Reports & Investigations

To watch the video: “The Framing of an Oyster Farm”,  click the link or copy and paste it into your web browser: http://vimeo.com/52331881

03-18-2013 From the Conservation Study Institute, US Department of the Interior, and with the imprimatur of the National Park Service itself:

STEWARDSHIP BEGINS WITH PEOPLE

An Atlas of Places, People, and Handmade Products

(click on the link below)

NPSG_999_D1963_selected pages

It is within this guide you will find on page 45 not only a photograph of Kevin Lunny but also, the following comments:

 “fourth generation rancher”, who, in this publication, is “recognized for [his] ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP AND INNOVATION….[who] belong[s] to a growing number of West Marin farmers and ranchers COMMITTED TO SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL STRATEGIES….Lunny has converted his herd to grass-fed and organic production….Lunny’s Drakes Bay Family Farms now operates an oyster farm on Drakes Estero.”

The Introduction states this is “a guide to the work of friends and neighbors of U.S. national parks…who are practicing a stewardship ethic and demonstrating a commitment to sustainability…and the people in this Atlas–and others like them–deserve both recognition and encouragement.”

To read the full article click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:

http://oysterzone.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/03-18-13-stewardship-begins-with-people-where-the-nps-extolls-kevin-lunny-an-environmental-steward/

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02-21-13 75-page report details misconduct – performance & execution of investigations under Mary Kendall.

02-21-13 “House Natural Resources Committee… released a scathing 75-page report detailing misconduct in the performance and execution of IG investigations under the four-year tenure of “Acting” IG – Mary Kendall….

What is so striking – the categories of issues identified in this House Committee Report (having nothing to do with NPS at Point Reyes) are almost identical to the suite of issues involving NPS science at Drakes Estero – unfinished IG reports, gross errors, glaring omissions, significant misrepresentations, altered data, missing emails – and the list goes on. “

 

This is the story of TWO REPORTS – one from House Natural Resources Committee (just released) AND the second, a new Inspector General’s Report, prepared by the OIG under DOI IG Mary Kendall, on NPS science at Point Reyes/Drakes Estero (released in early February).

For more on this, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:

http://oysterzone.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/02-21-13-75-page-report-details-misconduct-performance-execution-of-investigations-under-mary-kendall/

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11-27-2012 The Final EIS is out, Secretary Salazar came to Drakes Estero, and a Secretarial “decision” is slated to be announced later this week.

DBOC reviewed the NPS Final EIS (FEIS) on the DBOC pending permit extension and just submitted comments to the Secretary.  In the very short time available to review this 1000 page document,  the sections on “sound” were reviewed because it was the only environmental impact determined by NPS to be MAJOR if the farm is allowed to continue.  The NPS science in this $2 million EIS is false – it’s just plain wrong.

For the letter to Salazar from DBOC, click the link below:

2012-11-27-DBOC to Sec Salazar

For the Environ Comments Memo on the Final EIS, click the link below:

2012-11-27-ENVIRON DBOC_FEIS_Soundscape_Comments_Memo

For the Stoel (attorney’s) letter to Salazar, click the link below:

2012-11-27-Stoel letter to Sec Salazar

Your attention is directed to the ENVIRON letter and Dr. Goodman’s analysis.

According to ENVIRON:

ENVIRON LETTER.

“The soundscape impact analysis remains fundamentally flawed. It does not offer sufficiently coherent and correct information upon which to base informed decisions regarding noise impacts from the DBOC facility. The FEIS appears to be based more on pursuing a specific, preconceived result than in factually considering noise generated by the DBOC operations and transmission of such noise to other locations.”

 “NPS has spent time and money developing an equally invalid, slanted, and incomplete assessment.”

“DBOC SOURCE NOISE LEVELS ARE STILL GROSSLY EXAGGERATED

The noise analysis reported in the DEIS relied on gross exaggerations of DBOC source noise levels based on misuse of data from measurements of other sources.”

 NPS’s repeated, unsupported criticisms regarding the quality and utility of the ENVIRON sound level measurements are simply a disappointing attempt to cast doubt where none exists. In lieu of taking actual sound level measurements of the specific equipment whose noise it is attempting to assess, NPS instead opted to criticize but then essentially substantiate and then use the ENVIRON sound level measurement data representing DBOC equipment. At the same time NPS has continued to use an exaggerated range of possible equipment noise levels based on false comparisons with unrepresentative equipment.

