10-18-2012 Hit Piece misrepresents invasive, at fault: Marin IJ and Santa Rosa Press Dem

An article declaring the threat of a “newly discovered” invasive species in Drakes Estero, published in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and reprinted in the Marin Independent Journal this week, appears to be yet another hit piece churned out by wilderness advocates in the weeks leading up to the expiration of Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s lease.

 

 POINT REYES LIGHT OCTOBER 18, 2012  

Article misrepresents invasive

 

An article declaring the threat of a “newly discovered” invasive species in Drakes Estero, published in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and reprinted in the Marin Independent Journal this week, appears to be yet another hit piece churned out by wilderness advocates in the weeks leading up to the expiration of Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s lease. In the article, titled “Nasty invasive species turns up in Drakes Estero,” Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee, described the discovery of the species “a very serious matter” and Rick Johnson of the Marin Audubon Society called on the seashore to “nip this in the bud.”

 

The species is Didemnum vexillumn, a tunicate that forms yellow blankets over subtidal hard substrate and has long been known to colonize oysters growing in the estero. Didemnum has been known to Point Reyes National Seashore scientists since 2005, when the University of California, Davis conducted a study of the estero on the seashore’s behalf; the species has been part of the debate over aquaculture in Drakes Estero since 2007, when a seashore scientist wrote about it in this newspaper.

 

At the time, Andy Cohen, director of the biological invasions program at the San Francisco Estuary Institute, told that Light that since the bottom of the estero is soft sand and mud, the organism is more likely to affect the oysters than any other marine life. Dr. Mary Carman, who researches didemnum at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, said the organism does not successfully grow on eelgrass. It can cling to eelgrass blades for about 10 days before sloughing off, she said, becausethe grass secretes a protective acid. She has never known the tunicate to harm eelgrass in the wild, she added. According to the Department of Fish and Game, eelgrass acreage has doubled in the estero over the last 20 years.

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1 Comment

  1. Dee Burris

     /  October 18, 2012

    praying that this goes the right way

    Dee and Earl

    Sent from my iPhone, Dee

    Reply

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