DUNGENESS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE UPDATE (DNWR): Groups Sue USFWS For Failure to Protect the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
On August 17, Protect the Peninsula’s Future (PPF) was joined by The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat and the WA D.C. national organization Beyond Pesticides in a legal action to hold the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) accountable to follow its regulations and protect the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. They were represented by the Seattle WA law firm Bricklin and Newman
The August 17 federal complaint, submitted to the United States District Court For The Western District of Washington, states that the USFWS must “take action that is required by the Refuge Improvement Act and conduct a compatibility determination and require a special use permit for a proposed industrial aquaculture use” that will abut and impact the Refuge.
Plainly, the compatibility determination would decide whether this industrial- shellfish operation is compatible with the mission of the Refuge.The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson. The Refuge provides habitat, a preserve, and breeding grounds for more than 250 species of birds and 41 species of land animals. The shellfish operation lease is for 50 acres of Washington State bottomlands. 34 acres would be covered with up to 80.000 plastic grow-out bags of non-native shellfish spat, staked into the bottomlands and potentially killing all marine life underneath and snaring wildlife in the netting. These plastic bags will cover the primary feeding grounds for the birds, essentially starving them as they peck through the plastic trying to reach nutrients. This operation would shift the natural year-round-sediment drift, moving the sediment into and covering the eelgrass beds – beds protected for rearing salmon for whales and nourishment for particular migratory ducks. To protect the birds, the area is closed to the public during the migratory bird season. However the USFWS will allow the shellfish operation in to the area all year long to the detriment of the birds.
Please see this publication for further detail. https://www.ehn.org/dungeness-national-wildlife-refuge-oyster-2660613389.html