04-11-12 Greenwire “Battle escalates over allegations of NPS misconduct

‘Good enough for government work’
To PEER executive director Jeff Ruch, the debate over the noise data is irrelevant. Even if NPS made mistakes in presenting the data — by not clearly marking the sound levels as estimates — it falls short of scientific misconduct, he said.

The Park Service has limited funds and limited time. The draft EIS is “good enough for government work,” he said.

“It’s a minor mistake. It doesn’t invalidate the larger product,” he said. “This is a game of academic gotcha that misses the broader point.”
Greenwire
3. INTERIOR:
Battle escalates over allegations of NPS misconduct
Emily Yehle, E&E reporter

Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Environmental groups are pushing back against allegations that the National Park Service falsified data in an effort to oust a California oyster farm from a wilderness area.

The Interior Department — which houses NPS — is looking into allegations that officials purposely misled the public by using 1995 data from New Jersey police boats to represent the noise coming from Drakes Bay Oyster Co. A table in the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) appears to imply the data were collected at the farm, and it misled a scientist who reviewed the document as part of a peer review Interior commissioned (Greenwire, March 27).

The controversy is the latest in a string of headaches for Interior over NPS research on Drakes Bay Oyster Co., which is fighting to renew its lease in a national wilderness area. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has closely followed the controversy, has since accused the service of building a “deceptive and potentially fraudulent” case against the company (E&ENews PM, March 29).

But Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin say the charges are overblown. They point to the fact that the EIS fully cites the sources of the noise data in its references, even if such clear citations are not on the table itself.

In a recent letter to Interior Scientific Integrity Officer Ralph Morgenweck, EAC executive director Amy Trainer calls the allegations “unfounded.”

“We are particularly concerned about the recent claims both because of the manner in which they have been politicized by Senator Feinstein, and, like previous ones, are baseless, unscientific, and distract from the real issue facing Secretary Salazar: whether to uphold long-standing national park laws and policies, or roll them back to allow private industry to commercialize the heart of a national park,” she wrote.

A Feinstein spokesman did not return a request for comment. But in her letter to Salazar last month, Feinstein referenced the repeated problems found with NPS research on the farm; that includes a 2011 report from Interior’s solicitor’s office that found park scientists mishandled evidence and acted improperly (Greenwire, March 23, 2011).

Guessing game
The mystery over how NPS came to its estimates lingers. Interior is refusing to detail how NPS extrapolated the sound levels of the farm’s equipment from the 1995 New Jersey study and a 2006 “Construction Noise Users Guide” from the Federal Highway Administration.

Most puzzling is the sound level for the farm’s oyster tumbler. Five items in the 2006 guide match the sound level attributed to the tumbler in the draft EIS: a concrete-mixer truck, a drill-rig truck, a front-end loader, a rivet buster and a ventilation fan.

None come close to the tumbler, a piece of equipment that uses a small electric motor to sort oysters. In her letter to Interior, Trainer suggests that a concrete mixer is the most likely substitute.

But she also presents a seemingly random hypothesis. NPS, she writes, could have taken the 85 decibels attributed to “all other equipment” in the 2006 users guide and then “conservatively decided to reduce the loudness attributed to the oyster tumbler” to get the 79 decibels cited in the draft EIS.

Trainer uses similar logic in her defense of the 71 decibels the draft EIS attributes to the oyster farm’s motorboats, the loudest of which has a 40 horsepower engine. The only number that matches in the New Jersey study — which is cited in the EIS as the source — is the sound level for a 1995 Kawasaki Jet Ski.

But in her letter, Trainer hypothesizes the Park Service instead based the loudness of the farm’s motorboats on the sound level for a boat with a 175 horsepower engine. That engine is far louder than those of the farm’s boats, and the New Jersey study measured its sound level at 81 decibels.

Trainer contends that NPS just took off 10 decibels to reach the 71 decibels that is attributed to the farm’s boats in the EIS.

When asked how she came to these calculations, Trainer said her group “took an objective, reasonable approach to consider what equipment the NPS was likely comparing to like.”

But Interior is keeping silent on how NPS actually came to its numbers, which are used in the EIS to make a variety of assertions. Among them is that the farm’s motorboats can be heard more than 1.3 miles away. The draft EIS also contends that the oyster tumbler — which sorts the shellfish with a far quieter engine than that of the boats — can be heard 2.3 miles away.

‘Good enough for government work’
To PEER executive director Jeff Ruch, the debate over the noise data is irrelevant. Even if NPS made mistakes in presenting the data — by not clearly marking the sound levels as estimates — it falls short of scientific misconduct, he said.

The Park Service has limited funds and limited time. The draft EIS is “good enough for government work,” he said.

“It’s a minor mistake. It doesn’t invalidate the larger product,” he said. “This is a game of academic gotcha that misses the broader point.”

That point, to environmental groups, is that the oyster farm sits in an area that Congress designated as wilderness decades ago. If Interior allows the company to stay, they contend that it would go against policy and set a precedent that could endanger wilderness areas throughout the country.

Indeed, the Park Service was poised to kick out the farm before Feinstein intervened in 2009, inserting language in the fiscal 2010 spending bill that explicitly allowed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to grant the farm a 10-year renewal. The EIS process began after that.

Feinstein, Ruch said, “appears to be upset by the process her own legislation created.”

“This is not rocket science — motor boats and machinery make noise and this location, Drakes Estero, is supposed to be wilderness,” he said. “Senator Feinstein’s repeated personal interventions for this one company have become the very epitome of political interference with science to which she claims to be objecting.”

Ruch and Trainer have taken particular aim at Corey Goodman, a scientist who has long criticized NPS for its research on the oyster farm. Goodman became involved in the controversy when he gave expert testimony to the Marin County Board of Supervisors in 2007; since then, he has spent countless hours scrutinizing the Park Service’s research.

Goodman publicized the noise data issues last month, sending a letter to Salazar that requested an investigation into possible scientific misconduct.