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08/29/12 2012 National Academy of Sciences review of the scientific review of the Draft Environmental Statement click on the link: NAS Review of Review of dEIS 2012 13461

Information Quality Complaint to National Park Service | Cause of Action.

On August 7, 2012, a Data Quality Act Complaint was filed with the National Park Service by Dr. Corey Goodman and Kevin and Nancy Lunny, owners, Drakes Bay Oyster Company to make corrections as required by law and policy in the NPS Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and the Atkins Final Peer Review (March 2012).
NPS must acknowledge the report within 10 days and by statute, respond within 60 days.

Summary of Complaint

To comply with applicable minimum information-quality standards, all scientific information that NPS disseminates in publications such as the DEIS and Atkins Peer Review Report must be, among other things, accurate and timely; based on the best available science and supporting studies and the most current information available; highly transparent; supported by reliable data, including on-site data when required by law; consistent with sound and accepted scientific practices and policies; evidence-based; reproducible by qualified third parties; and objective and unbiased in terms of both presentation and substance.

NPS can only claim that Alternative A is the “environmentally preferred alternative” because it flagrantly and repeatedly failed to comply with these minimum information-quality standards. Conclusions in the DEIS that DBOC causes “major” long-term adverse impacts on Drakes Estero’s “soundscape” and “wilderness” are based on inaccurate, nontransparent, false, and misleading data and analysis that violates NPS’s information-quality guidelines, as are claims that DBOC causes “moderate” long-term adverse impacts on Drakes Estero’s “harbor seals,” “birds and bird habitat,” and “visitor and recreation experience.”   If the DEIS is corrected to meet basic minimum information-quality standards, it becomes clear that DBOC’s operations do not have long-term adverse impacts on Drakes Estero’s environment.

Click on the link above or copy and paste this link into your web browser http://causeofaction.org/2012/08/08/information-quality-complaint-to-national-park-service/.

05-25-12 NAS announces assessment of NPS scientific information to begin

“An ad hoc committee will assess the scientific information, analysis, and conclusions presented in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit and evaluate whether the peer review of the DEIS conducted by Atkins, North America for the U.S. Department of the Interior, is fundamentally sound and materially sufficient.”

For the full announcement, please copy and paste the link below into your web browser:

http://dels.nas.edu/Study-In-Progress/Evaluation-Drakes-Oyster/DELS-OSB-12-02

12-09-2011 Environ Report on dEIS

Actual study … reveals the deception in the dEIS of the NPS.

“ENVIRON International Corporation (ENVIRON) has reviewed the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit (ID: 43390), and appreciates this opportunity to report our technical comments to the National Park Service (NPS) in print form. ENVIRON regularly participates in NEPA processes such as this, and respects the effort put forth by the NPS in order to develop this draft document. The purpose of these comments is to assist the NPS in developing a more scientifically accurate and complete final document that is consistent with NEPA and NPS policy.

In general, the structure of the DEIS is unusual in that there is no alternative that represents the proposed action. Neither is there an alternative that represents a continuation of current conditions. In the current structure of the DEIS, the public is left to glean unknown conditions without the Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) as the no action scenario. Consequently, the impacts resulting from conditions under alternatives that depart from this unknown status (Alternative A) are even more difficult to understand. No explanation is provided for this deviation from standard NEPA protocol, and ENVIRON questions the efficacy of this approach. Setting aside the DEIS structure, comments have been developed in several topic areas.
ENVIRON found consistent omissions and mistakes that err in a way that exaggerates potential negative impacts and understates potential positive impacts benefits. NEPA protocol requires the author to apply a net impact analysis – an assessment of both positive and negative impacts. Without this net approach, results could point toward a ‘least negative’ alternative which might in fact be worse for the environment than another option that had more negatives, but more positives that potentially balance out or mitigate for the negative impacts.”

For the full text of the report click the link below:

ENVIRON 2011

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11-22-2011 MMC Drakes Estero Report Mariculture and Harbor Seals in Drakes Estero, California

We recommend you read Appendix F prior to reading the full report which can be summed up by their statement on page iii of the Executive Summary excerpted here:

“The Marine Mammal Commission believes that the data supporting the … analyses are scant and have been stretched to their limit. Nevertheless, the analyses in Becker et al. (2011) provide some support for the conclusion that harbor seal habitat-use patterns and mariculture activities in Drakes Estero are at least correlated. However, the data and analyses are not sufficient to demonstrate a causal relationship.”

