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August 23, 2017

Massive Net Pen Aquaculture Expansion in the Strait? A Disaster Waiting to Happen…

Did you know there is currently Atlantic Salmon being raised in net pens within the Harbor in Port Angeles? The company that owns this operation is claiming that they’re getting squeezed out, and proposes a major expansion and relocation just offshore of Green Point. This issue is moving fast, and comments are still being accepted by the Clallam County. It’s also worth noting the company that is proposing this project also owns the facility off Cypress Island that broke apart this past weekend, releasing thousands of non-native Atlantic Salmon into the Salish Sea.

The Strait of Juan de Fuca is an amazing place for coastal recreation and scenic enjoyment.

A Little Background…

From Peninsula Daily News Classified
Description
NOTICE OF APPLICATION AND PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, pursuant to Section 26.10.410 & 430 CCC, that the Clallam County Department of Community Development has scheduled a public hearing before the Clallam County Hearings Examiner for September 7, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in Room 160 of the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 East Fourth Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362. The purpose of the hearing is to review public testimony regarding the Shoreline Substantial Permit for the Cooke Aquaculture Pacific LLC (CAP) proposal to move their existing Atlantic salmon net pen operation from within Port Angeles Harbor (Ediz Hook) to an open water area in the Strait of Juan de Fuca that is located over 1.5 miles offshore and 3.8 miles east of terminus of Ediz Hook: Proposal: (SHR 2016-00002) The proposal would be comprised of fourteen (14) floating high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic pipe circular net pens, which are designed for open water conditions. Each net pen will be 126 feet in diameter, 45 feet deep, and in approximately 100 foot deep water. The proposal also includes a 40 foot wide by 100 foot long feed barge. The height of the feed barge will be approximately 19 feet above the water level when empty and 14 feet when is fully loaded with about 350 tons of fish feed. The pens would be comprised of two rows of 7 pens each with a feed barge at the eastern end of the array. Each of the net pens and the feed barge would be located 72 feet apart from each other, and would be held in place by up to sixty 4,000 to 8,000 mooring anchor, anchor lines, chains, and hardware. This proposal would encompass 9.7 acres of water surface area and require a 52 acre Aquatic lease from the WA State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Location of the Proposal: The CAP new aquaculture net pen facility is proposed to be located approximately 3.8 miles east of Ediz Hook, 1.8 miles north of Morse Creek, and approximately 1.5 miles north of Green Point, within Section 10, Township 30 North, Range 5 West, W.M. Information & Studies Submitted: A Joint Aquatic Resource Application (JARPA) with attachments, SEPA Environmental Checklist with attachments, Biological Evaluation, Current and Wave Report prepared by RPS Evans-Hamilton, Sediment Report prepared by RPS Evans-Hamilton, Mooring Analysis Report – Grid System prepared by Aqua Knowledge, and Visual Analysis Report (January 2016) were submitted with the application. Permits Required & Studies Submitted: Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Waste Discharge Permit and Coastal Zone Management Compliance Determination through the Washington Department of Ecology; Fin Fish Aquaculture Permit, Fin Fish Transport Permit, and Aquatic Farm Registration through Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Aquatic Use Authorization through DNR; Private Aids to Navigation with the United States Coast Guard; and Section 10 Permit Authorization with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will include ESA Section 7 Consultation with National Marine Fisheries Services and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA): Clallam County is lead agency and a SEPA environmental checklist (ECL 2016-03) has been submitted for the proposal. After review of the completed environmental checklist, the SEPA Memo dated July 5, 2017, and other information on file with the agency, the Clallam County Responsible Official has determined that a Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS) should be issued for this proposal. The MDNS for this proposal was issued July 6, 2017, and the comment period for this threshold determination ends on July 24, 2017. Unless the Responsible Official withdraws the threshold determination pursuant to WAC 197-11-340(3)(a), the threshold determination shall be final at the end of the comment period. The Hearing Examiner will consider the adequacy of the Threshold Determination at the open record public hearing. Public hearing and comment deadlines: Any interested person may submit written or oral comments on the proposal and the threshold determination of a MDNS prior to the close of the open record hearing. The staff report will be available seven days before the hearing. Any person may also submit a written request to DCD to receive a notice of the decision once it is made. The application and above referenced material is available at DCD On-Line Permit System web site or at our offices at 223 E. 4th St., Suite 5, Port Angeles, WA 98362, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Please contact Greg Ballard, Project Planner at (360) 565-2616, or by email at gballard@co.clallam.wa.us if you have any questions. Pub: July 9, 16, 2017 Legal No.766276

Olympic Peninsula Chapter Submits Public Comment

After digging into the project description, supporting documents and hearing from chapter members with their concerns about the project proposal, the Olympic Peninsula Chapter took the administrative step to go on record with some questions and concerns. The chapter addressed concerns about the potential impact to the unique wave resources found at Green Point and wave height attenuation of other locations in the Strait further East, inadequate wave analysis and modeling, the potential for marine debris and catastrophic failure, impacts to human and aquatic ecosystem health, and the lack of comprehensive planning regarding this proposal.

You can read the full comment letter: OPC_AquacultureLetter_Final

Can Cooke Aquaculture Be Trusted?

By now, you’ve probably heard about the major debacle happening in the San Juan Islands when the Cooke Aquaculture facility off Cypress Island broke apart this past weekend, releasing thousands off non-native Atlantic Salmon into the wild. The company has claimed that this disaster was the result of strange tides associated with the solar eclipse, but further analysis of actual tidal and current data seems to suggest that their claim is smelling a bit fishy. It’s worth mentioning here that one of the major concerns identified by the chapter in their letter above was the inadequate wave monitoring and modeling for the Port Angeles project. Basically, the company hired an consultant to stick a device in the water near the proposed location during the month of August and said that it should be good to go. Anybody who lives along this stretch of coast knows that we face some pretty wild elements and a range of conditions that could threaten the ability to keep a development of this size anchored.

Read for yourself by going to the County Project Page and downloading the Additional Reports Link (E.4, page 149)

What you can do to get involved

-Send a letter to Clallam County on the proposed project

***Updated 8/29- Governor Inslee has placed a moratorium on any new permits that could be issued from the State agencies until a full investigation of the Cypress Island escapement is completed. Clallam County has postponed the previously scheduled hearing for Sept. 7th indefinitely at the request of Cooke Aquaculture, more info here.

-Get active with the Olympic Peninsula Chapter! Next meeting is on Sept. 6th at 6:30pm in the backroom of Smugglers Cove Restaurant at the Landing Mall

Protect What You Love!

For a short refresher course on your Washington State Surf History 101, check this clip for some classic footage and why we need to protect these special places before they’re ruined forever.

 

 

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