In a recent interview, Goodman said Trainer’s letter responding to his allegations raised more questions than answers. The assertion that the sound levels in the EIS were the result of random calculations would be a more serious problem than his assumption that NPS based them off louder equipment.

“Whatever it is, it was a completely inappropriate number to pick that completely misrepresented what the engine sounds like and it clearly bamboozled the peer reviewer,” Goodman said.

Interior spokesman Adam Fetcher said the department is conducting a review of the allegations. The agency’s scientific integrity policy requires Interior to launch a preliminary review to determine whether such allegations are substantiated and thus necessitate a larger investigation.

But all sides of the controversial issue seem to agree to one thing: NPS should make it clear how they calculated the noise levels of the farm’s equipment.

“I do think it would help in the final EIS to list all of their assumptions and specify how these numbers came about,” Trainer said. “There’s room for improvement.”

 

04-03-12 Russian River Times – National Park Service ‘Sounds Off”

National Park Service ‘Sounds’ Off
Posted on April 3, 2012
The ongoing science controversy surrounding Drake’s Estero raises a critical question. If the Department of Interior cannot assure scientific integrity in a case representing a tiny oyster farm in a National Park, how can they ensure integrity in the management of the Nation’s resources where billions of dollars are involved in leases to the oil, gas and other extractive industries that benefit from access to public lands? Senator Feinstein’s blistering March 29 letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar borders on accusing the National Park Service of “potentially fraudulent” deception by distorting science. The Senator notes that this latest episode is one of a large number of similar events that have stretched back to the beginnings of her involvement in the controversy, when Marin supervisors, in a May 8, 2007 meeting, unanimously asked her to intervene with the Park Service regarding the NPS science at Drakes Estero and the fate of the oyster farm

The latest incident repeats a pattern of Park Service misconduct. The pattern starts when the Park Service identifies an issue and then, without even contacting Drakes Bay Oyster Company and the Lunny’s, releases it, complete with misleading and unverified claims where it is distributed nationally in an echo chamber of environmental disinformation. When, as has happened every time in the past, the allegations fall apart, NPS conjures up another supposed issue, never correcting their first false allegations and never attempting to remediate the supposed problem while trying to restrict any future studies so as to not involve the previous allegations. This pattern continues despite studies by the Department of the Interior (DOI) Inspector General, the National Academy of Sciences, the Marine Mammal Commission and the DOI solicitor’s office. These studies have raised the issue of known falsehoods, concealing information and serious misrepresentation of science, dating back to the first investigation with DOI IG’s findings that NPS scientist deliberately misrepresented data from another federal agency (to imply that Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) was causing environmental damage.

The pattern is clear in the latest allegations that the sound from DBOC is causing harm to harbor seals and the soundscape of Drake’s Estero. According to Lunny, no one from NPS had contacted him on this issue prior to being contacted by NPS’ Natalie Gates in the course of her management of the current and controversial draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). She did not indicate if the NPS had made any prior attempts to measure the actual sound levels in the Estero. He did note that shortly after he took over the farm in 2005, NPS scientists had thanked him for switching to quieter 4 stroke outboards for the oyster boats, which also eliminated the pollution that the older two-stroke motors caused. Gates arranged a working day visit with Vanesse Hangen Brustlin (VHB), the DEIS contractor, to evaluate the soundscape. On Feb. 16, 2011, Lunny provided a tour of the farm and a boat trip out on the estero. However, in the draft report, VHB, despite identifying the actual equipment in use and the make and horsepower of the outboards, used 16 year old data on Jet Ski’s and a federal report on construction equipment of what they claimed was similar equipment.

NPS Directors Order 47 issued in 2000, which is cited in the DEIS, requires NPS to have measured the soundscape of Drakes Estero, however no such NPS data was made available to the Lunnys. Incredibly, especially considering the apparent NPS failure to baseline the data, the EIS contractor, supposed experts in soundscapes, failed take along a digital sound meter to make an approximate determine if the existing sound levels appeared to violate standards. (National Institute of Standards and technology (NIST) approved decibel meters are available for less than $300, with adequately accurate units for less than $50.) Subsequent tests by Dr. Steffel of ENVIRON, hired by the Lunnys at their expense, showed that the contractor had used sound over 25 to 825 times greater than the actual sound levels. It defies credulity that the VHB ‘expert’, who had actually visited DBOC and seen and heard the boats and equipment, could make this kind of error. Instead, they and NPS used incorrect data from 3000 miles away and a federal highway construction document.

The pattern exactly fits the pattern of the similar incident in 2007 wherein NPS issued a report claiming among other things, that the oyster company was the major source of sediment in Drakes Estero, deliberately misquoting the findings of a USGS scientist, and implying that the negative data that came from Japan, 50 years and 5000 miles away, actually came from Drakes Estero. This was recorded in the DOI Inspector General’s Oct. 2008 Semi Annual Report to Congress, which on p31 highlighted its section on NPS with the headline, “NPS Scientist misrepresents research.”

In Sept. 2008, on the eve of the first National Academy of Science panel meeting, whose review of NPS science was requested by Sen. Feinstein, NPS Western Regional Director Jon Jarvis changed the agenda, removing himself as the introductory presenter, and substituted NPS scientist Ben Becker, who presented an entirely new paper, claiming disturbance of harbor seals by oyster operations. This new science was introduced despite written correspondence between then Park Chief Mary Bomar and Senator Feinstein that the NAS review would cover only existing NPS science. The Becker paper appeared designed to deflect attention from Park Superintendent Neubacher’s false claim of massive loss of seal pups at the 2007 Marin County Board of Supervisors meetings, but became controversial as major errors were revealed, including a 100% overstatement of the level of oyster harvest, which the paper correlated with seal disturbance. In a leaked draft copy of the NAS report, they characterized the paper as “so biased as to be meaningless”.