Appendix F appendix_f

MMC Report drakes_estero_report

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On October 16, 2011, Dr. Corey Goodman, world-renowned scientist and elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, gave a presentation to the community on the science behind the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The National Park Service was invited to share the podium with Dr. Goodman for an open discussion of the science behind the draft EIS followed by a Q&A with the audience. Three days before the event the NPS declined the invitation and suggested the public attend their “open house” meetings instead.

150 attendees of Dr. Goodman’s presentation were treated to an hour and a half talk on the science behind the dEIS. After that, the audience was allowed over two hours of Q&A. Once the hall had to be closed down, Dr. Goodman continued to make himself available outside on the lawn to those who still had questions or comments.

For the video of Dr. Goodman’s October 16, 2011 talk at the Dance Palace on his analysis of the science behind the draft EIS and the Becker 2011 .

http://vimeo.com/32015904

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03-31-11 Volpe Report: Baseline Ambient Sound Levels in Point Reyes National Seashore, March 2011, Final Report, United States Department of Transportation.

From the Report Documentation Page:
The …FAA, … is developing Air Tour Management Plans (ATMP) for all national parks with commercial air tours, …. An important area of technical support is the determination of representative baseline ambient sound levels for the study parks. During the summer (July – August 2009) and winter (January – February 2010), the Volpe Center conducted baseline ambient sound level measurements in Point Reyes National Seashore. Approximately one month of acoustical and meteorological data were measured at four sites throughout the park. This document summarizes the results of the noise measurement study.”

From Page 67

“Site PORE004 was located to near the Drakes Estero and Estero Trail in an exposed area with
nearby grasses and brush and a short distance from a bluff overlooking the Estero. ….

The overall median daytime sound level during the summer season was 33.8 dBA and human related sounds were audible during 17% of the daytime hours. The overall median daytime sound level during the winter season was 35.8 dBA … and human-related sounds were audible during 20% of the daytime hours. The daily sound level graphs demonstrate the influence of wind speed on the sound levels at this site. There was a small increase in audible aircraft overflights during the winter. Rain was much more prevalent in the winter season. There was also a noticeable lack of insect noise during the winter compared to summer. Birds were audible for most of the daytime during both seasons.”

(emphasis added is mine)

For the complete report, click on the link below:

VOLPE 2011

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03-22-11 Gavin Frost, solicitor for Department of the Interior, specializing in Employment Law, was asked to investigate situation in PRNS.

From PG 35:

“As a direct consequence of S1’s failure to process the data completely and speedily, potentially powerful evidence remains unknown. This misconduct arose from incomplete and biased evaluation and from blurring the line between exploration and advocacy through research.”

“Further, SE2, S1, S2, S3, and S4 violated NPS Code of Scientific and Scholarly Conduct…. On and before May 1, 2009, these NPS employees, all of whom ‘work[ed] with scientific…information[] in performing their duties,’ knew about the camera research project…yet failed to notify the informant, DBOC, the NAS, and the NRC Committee….. this information was relevant, material, and necessary to discredit or disprove the volunteer research and data, on which NPS employees heavily relied.The research also related directly to the NRC Committee’s task statement.

Finally, the decision [to] collectively but covertly use the photographic research to refute arguments … was arguably inappropriate and violative of the NPS Interim Code provision requiring ‘full[] disclos[ure].’ The NPS scientists referenced the … digital data … in an uncontested, and seemingly improper, effort to shield their own scientific findings ….”

For the full text of the report, click the link below:

Frost report 03-22-2011

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2009 National Academy of Science, National Research Council, Ocean Studies Board (beginning on page 73) found the NPS “selectively presented, over-interpreted, or misrepresented the available scientific information….

“Consequently, Drakes Estero: A Sheltered Wilderness Estuary did not present a rigorous and balanced synthesis of the mariculture impacts. Overall, the report gave an interpretation of the science that exaggerated the negative and overlooked potentially beneficial effects….NPS has issued two documents correcting and clarifying…although it does not fully reflect the conclusions of this committee….and cast doubt on the agency’s credibility and motivation.”

For the full text of the report, click the link below:

The 2009 Nat’l Academies of Sciences Report  

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2009 Monterey Bay Aquarium Report “Turning the Tide, The State of Seafood”

created a list of the top 8 Super Green Foods, with oysters third on the list, behind only Albacore Tuna and Mussels. Also found in this report is

“Several kinds of shellfish aquaculture are recognized as environmentally responsible, including the farming of bivalves like clams, oysters, mussels and scallops….farming shellfish has few negative impacts overall….increased abundance of shellfish in an area is often considered to have a positive effect on water quality….” 

