Experts make progress on state shellfish initiative

Work on the Washington State Shellfish Initiative is shifting into high gear, as I learned yesterday during a meeting of the Shellfish Initiative Advisory Group.

The initiative is being directed by a “core group,” made up of representatives from seven state and federal agencies. Advice is coming from a much larger advisory group in quarterly meeings like the first one yesterday. See “Purpose Statement” (PDF 44 kb) for details.

Manchester Research Station
NOAA photo

During the meeting, the group reviewed progress on a work plan that includes more than 30 different tasks, each assigned to a small working group. I made notes on many of the projects, which I’ll share with you in future news stories or blog entries.

I did focus on one Kitsap County project with relevance for the entire Puget Sound region: a new oyster hatchery at Manchester Research Station to produce baby Olympia oysters. It will be part of an ongoing effort to restore the native Olympias. See the story I wrote for today’s Kitsap Sun.

One anonymous person commented at the bottom of the story: “Hey, an organization that actually accomplishes something! Keep up the good work and don’t get bogged down in doing studies and producing reports that no one will read or respond to.”

I understand why people are sometimes frustrated by the planning that seems to go on and on. But without planning, I’m not sure who would grap the limited money. Without planning, the projects would have no focus and the work would be done haphazardly.

The Washington Shellfish Initiative, while going beyond Puget Sound, is integrated within the Puget Sound Action Agenda by the Puget Sound Partnership, which has been assigned by the governor to coordinate the shellfish initiative. The Action Agenda is designed as a blueprint for the full restoration of the Puget Sound ecosystem.

If you’d like to catch a glimpse of other shellfish projects in the works, you can download the work plan (PDF 120 kb).

For background on the Washington Shellfish Initiative, check out the story I wrote for the Kitsap Sun Dec. 9, when the project was announced jointly by Gov. Chris Gregoire and Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Other information and important links related to the initiative can found on a Water Ways entry I wrote a few days later on Dec. 16.

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