When the NAS report did not support NPS science and found that impacts from the oyster operations did not compromise the ecology of the estero, two environmental groups, supported by NPS, requested that the Marine Mammal Commission investigate. On the eve of the Feb. 2010 investigation, still another new NPS paper emerged, which claimed impacts on the seal population in the entire area. After lengthy review, the MMC found that the (NPS) paper failed to establish any causality, (the report said that, even at that level, the NPS data was “scant, and being stretched to its limit”). The expert panel, in their individual statements in Appendix F, was in almost complete agreement with the findings of the NAS report, finding no incompatibility between the harbor seals and oyster operations.

Coming back to the soundscape and the Environmental Impact Statement, Congress House/Senate Interior Appropriations Conference Committee, a bipartisan group, included the following language in their Dec16, 2011 Conference Report: “The conferees are aware that the [National Park] Service will shortly be issuing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) regarding a possible 10-year extension for oyster operations at Point Reyes National Seashore. Because of concerns relating to the validity of the science underlying the DEIS, the conferees direct the National Academy of Sciences to assess the data, analysis, and conclusions in the DEIS in order to ensure there is a solid scientific foundation for the Final Environmental Impact Statement expected in mid-2012.” Notwithstanding, in a move that mirrors NPS head Jon Jarvis (then Western Region head) disobedience in unilaterally changing the scope of Feinstein’s initial NAS request for study, NPS commissioned Atkins PLC for a ‘preemptive’ peer review.

The Atkins peer reviewers, including sound expert Dr. Christopher Clarkson, were clearly mislead by the NPS into believing that the sound data represented Drake’s Estero boats and equipment. In communications with Dr. Corey Goodman, who had provided him with the actual ENVIRON data, Clarkson said in a Mar 21 phone call to Goodman that he was deceived and in a later e-mail, stated “I do not believe that these activities have a biologically significant impact on wildlife…” NPS apparently also deceived DOI’s scientific integrity officer, Dr. Ralph Morgenweck who in a DOI press release said, “The peer review accomplished exactly what we were seeking, that is specific recommendations on how to improve the final impact statement to make it a better science project.”

The purpose of peer review is to improve the quality of research papers, not to prevent lying. Peer review assumes honesty on the part of the researcher. It is not a forensic analysis of the sources of the data, (badly needed in the case of NPS) but a check on the validity of the arguments based on the data. What little fraud is found is usually discovered when other scientists try to use the work or replicate results. It is true that in science, there have been a few isolated rotten apples, but in the case of DOI’s handling of the NPS supposed science, it is the rotten barrel that is spoiling the apples.

Here is the link to the original article posted on the Russian River Times’ blog http://bit.ly/IikPuZ 

03-31-12 Point Reyes National Seashore Staff Accused Of More Wrongdoing In Measuring Impacts Of Oyster Farm

National Parks Traveler:

“… the California Democrat [Senator Dianne Feinstein] … says the Park Service relied on data collected by New Jersey State Police 17 years ago in describing noise from the oyster company’s boats.”

As proof the senator points to a June 2011 version of the seashore’s draft Environmental Impact Statement on the oyster company’s operations. In that document there’s a table pertaining to “noise generation” from oyster company boats operating in Drakes Estero at Point Reyes. The table clearly states that the source for “sound estimations” came from New Jersey State Police tests on marine craft from 1995.

“I am frankly stunned that after all the controversy over past abuse of science on this issue, Park Service employees would feel emboldened to once again fabricate the science in building a case against the oyster company,” wrote the senator in a letter (attached below) sent Thursday. “I can only attribute this conduct to an unwavering bias against the oyster company and historic ranches.”

for the full text of the National Parks Traveler article, please copy the link below and paste it into your browser.

Point Reyes National Seashore Staff Accused Of More Wrongdoing In Measuring Impacts Of Oyster Farm

03-29-12 Sen. Feinstein to Salazar on deception and falsification by NPS re Drakes Bay Oyster Company

“…the straw that breaks the camel’s back…”

Senator Dianne Feinstein in a strongly worded letter to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, spells out the deception by the National Park Service and the falsification of data by the National Park Service as it relates to Drakes Bay Oyster Company and demands renewal of the lease as the only solution.

For the full text of the honorable Senator’s letter, please click the link below:

03-29-12 Feinstein letter to Salazar re NPS Repeated Misconduct


03-28-12 ABC 7 Exposes Deception and Falsification of Data by NPS re Drakes Bay Oyster Co.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012, Ken Miguel of ABC 7 news exposed more National Park Service’s deceptive attempts to victimize Drakes Bay Oyster Company. for the full video and text, please click the link below.

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/assignment_7&id=8599796

03-27-12 Greenwire: NPS noise data for CA oyster farm based on 1995 study in NJ

“We have all heard the chorus from NPS supporters about noisy oyster boats disturbing wildlife in Drakes Estero,” Goodman wrote in the letter, adding that NPS and contracted employees “knew or should have known that NPS had no such acoustic data from Drakes Estero, and so data were substituted from a report done for the New Jersey State Police in 1995 including measurements from a loud Jet Ski along the New Jersey shores.”

He added: “Surely it is time to put a stop to this repeated pattern of deception. Millions of dollars of taxpayer money have been spent to deceive the public, and to fool you.”

Greenwire http://www.eenews.net/gw/
4. INTERIOR:
NPS noise data for Calif. oyster farm based on 1995 study in N.J.
Emily Yehle, E&E reporter

Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012

From 50 feet away, an oyster tumbler at Drakes Bay Oyster Co. reaches 79 decibels, on par with a noisy urban neighborhood, according to the National Park Service.

That is far higher than the Park Service’s 60-decibel limit, and it supports the agency’s calls for the farm to cease operations at its current location in a California wilderness area.

But there’s one problem: NPS never measured the sound of the oyster tumbler — or any other equipment at the farm.

A table in the agency’s recent draft environmental impact statement appears to imply otherwise, adding another allegation of scientific misconduct to an issue that has been mired in controversy for years.

