Department of Ecology News Release - October 24, 2014

Public may comment on permit to control burrowing shrimp in Willapa Bay & Grays Harbor

OLYMPIA – The shellfish industry has requested to use the pesticide imidacloprid in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor to help control burrowing shrimp.

Burrowing shrimp harm oyster production. They destabilize tidelands, causing oysters to sink into mud and sand, and suffocate.

The Washington Department of Ecology is developing a permit that would allow the use of the pesticide. Ecology determined that an environmental impact study (EIS) is needed before a new permit can be issued.

An EIS reports on the potential impacts a proposed project would have on the environment. The study is a key component of the state’s water quality permit process.

The public is invited to review and comment now through Dec. 8, 2014, on the draft EIS, draft permit, and draft sediment impact zone. Visit Ecology’s website for information on how to submit comments.

Ecology will accept oral and written comments during a public meeting at 10 a.m., Dec. 2, at the Willapa Harbor Community Center, 916 W. First St., South Bend.

The shellfish industry’s control of burrowing shrimp in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor is in transition. Coastal shellfish growers have used the pesticide carbaryl for decades to control burrowing shrimp on their commercial oyster and clam beds. The Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association agreed to phase out carbaryl by 2013 under a settlement agreement with the Washington Toxics Coalition. Since carbaryl is no longer available, growers are requesting use of imidacloprid instead.

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Melissa Rohlfs, Communications, 360-407-6239 @EcySW