Willapa Bay - Grays Harbor
Saturday, Oct. 7 – South Bend
South Bend High School
Tuesday, Oct. 10 – Olympia
Lacey Community Center
We are currently pre-decisional in our process, which means we have not made a decision about whether to deny the permit application or develop a draft permit approval. Information gathered during this public comment period will inform our decision of how to proceed. We plan to make that decision in fall 2017.
The current proposal is similar – but not identical – to the one submitted by WGHOGA to use imidacloprid in 2015. The applicants propose treating less acreage – 485 acres in Willapa Bay and 15 acres in Grays Harbor – as opposed to 2,000 acres across the two bays in the previous permit. They also propose in this application to treat tidelands with hand or ground equipment as opposed to aerial spraying. The 2015 permit was withdrawn at the growers’ request and never used.
There is also new information to consider when evaluating the potential environmental impacts of this proposal. New research has been released by scientists and government agencies. Several new risk assessments have been completed in North America and Europe providing the best available up-to-date science. There is also a growing public concern about Imidacloprid, which is a neonicitinoid pesticide.
As part of the environmental review process for the current application, we have considered and evaluated new research and analyses that were not available during the previous environmental review. This supplemental review incorporates the most current scientific information available into the full Environmental Impact Statement that was originally adopted in 2015.
The growers completed and submitted an application for the required National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, and applications for two Sediment Impact Zone authorizations for areas in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor in April 2017.
These permits regulate a source of pollution in water (in this case, the discharge of a pesticide) and set rules for the discharge, such as containing that pollution to a specific area and requiring that the effect of the discharge is at or below a minor adverse biological effects level.
This new, independent permit application will go through the full, normal regulatory process.
This process breaks down into three distinct phases: review of the environmental impacts, a decision on whether or not to develop a permit, and the permit development process.
First phases in the process:
If we decide the proposal cannot be sufficiently conditioned to be in compliance with the regulations (for example, the proposal has too many acute, unavoidable environmental impacts), we will deny the application and the process will end. If we determine the proposal can be conditioned to meet all the requirements in the regulations, we will continue with the permit development process.
We have the responsibility to evaluate projects that may have a significant environmental impact under the Washington State Environmental Policy Act. We are evaluating this proposal to determine whether there will be potential to harm the environment.
We prepared an Environmental Impact Statement for the 2015 permit process, and we will supplement it with the most up-to-date research and information available. The Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement – ibuilds on the Environmental Impact Statement from 2015. It compiles new research and information that wasn’t available to us when we prepared the 2015 Environmental Impact Statement.
To stay informed on opportunities to comment on this process, please join our Aquatic Pesticide Permit ListServ.
Derek Rockett, Water Quality Program
Washington State Department of Ecology
Southwest Regional Office
PO Box 47775
Olympia, WA 98504
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