The farm has operated in Point Reyes National Seashore for a century, receiving an exemption when Congress designated the land as a wilderness area more than 40 years ago. But its lease is up this year, and the EIS has become the focus of a fierce debate over whether the farm disturbs surrounding flora and fauna.

Noise from the farm’s operations has become the latest lightning rod. Employees routinely use motorboats to collect harvests and tend to the oyster bags, while a few pieces of equipment use small engines. Environmental groups say that disturbs wildlife and visitors.

The Park Service tackles the issue in the draft EIS, producing a table titled “Noise Generators at DBOC” that cites sound levels ranging from 71 decibels to 85 decibels. The report then refers to those numbers to conclude that noise from the farm “would result in long-term unavoidable adverse impacts on wildlife such as birds and harbor seals and visitor experience and recreation.”

But none of those numbers are measurements of the farm’s equipment. Instead, NPS used a 17-year-old study from Noise Unlimited on the New Jersey Police Department and a 2006 “Construction Noise Users Guide” from the Federal Highway Administration.

Then officials removed all language that made it clear the numbers were estimates.

A June 2011 internal version of the EIS shows a table with clear citations; three months later, Interior released a public draft that, among other things, referred to the sound levels as “representative” rather than “estimated.”

The National Park Service removed language that made it clear the noise levels were estimates, as shown in scientist Corey Goodman’s comparison between an internal June 2011 version and the September 2011 public draft. Click for a larger version. Graphic courtesy of Corey Goodman.

The comparisons can be a stretch. For the oyster tumbler, for example, NPS appears to have used one of five pieces of equipment listed in the 2006 user’s guide: a concrete mixer truck, a drill rig truck, a front end loader, a rivet buster or a ventilation fan.

The sound level for the farm’s motorboats matches up with the measurement of a 1995 Kawasaki Jet Ski in the Noise Unlimited study. The two have different engines; among other differences, the motorboats run at most on 40-horsepower engines, while the Jet Ski was fitted with a 70-horsepower engine.

Corey Goodman — a scientist who has long criticized NPS for its research on the farm — contends the agency knowingly misled the public. In a letter sent yesterday, he asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to investigate possible scientific misconduct.

“We have all heard the chorus from NPS supporters about noisy oyster boats disturbing wildlife in Drakes Estero,” Goodman wrote in the letter, adding that NPS and contracted employees “knew or should have known that NPS had no such acoustic data from Drakes Estero, and so data were substituted from a report done for the New Jersey State Police in 1995 including measurements from a loud Jet Ski along the New Jersey shores.”

He added: “Surely it is time to put a stop to this repeated pattern of deception. Millions of dollars of taxpayer money have been spent to deceive the public, and to fool you.”

Interior spokesman Adam Fetcher declined to comment on the details but said Goodman’s allegations “will be reviewed under the standard procedures contained in DOI’s scientific integrity policy.”

Problems with peer review
It is the latest headache for Interior in the controversy over NPS research on the California oyster farm.

Congress has already ordered a review from the National Academy of Sciences on whether the EIS has a “solid scientific foundation.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also has criticized the conclusions of the EIS, questioning whether research supports the EIS contention that the farm disturbs nearby harbor seals — and pointing out that there is no indication of negative impacts on fish protected by the Endangered Species Act or on “essential fish habitat” (Greenwire, Jan. 11).

Last week, ostensibly to combat such criticism, Interior released a peer review it commissioned. That review — facilitated by consulting firm Atkins North America — concluded that the EIS had no “fundamental flaw” in its scientific underpinnings (Greenwire, March 19).

But one peer reviewer based at least part of his conclusions on a false premise.

Christopher Clark, a bioacoustics expert at Cornell University, confirmed to Greenwire that he believed the table in the draft EIS on the oyster farm’s sound levels “represented measurements taken from DBOC activities.”

Clark declined to comment further, but in his review he refers to the table in his assessment that the draft EIS is “robust.”

“I conclude that there is ample acoustic scientific evidence by which the DEIS can determine that DBOC noise-generating activities have negative impacts on both the human visitor experience and the seashore’s wildlife,” he wrote.

To the farm’s owner, that is enough to brand the peer review as “absolutely worthless.”

“Here I read a peer review citing and congratulating the Park Service on data that don’t exist,” said DBOC owner Kevin Lunny, who has fought for years to keep his farm in Point Reyes National Seashore. The EIS, he added, “is meant to go to decisionmakers, and I see something that couldn’t pass any test of honesty or integrity. Somebody is not being honest with somebody here.”

Lunny also questioned why Clark was not given a copy of a study DBOC commissioned on the noise of its equipment.

That study — completed by ENVIRON International Corp. — measured the sound levels as far lower than the estimates in the draft EIS. The oyster tumbler, for example, clocked in between 50 and 59 decibels, rather than the 79 in the draft EIS.

NPS did not get the measurements until after releasing the draft EIS, as ENVIRON submitted a report with the study results during the comment period. But Lunny contends that Clark should have gotten the information.

He also criticized the selection of another peer reviewer: Ted Grosholz, a professor from University of California, Davis. Grosholz was one of two peer reviewers who studied the sections of the draft EIS dealing with marine estuarine ecology and coastal zone management. Both found the scientific analyses in the draft EIS “reasonable,” though they pointed to some interpretations that were not supported by evidence.

Grosholz’s name has come up throughout the controversy over the farm’s future in Drakes Estero. In 2007, for example, he was one of more than a dozen scientists NPS asked to review the agency’s research on Drakes Bay Oyster Co., in response to Goodman’s criticism. He has also pursued research at the site, though he has not received funding for it.

In a recent interview, Grosholz said he made it “extremely clear with everyone what my background is” when he was asked to conduct the review. He conceded that he is well-acquainted with two NPS scientists — Ben Becker and Sarah Allen — who have been at the center of the controversy for their research on the farm’s affect on wildlife, particularly nearby harbor seals.

