz3EsDVWuTD

Project manager: New state, Navy conservation easement for areas of Hood Canal won’t halt pit-to-pier – PDN

If nothing else, this is likely to stall the Pit To Pier project for the next decade while it goes through the courts. Thanks to Charlie and the PDN for covering the story.

A conservation easement between the state Department of Natural Resources and the Navy that prohibits industrial development along areas of Hood Canal won’t stop a gravel-moving facility nicknamed the “pit-to-pier,” the project manager said. …Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140710/NEWS/307109987/project-manager-new-state-navy-conservation-easement-for-areas-of

When the stars go out all along the coast – Crosscut

Another update on the mysterious and very destructive sea star wasting disease. Apparently there is a scientific paper out soon that might start to answer some of the questions on what and why.

Sea stars, the original “keystone species,” are melting into mush even on local shores where they previously seemed safe, leaving scientists puzzled… and worried.

http://crosscut.com/2014/06/30/puget-sound/120763/when-stars-go-out-all-along-coast/

 

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Starfish Wasting Disease – Update

Laura James reports sea star die-offs in Hood Canal.

Sund rock stars https://www.facebook.com/diverLAuRA/media_set?set=a.10154410435430438.1073741967.760835437&type=1

Meanwhile, Scientists Close In On The Cause Of Sea Star Wasting Syndrome

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/flora-and-fauna/article/unprecedented-epidemic-in-the-oceans-iconic-sea-st/
Drew Harvell peers into the nooks and crannies along the rocky shoreline of Eastsound on Orcas Island. Purple and orange starfish clutch the rocks, as if hanging on for dear life…. Scientists have been working for months to find out what’s causing the massive die-off and now Harvell and others have evidence that an infectious disease caused by a bacteria or virus, may be at the root of the problem. The disease, they say, could be compounded by warming waters, which put the sea stars under stress, making them more vulnerable to the pathogen… While scientists are reluctant to assign blame to climate change, Harvell explained that as oceans warm, outbreaks like this are more likely to occur. Katie Campbell and Ashley Ahearn report. (EarthFix)

‘Pit-to-pier’ firm appeals Jefferson County’s Shoreline Master Plan- PDN

The Peninsula Daily News reports today that the Thorndyke Resources Project will take a legal challenge on the Shoreline Master Plan to the Growth Management Board. Given what the PDN reports, it seems unlikely to be successful, but hope springs eternal with these folks, and they apparently have the money to hire the lawyers to challenge it. 

Read the whole story here:

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140418/news/304189970/-8216-pit-to-pier-8217-firm-appeals-jefferson-county-8217-s

 

 

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