Taylor Shellfish wants to farm geoducks on a “small portion ... up to 30 acres” in Burley Lagoon, and Pierce County planner Ty Booth says another 10-acre parcel located in Henderson Bay that’s currently pending approval “... was not deemed big enough to warrant an Environmental Impact Statement” (Gateway, Feb. 27).
Both of these potential sites are located on top of, and adjacent to, critical fish habitat. Herring spawn monitoring, conducted by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, shows spawn is only occurring in two of the six major inlets south of the Narrows Bridge. The largest area is at the head of Henderson Bay, downstream from the tide that exits Burley Lagoon next to the Purdy Bridge.
Fish and Wildlife says “documented herring spawn has been very rare (in South Puget Sound) since the 1970s.” They usually spawn in eelgrass, which has been in decline throughout Puget Sound, according to the state Department of Ecology’s Puget Sound Shoreline website. Ecology’s estimate is that one-third of this critical fish habitat has disappeared.
Geoduck harvest methods will emulsify the sediments of the lagoon to a depth of several feet, and the turbid waters will exit the lagoon and wash out over the largest herring spawn location on record in South Puget Sound. On the Henderson Bay site, a thick band of eelgrass bisects the 10-acre parcel.
How do you explain the recurring theme of economics trumping environment? I suggest sense of scale and priorities are skewed.