But he dismissed Lunny’s contention that he is biased, pointing to his past work with other shellfish companies. The situation, he said, is “difficult” on all sides.

“I tend to work across the spectrum,” Grosholz said. “It’s not correct to say I’m somehow in the hip pocket of the Park Service.”

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03-26-12 Dr. Goodman letter to Secy of Int. Salazar Falsified Data in dEIS and Peer Review

In his letter to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, Dr. Corey Goodman makes the following requests:

(1) REQUEST FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR TO INVESTIGATE
SCIENTIFIC MISCONDUCT BY EMPLOYEES OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
(NPS) AND VANASSE HANGEN BRUSTLIN (VHB, EIS CONTRACTOR)

(2) REQUEST FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR TO DIRECT ATKINS
(PEER REVIEW CONTRACTOR) TO WITHDRAW THEIR REPORT ON THE DEIS

(3) REQUEST FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR TO DIRECT NPS TO
WITHDRAW THE DEIS AND CANCEL THE VHB CONTRACT

Click here for full text:

CSG to Salazar.03_26_12

03-26-12 Summary of NPS Deception & Falsification of Scientific Data

Dr. Corey Goodman, Elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences spells out a “repeated pattern of deception” where “millions of dollars of taxpayer money are being spent to deceive the public”.

Please click the link below to read the full text:

summary of NPS DEIS and ATKINS review soundscape deception

03-26-12 NPS used falsified acoustic data to deceive Public an Peer review of dEIS

On March 21, Dr. Clark, of Cornell, was informed of the falsified data and retracted his support of the dEIS data and stated he “does not believe that these activities have a biologically significant impact on wildlife…”

Why? Ask yourselves, do these sound equal?

A 4-STROKE 70 HORSEPOWER JET SKI  versus a  2-STROKE, 20 HORSEPOWER, oyster boat?

Noise measurements at 4 feet above water line and 2 feet behind a 70 HP boat engine, to those at 50 feet from a 20 HP boat engine?

A Federal Highway Heavy Construction Diesel Forklift at 78 dBA, to the Oyster Farm’s Small Front End Loader at 64-65 dBA?

A 4-foot tall Federal Highway Heavy Construction Jack-Hammer at 85 dBA,  to an  18-inch hand held drill producing 70 dBA used by the oyster farm?

A Federal Highway Heavy Construction Rivet Buster at 79 dBA, to a 12v electric motor oyster tumbler at 50 dBA?

Noise factors overstated by a factor of 12 to 825 times in dEIS

What does this mean?

It would take TWELVE (12) boats like the DBOC oyster boat, all operating in the same location to generate the 71 dBA stated in the dEIS. (see page 30, Table H-1, footnote “b” in the linked document).

What difference does 10 decibels make?  “An increase of 3 dB is a doubling of the “strength” of the sound, and an increase of 10 dB means that the sound is 10 times as loud; i.e., 70 dB is 10 times as loud as 60 dB.”  http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/eng99/eng99325.htm

Here are some typical sounds, and their levels.

Sounds dB SPL
Rocket Launching                                  180
Jet Engine                                                  140
Air Raid Siren 1 Meter                          130
Jet takeoff (200 ft)                                 120
Discotheque                                              110
Firecrackers                                              100
Heavy Truck (15 Meter)                         90
Alarm Clock (1 Meter)                             80
Noisy Restaurant                                       70
Conversational Speech                            60
Light Traffic (50 Meter)                           50
Quiet Office                                                    40
Library, Soft Whisper (5 Meter)           30
Broadcasting Studio, Rustling Leaves 20
Hearing Threshold                                         0

For the full text of Dr. Goodman’s review of the NPS & Atkins review of soundscape deception, click the link below:

NPS DEIS and ATKINS review soundscape deception.9.2MB

03-01-2012 Atkins Review

The DOI paid for a review of the dEIS by Atkins.

The DOI requested an independent peer review of the DEIS (Chapters 3 and 4) to examine the scientific and technical information and scholarly analysis presented in the document

The peer review was limited to the scientific information used in the DEIS.

Atkins was directed to select at least four well-qualified, independent reviewers.

  • Marine Estuarine Ecology and Coastal Zone Management: Dr. Ted Grosholz, University of California – Davis, and Dr. Dianna Padilla, Stony Brook University (1)
  • Water Quality: Dr. Charlie Wisdom, Parametrix (2)
  • Soundscapes: Dr. Christopher Clark, Cornell University (3)
  • Socioeconomics: Dr. James Wilen, University of California – Davis (4)

(1) The reviewers (Grosholz & Padilla) noted several exceptions where conclusions were not reasonable and/or scientifically sound, or other conclusions may be drawn. … The reviewers also point out several instances where statements are made or alluded to without sufficient supporting information…. the DEIS assumes that the expansion of aquaculture activity will increase loss of eelgrass in linear fashion, but there are no data supporting that assumption…. the relative impact of the two oyster culture methods (off-bottom racks versus on-bottom bags) was not consistently applied when assessing the impacts of the alternatives, affecting the DEIS conclusions.

(2) He (Dr. Charlie Wisdom) noted that alternate conclusions (direct adverse effect versus no direct adverse effect) could have been drawn with regard to the potential impacts of leachates from CCA-treated lumber on juvenile coho salmon. The flushing rate of Drakes Estero is likely to be high enough to dilute concentrations below fish thresholds

(3) On March 21, Dr. Christopher Clark, of Cornell of Cornell University, was informed of the falsified data and retracted his support of the dEIS data stating he “does not believe that these activities have a biologically significant impact on wildlife…”

(4) Dr. Wilen found that the DEIS derives qualitative impact assessments with minimal comparative data and undefined criteria, leading to conclusions that are ―vague at best, and misleading at worst‖ (Appendix B).