Monterey Bay Aquarium Report on The State of Seafood 2009

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02-03-09 DBOC writes to Susan Roberts, Executive Director, Ocean Studies Board, National Academies of Science

to inform her of “the appearance of intentional misrepresentation of factual scientific information in Becker (version II) and the responsibility of her panel to investigate each instance of scientific misconduct.”  

DBOC letter to NAS 02-03-09

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01-19-09 Dr. Goodman letter to NAS, NRC Ocean Studies Board panel

RE: New Information Shows that the National Park Service Committed Scientific Misconduct in the Documents it Presented

“…all of the ‘mariculture-related’ disturbances in 2007 cited by the NPS occurred in less than two weeks prior to the May 8, 2007 Marin County Board of Supervisors hearing.

Tide charts and direct experimental analysis … reveal the sandbars in question were under water when seals were supposedly observed getting flushed into the water….by oyster workers that time clock and payroll records show were not working.”
For the text of the entire report, click the link below.

Dr Goodman to NAS 01-18-09

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12-18-07 Dr. Corey Goodman to Dr.. Susan Roberts, Executive Dir., Ocean Studies Bd., Nat’l Research Council, Nat’l Academy of Sciences

RE: ” Violations of Federal Policy on Research, THE CASE FOR SCIENTIFIC MISCONDUCT; The attempt to Cover-up the NPS Misconduct and Prevent its Investigation by Jon Jarvis, and David Graber; and the Failure to Properly Investigate Misconduct in Objective and Timely Fashion by the DOI’s Office including Attorney Molly Ross.”

Dr Goodman to NAS 12-18-07

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01-01-2006 The Roadway Construction Noise Model (RCNM) is the Federal HighwayAdministration’s (FHWA) national model for the prediction of construction noise.

“Due to the fact that construction is often conducted in close proximity to residences and
businesses, construction noise must be controlled and monitored to avoid impacts on
surrounding communities. In addition to community issues, excessive noise can threaten
a construction project’s progress. Each project needs to balance the community’s need
for peace and quiet with the contractor’s need to progress the work.”

(Keep in mind, the machinery used at the oyster farm at Drakes Bay Oyster Company are practically like Tinker Toys when compared to the Heavy Duty Highway Construction machinery and trucks evaluated in this report.)

For the full text of the Model, please click the link below:

FHWA 2006

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01-2006  

Dr. Sarah Allen

AFTER A 7 YEAR 4 MONTH STUDY

concluded: 

“seals habituate to disturbances they determine not to be a threat…” 

Richmond Bridge Harbor Seal Survey

Final Report to California Department of Transportation

January 2006, Contract 04A0628

Titled “Monitoring the Potential Impact of the Seismic Retrofit Construction Activities at the Richmond San Rafael Bridge on Harbor Seals…” in which “Construction-related disturbances…were attributed to … watercraft … and construction activities such as jack-hammering, rivet work, hammering and the movement of cranes on barges near [within 20 yards of] the haul-out site.”

Drakes Bay oyster boats are 750 yards away from harbor seal haul-out site

Over 37 times further from the haul-out site

than the heavy construction work on the bridge

7  and 1/2 football fields away (that is nowhere near the 20 yard line)

For more on Dr. Sarah Allen’s seven-year study click on the link below:

7 Year Harbor Seal study by Dr Sarah Allen 2005

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12-2005  Dr. Sarah Allen’s Harbor Seal Monitoring at Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area Annual Report 2005

Finds Causes for disturbance at Drakes Estero … birds most frequent cause, followed by non-motor boats [kayakers], humans [hikers], aircraft.” in conclusion she finds “The number of disturbances … remains similar to previous years and no trends are detected….hikers and boaters remain the two most frequent sources of disturbance ….”

Harbor Seal Report 2005

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2005 Dr. Sarah Allen testifies in a lawsuit in San Diego (Children’s Pool Beach Case).

Court decision based upon Dr. Sarah Allen’s testimony that

seals habituate (or anthropomorphizing) to disturbance sources that are determined not to be a threat.”

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10-16-02 Director’s Order 11B – The NPS is given the authority to Evaluate Itself, Respond to Complaints About Itself, and Decides the Final Outcome

A few excerpts from the Director’s Order:

Section IV Policies and Instructions, sub-paragraph D: Processing Complaints:

The CCU will route complaints they receive to the park or office that disseminated the information and track responses  ….  The disseminating office will evaluate the complaint  …. and notify the complainant as to whether the information has been corrected, deleted, or confirmed to be accurate.

