Diver Bruce Kerwin brought back this fabulous photo of a tube dwelling anemone at Sund Rock dive spot on Hood Canal. A good example of the beauty worth protecting in the waters below us.
Awards and recognition for citizens getting together to fix environmental problems in their area of Hood Canal. Congratulations people. You are doing good work!
Beards Cove Community Organization and Newberry Hill Heritage Park Stewards are this year’s winners of the Hood Canal Environmental Achievement Awards. The awards, sponsored by the Hood Canal Coordinating Council, recognize people and groups that have taken actions and fostered relationships to improve the health of the Hood Canal environment. Chris Dunagan writes. (Watching Our Water Ways)
And so it goes. The Pit to Pier people never seem to give up, and seem to have an inexhaustible amount of money to spend fighting anything that stands in their way. I wonder if this is the end of the line for them though?
A federal court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the Navy challenging a conservation easement that would block development of a 998-foot pier and gravel-loading project sought by Hood Canal Sand and Gravel. U. S. District Judge Benjamin Settle on Tuesday granted a motion to dismiss, ruling that the Navy did not exceed its authority in granting the 55-year easement on state-owned tidelands along Hood Canal…. The easement is an agreement between the Navy and the state Department of Natural Resources announced in July 2014 that would block development on more than 4,800 acres of state land along Hood Canal, stretching from the Hood Canal Bridge south to just below the border between Jefferson and Mason counties. (Peninsula Daily News)
Warning for those of you going out to do some shellfish gathering.
…. The Department of Health found high levels of the marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning in Hood Canal early this summer, leading the state to close several beaches in Jefferson and Mason counties to shellfish harvest, many for the first time. Aria Shephard Bull reports. (Kitsap Sun)
See also: More shellfish harvest closures in effect in Clallam County; shut areas stretch from Cape Flattery to Jefferson line http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150816/NEWS/308169987/more-shellfish-harvest-closures-in-effect-in-clallam-county-shut (Peninsula Daily News)
Chris shares his thoughts on 35 years of environmental reporting. I know that he has been an inspiration to my work on this blog since I started it in 2007.
Christopher Dunagan, who retired from daily reporting at the Kitsap Sun and now blogs, wrote of his 35 years of reporting: … “I grew up believing that science was a particular set of facts that explained the workings of nature. For the longest time, I failed to see that the most important thing about science was formulating the right questions about things we don’t know….While there is much work to do, we’re at a point where we can expect Puget Sound residents to limit their damage to the ecosystem and become part of the restoration effort.” (Watching Our Water Ways)
Disappointing but not unexpected news. Working piecemeal on this apparently.
The Navy has suspended its application for a restrictive easement along Hood Canal’s Kitsap County shoreline until a lawsuit over a similar easement on the Jefferson County side is settled. Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor applied with the state Department of Natural Resources in August 2013 for an easement from the Hood Canal bridge south to the county line near Holly that would prohibit new commercial wharves, piers, docks and floats. It would comprise a strip of state-owned bedlands from 18 feet below the average low tide to 70 feet down. Ed Friedrich reports. (Kitsap Sun)
Worth noting that the Kitsap Sun requires a subscription to view.
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.
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.