For the full text of the Atkins review, click the link below

Final_DEIS_Drakes_Bay_SUP_Peer_Review_Report_030112

02-13-12 US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

Senators Vitter and Inhofe to Secretary Salazar:  “On three occasions in 2009, while the Jarvis nomination was being vetted, Dr. Corey Goodman, an elected NAS member, submitted three letters to you detailing a case of serial scientific misconduct by Jon Jarvis and NPS officials and scientists under his direct supervision…We are in possession of the three letters dates April 27, 2009, May 10, 2009 and May 16,2009. That a distinguished member of the NAS would need to send such letters of concern to you directly is distressing. Even more distressing is the fact that you have failed to respond.”

For the full statement click on this link:

http://1.usa.gov/zp1jfD

Letter from Senators Vitter and Inhofe to Salazar 02-13-12 http://1.usa.gov/wQIK4G

12-23-11 Nat’l Parks Traveler “Congress Wants NAS to Review Studies”

12-23-11 in the National Parks Traveler reports today on language inserted into an appropriations bill calling for the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate the [POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE’S] agency’s science. For the full article, click the link below.

12-23-11 NPT article “Congress Wants NAS to Review Studies at PRNS

12-18-11 Drakes Estero Oyster Farm a Natural Fit

12-18-2011 Gary P. Nabhan and Jeffrey A. Creque in SF Gate.com article”The intent guiding the Point Reyes National Seashore General Management Plan makes “potential wilderness, agriculture, ranching and mariculture all co-equal management objectives.” Tragically, for the past eight years, the Park Service has attempted to obfuscate the clear intent of Congress: to establish Point Reyes National Seashore as a cultural landscape where dairy farms, ranches and shellfish aquaculture would demonstrate to the American public that conservation and sustainable food production are indeed compatible.

The Park Service now asserts that the oyster farm is not compatible with wilderness and must be removed. Can memory loss within the Park Service be reversed? It can and must, given the Park Service’s near-decade of denial of the original operating instructions for Point Reyes National Seashore.”

For the full article Click this link: 12-18-2011 Drakes Bay Oyster Operation – a Natural Fit

12/10/2011 NorCal Oyster Farm Dispute Spreads to Capitol Hill

NorCal Oyster Farm Dispute Spreads to Capitol Hill

By JASON DEAREN Associated Press
POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE, Calif. December 10, 2011 (AP)

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/norcal-oyster-farm-dispute-spreads-capitol-hill-15128432

12/10/2011 Former Assemblyman Says Original Legislation Favors Oyster Farm

12/10/2011

Marin Voice: Former assemblyman says original legislation favors oyster farm

By Bill Bagley
Guest op-ed column

Posted: 12/10/2011 05:50:00 AM PST

 http://www.marinij.com/opinion/ci_19512853

12-09-2011 Environ Report on dEIS

Actual study of Drakes Bay Oyster Company Boats and equipment 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

12-07-2011 University of Ca Agriculture & Natural Resources

On 12/07/2011 Ellie Rilla, Community Development Advisor and Lisa Bush, Agricultural Ombudsman with the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension, Marin County sent the following letter to the Superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore and cc’d Senator Dianne Feinstein in support of the Oyster Farm.

UofC Extension 12-07-2011

12/08/2011 7700 letters – 47 States, 29 Countries in Support DBOC – Delivered to PRNS

12/08/2011 Drakes Bay Oyster Company Submits Comments to NPS EIS on behalf of 7,700 Seashore Visitors from 47 States and 29 Countries

 20111208 DBOC 7700 letters to PRNS

12/07/2011 Co-Founders of Marin Agricultural Land Trust Weigh In

“Marin County’s agriculture and open space, whether publicly or privately held, are inextricably interconnected. The balance is tenuous, and it’s not unfathomable that all of it—the park, open space, organic food, agritourism—could rapidly evaporate. Once Drake’s Bay Oyster Company gets forced out, there will be a clear road map for eliminating the rest of agriculture in the Point Reyes National Seashore. As the farming dominos fall, so will critical mass of agricultural infrastructure, making the future of Marin agriculture increasingly uncertain, putting at risk all of our hard-won gains. In short, productive farming is critical to preserving open space.”

For the full article, click on the link below:

http://www.michaelstraus.org/2011/12/06/ellen-oysters-and-agriculture/

The Twelve dEIS Comments (that you can make)

City, State, and Zip Code are the ONLY requirements when posting comments and

you can post multiple comments.

Below are twelve comments you can make, just copy a comment and paste it into the comment area at

 http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?parkID=333&projectID=33043&documentID=43390

Then go back and do it again, until you have added all twelve.

 

1

I support a renewable Special Use Permit for Drakes Bay Oyster Company

I support the Collaborative Management Alternative proposed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

DBOC must be allowed to continue the existing uses under the existing California Department of Fish and Game leases and regulatory authority. 

 

2

Potential impact on wildlife is not properly assessed.

The dEIS claims that removing the oyster farm would benefit harbor seals; that claim is false. Drakes Estero is currently home to one of the largest harbor seal populations on the California coast and the harbor seal population has remained constant for decades, according to Dr. Sarah Allen’s Annual report on Harbor Seals at Drakes Estero.

I support a renewable Special Use Permit for Drakes Bay Oyster Company

I support the Collaborative Management Alternative proposed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

DBOC must be allowed to continue the existing uses under the existing California Department of Fish and Game leases and regulatory authority. 

 

3

I support a renewable Special Use Permit for Drakes Bay Oyster Company, especially the Collaborative Management Alternative proposed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

The dEIS includes much discussion about special-status species

It concludes that the oyster farm could potentially negatively impact these species

NONE OF THE SEVEN Endangered species mentioned in the dEIS live in the project area!