Section IV Policies and Instructions, sub-paragraph G: Appeals Process. 

“…the complainant may appeal to the Director, National Park Service. … The Director, National Park Service, will make a decision on the final appeal ….”

For the full text via Director’s Order 11B.

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11-01-1995  September of 1995, Noise Unlimited was requested by the State of New Jersey, Department of Law and Public Safety Division of State Police, Marine Law Enforcement Bureau, to test and report on the noise levels of boats.

Engines —  750 cc, 4 stroke, 70 Horse Power Kawasaki Jet Ski — were tested at

  • idle with the microphone 5 feet above the water line and 2 feet behind the transom of the boat
  • at full throttle 50 feet away

Drakes Bay Oyster Company uses a 360 cc, 4 stroke, 20 horse power Yamaha motorboat.

The National Park Service installed a secret microphone to record noise disturbance by the oyster operations. They installed it very near the secret camera they had installed to record boat disturbances by the oyster operations.

The 281,000 photographs and logs which verified no disturbance by the oyster farm operations were dismissed by the  NPS .
The actual sound measurements verified no disturbance by the oyster operations.
The dEIS did not disclose the existence of or the findings of the actual sound measurements of the boats and equipment at the oyster farm to the public in the dEIS, nor to the peer reviewer they hired to review their work.
For the full text of their letter to the State of New Jersey, please click below:

Noise Unlimited 1995

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02-19-1971 Letter from Dept of Fish and Game to Johnson Oyster Co.

From page 2, paragraph 1:

“The National Park Services and the Department of Fish and Game are both interested in perpetuating oyster culture in Drakes Estero. In this regard we will work together in managing the oyster operations within the National Seashore …”

1971 02-19 Ltr DFG to JOC 021971

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03-14-1966  Letter from Director of Department of Fish and Game to Superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore

From paragraph 2:

“…the legislation transferring the submerged lands at Point Reyes to the Federal Government specifically reserved the fishing rights to the State (AB 1024 (Bagley) Ch. 983, Stats. of 1965).”

1966 03-14 LTR DFG to PRNS 021466

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03-02-1966, Letter from Director of Department of Fish and Game to Deputy Attorney General(CA)

From paragraph 2:

“…the law transferring the submerged lands to the Federal Government specifically reserved the fishing rights to the State.”

1966 03-02 LTR DFG to Attorney General 030266

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10-22-1965 Letter from Director Dept. of Fish and Game to Johnson Oyster Co.

From paragraph 2:

“…all State laws and regulations pertaining to shellfish cultivation (including planting requirements, land rental etc.) remain in effect since the conveyance by the Legislature reserves fishery rights to the State.”

1965 10-22 Ltr DFG to JOC 102265

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09-30-1965 Attorney General, State of Ca, opinion in response to Director of the Department of Fish and Game

“Oysters and shellfish are ‘fish’……license…for oyster cultivation may be revoked by the legislative body….at the pleasure of the state.”

1965 09-30 AG opinion

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07-09-1963  Assembly Bill 1024

Chapter 983, Sec 3:

“There is hereby reserved to the people of the state the right to fish in the waters underlying the lands described in Section 1.”

1965 07-09 Assembly Bill 1024 Chp 983 070965

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11-13-1963 Letter from Point Reyes National Seashore to Dept. of Fish and Game

From page 1, paragraph 2:

“The legislative history of the Act establishing the Point Reyes National Seashore, the Act of  September 13, 1962 (76 Stat. 538), provides that the oyster company on Drakes Estero should be allowed to continue in business.”

1963 11-13 Ltr PRNS to DFG 111363

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February 1961 Land Use Survey

From the Introduction, page 1 paragraph 2:

“Included in the proposal are provisions for the continued operation of most of the dairy ranches, suggestions for expansion of commercial fisheries to furnish recreation opportunities commensurate with the purposes of the seashore proposal, and continuance of the oyster industry in Drakes Bay…”

1961 02-61 Land use Survey

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February 1961  report on the Economic Feasibility of the Proposed Point Reyes National Seashore

prepared by Region Four Office, United States Department of the Interior Stewart L. Udall, Secretary and National Park Service Conrad L. Wirth, Director.

From the Introduction, page 1, column 2, paragraph 2:

“Existing commercial oyster beds and an oyster cannery at Drakes Estero, plus three existing commercial fisheries, should continue under national seashore status because of their public values.”

1961 02-61 Economic Feasibility

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