  • §         NO Myrtle Silverspot Butterfly live IN project area they make their habitat nearby, but not IN the project area (dEIS pg 187)
  • §         NO Red-legged frogs live in the project area: salt water kills them
  • §         NO Ca Coho Salmon live in project area (dEIS pg 189)
  • §         NO Central Ca Steelhead live in project area (dEIS pg 190)
  • §         NO Leatherback Turtles live in project area (dEIS pg 191)
  • §         NO Western Snowy Plovers live in project area (dEIS pg 192)
  • §         NO Ca Least Terns live in project area (dEIS pg 192)

The dEIS fails to provide an accurate assessment of the oyster farm’s proven ability to operate without harming wildlife or wildlife habitat.

The final document should reconsider all wildlife issues and provide a data based assessment.

I support a renewable Special Use Permit for Drakes Bay Oyster Company

I support the Collaborative Management Alternative proposed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

DBOC must be allowed to continue the existing uses under the existing California Department of Fish and Game leases and regulatory authority. 

4

Environmental benefits are misrepresented and/or missing.

PRNS has been rebuked for misrepresenting the facts about the environmental benefits of oyster farming yet, the dEIS misrepresents those facts again, calling the removal of the oyster farm the “environmentally preferable” alternative.

The dEIS fails to address the important ecological services provided by oysters, including filtering water and reducing nitrogen in the water. Drakes Estero is one of the most pristine estuaries IN THE COUNTRY DUE TO THE PRESENCE OF THE OYSTERS.

The dEIS fails to address the environmental impacts of the following:

  • §         Replacing a local, sustainable food source with 35,000 pounds of oysters that would have to be flown in from Asia each week to compensate
  • §         Comparisons of the carbon footprint of the existing food source with the replacement food source must be analyzed in the dEIS.
  • §         The dEIS fails to consider world population food needs.
    • o       1960 world population 3 BILLION PEOPLE
    • o       2011 world population 7 BILLION PEOPLE, 2.33 times greater in 51 years

I support a renewable Special Use Permit for Drakes Bay Oyster Company

I support the Collaborative Management Alternative proposed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

DBOC must be allowed to continue the existing uses under the existing California Department of Fish and Game leases and regulatory authority. 

5

Economic impacts are not adequately addressed.

The dEIS states, removing the oyster farm would cause “major, long-term, adverse effects to the California shellfish market but

  • §         The dEIS does not provide a complete analysis of these MAJOR, LONG-TERM, ADVERSE IMPACTS! 
  • §         The dEIS does not include these impacts in the overall analysis.
  • §         The dEIS does not analyze the impacts of eliminating one of the largest employers in West Marin.

The dEIS must assess and address the economic impacts of eliminating the production of nearly 40% of California’s oysters and the subsequent impact on the economy.  

I support a renewable Special Use Permit for Drakes Bay Oyster Company

I support the Collaborative Management Alternative proposed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

DBOC must be allowed to continue the existing uses under the existing California Department of Fish and Game leases and regulatory authority. 

6

Socioeconomic impacts are not properly addressed furthermore the analysis is flawed.

Geographic parameters used throughout this chapter

  • §         Switch back and forth from Inverness proper, to greater West Marin, to Marin in general, to Multi-County, to Statewide, and even to Nationwide.
  • §         This switching of parameters is used to argue that the job losses would be minimal.

Considered properly:

  • §         DBOC is one of the largest employers in the area.
  • §         West Marin is a community isolated 20 miles away from the main population of the county by farms, ranches, open space and parkland therefore, these job losses would be anything but minimal

The analysis presented here is insufficient.

This section should be reformulated and corrected for the dEIS.

I support a renewable Special Use Permit for Drakes Bay Oyster Company

I support the Collaborative Management Alternative proposed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

DBOC must be allowed to continue the existing uses under the existing California Department of Fish and Game leases and regulatory authority. 

7

Impacts to local habitat restoration efforts and endangered species are not addressed

  • §         The oyster shell byproduct from the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm cannery is the sole, critical resource for reestablishing native oyster beds, and for restoring CA Least Tern and Western Snowy Plover habitat, in San Francisco Bay.
  • §         The California Least Tern is a U.S. federally listed endangered species
  • §         The Snowy Plover is in decline due to habitat loss.
  • §         If Drakes Bay Oyster farm were shut down, the restoration operations could also be shut down.
  • §         The d EIS does not address the impacts to wildlife or the environmental issues surrounding the loss of these restoration efforts.
  • §         The dEIS should correct these flaws.

I support a renewable Special Use Permit for Drakes Bay Oyster Company

I support the Collaborative Management Alternative proposed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

DBOC must be allowed to continue the existing uses under the existing California Department of Fish and Game leases and regulatory authority. 

8

The historic cultural role of the oyster farm in West Marin is not adequately addressed. The EIS must assess

  • §         The cultural impacts of eliminating an institution that has been in operation for generations
  • §         The importance to
  • §         Park visitors
  • §         Local restaurants
  • §         Local food shed

I support a renewable Special Use Permit for Drakes Bay Oyster Company

I support the Collaborative Management Alternative proposed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

DBOC must be allowed to continue the existing uses under the existing California Department of Fish and Game leases and regulatory authority. 

9

Existing management policies are not considered.

  • §         The current General Management Plan for Point Reyes National Seashore, adopted in 1980, strongly supports the continued operation of the oyster farm, as do all of the relevant Marin County planning documents.
  • §         The d EIS does not include any reasons for, or discussion of, this decision to bypass
  • §         The existing General Management Plan and
  • §         Marin County’s planning processes

The existing management policies must be considered and addressed.

I support a renewable Special Use Permit for Drakes Bay Oyster Company

I support the Collaborative Management Alternative proposed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

DBOC must be allowed to continue the existing uses under the existing California Department of Fish and Game leases and regulatory authority. 

10

National aquaculture policies are ignored.

Shellfish aquaculture is widely recognized nationally, and globally, as having a valuable role in the protection of wild fish resources.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is encouraging aquaculture for this and many other reasons.

The dEIS should consider these policies.

I support a renewable Special Use Permit for Drakes Bay Oyster Company

I support the Collaborative Management Alternative proposed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

DBOC must be allowed to continue the existing uses under the existing California Department of Fish and Game leases and regulatory authority. 

11

None of the alternatives is appropriate. While the NEPA process mandates the consideration of a “no-action alternative,” there are no alternatives presented in the dEIS that qualify as “no-action.”

  • §         Alternative A forces DBOC out of business next year,
  • §         The other alternatives force it to shut down in 10 years.
  • §         The DEIS fails to provide a valid status-quo baseline.
  • §         A new set of alternatives must be created that meet the actual criteria for this process. 

 

I support a renewable Special Use Permit for Drakes Bay Oyster Company

I support the Collaborative Management Alternative proposed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

DBOC must be allowed to continue the existing uses under the existing California Department of Fish and Game leases and regulatory authority. 

 

12

 

DRAKES BAY OYSTER COMPANY SPECIAL USE PERMIT:

Collaborative Management Alternative

 

 

COLLABORATIVE MANAGEMENT ALTERNATIVE: A Ten-Year Special Use Permit with Option for Extension; Rehabilitation of Existing Facilities; and Construction of New Processing Facilities

 

This alternative permits DBOC to continue to utilize onshore facilities within the Seashore (PRNS) pastoral zone to support shellfish cultivation in Drakes Estero pursuant to its leases from the California Department of Fish and Game [CDFG]. DBOC would pay “fair market value” for use of the on-shore facilities, which would take into account the value of interpretive services provided and the investment needed to rehabilitate existing facilities and construct new processing facilities. The rehabilitation and construction work would be as described in the discussion of Alternative D.

 

Under this alternative, DBOC will collaborate with relevant organizations, including but not limited to the NPS, the CDFG, the UC SeaGrant program, and other educational and research agencies and in developing interpretive programs and scientifically valid research projects as recommended by the NRC and MMC. This alternative provides educational opportunities for people of all ages, including Seashore visitors, students, and researchers, relating to estuarine ecology and mariculture. 

 

This alternative is consistent with the “national interest” expressed in President Clinton’s May 26, 2000 Executive Order 13158 directing the Departments of Commerce (DOC) and Interior to expand and strengthen the “Nation’s system of marine protected areas.” It respects the California Fish and Game Commission designation, effective May 2010, of Drakes Estero as a State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA), a protected area in which recreational clam digging and shellfish cultivation pursuant to CDFG leases are permitted. DBOC’s operation within a SMCA and PRNS presents a unique opportunity for collaborative research that supports the policies of the National Shellfish Initiative [Initiative] announced by NOAA and DOC in June 2011, and responds directly and positively to NRC and MMC recommendations regarding collaborative efforts to inform adaptive management of Drakes Estero.

 

This alternative supports the goals of the Initiative, which are to increase domestic seafood production, create sustainable jobs, and restore marine habitats. It provides opportunities for research as called for by the Initiative, “….on the interactions between shellfish and the environment in terms of climate change, ocean acidification, naturally occurring pathogens and parasites, and other factors . . .” This alternative supports DBOC’s efforts to restore native oysters in Drakes Estero and to study the potential for native oysters to withstand the effects of global ocean acidification now beginning to affect all Pacific coast shellfish.

 

This alternative sustainably supports the local economy by continuing to attract thousands of ethnically diverse visitors to West Marin every year and continuing to provide over half of the San Francisco Bay Area’s sustainably farmed shellfish. It protects desperately needed affordable housing for farm workers on remote Point Reyes ranches.

 

Under this alternative, DBOC will continue to provide essential oyster shell for environmental programs, such as the San Francisco Bay Native Oyster Restoration Project, the SF Bay Bird Observatory Snowy Plover Habitat Enhancement Project and the California Department of Fish and Game Least Tern Habitat Enhancement Project.

 

This alternative supports a landscape that is ecologically and economically sustainable. It is consistent with the natural resource management provisions in the PRNS General Management Plan, and enables the Seashore to collaboratively integrate ecosystem science and natural and cultural resource management to better understand and manage relationships among the physical, biological, and cultural elements of a working land and seascape, while maintaining its distinctive “sense of place and character.”

 

I support a renewable Special Use Permit for Drakes Bay Oyster Company

I support the Collaborative Management Alternative proposed by Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

DBOC must be allowed to continue the existing uses under the existing California Department of Fish and Game leases and regulatory authority. 

 

 

 

Collaborative Management Alternative Respond to the dEIS on their Website

COLLABORATIVE MANAGEMENT ALTERNATIVE: A Ten-Year Special Use Permit with Option for Extension; Rehabilitation of Existing Facilities; and Construction of New Processing Facilities

This alternative permits DBOC to continue to utilize onshore facilities within the Seashore (PRNS) pastoral zone to support shellfish cultivation in Drakes Estero pursuant to its leases from the California Department of Fish and Game [CDFG].  DBOC would pay “fair market value” for use of the on-shore facilities, which would take into account the value of interpretive services provided and the investment needed to rehabilitate existing facilities and construct new processing facilities.  The rehabilitation and construction work would be as described in the discussion of Alternative D.

Under this alternative, DBOC will collaborate with relevant organizations, including but not limited to the NPS, the CDFG, the UC SeaGrant program and other educational and research agencies and in developing interpretive programs and scientifically valid research projects as recommended by the NRC and MMC.  This alternative provides educational opportunities for people of all ages, including Seashore visitors, students and researchers, relating to estuarine ecology and mariculture. 

This alternative is consistent with the “national interest” expressed in President Clinton’s May 26, 2000 Executive Order 13158 directing the Departments of Commerce (DOC) and Interior to expand and strengthen the “Nation’s system of marine protected areas.”  It respects the California Fish and Game Commission designation, effective May 2010, of Drakes Estero as a State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA), a protected area in which recreational clam digging and shellfish cultivation pursuant to CDFG leases are permitted.  DBOC’s operation within a SMCA and PRNS presents a unique opportunity for collaborative research that supports the policies of the National Shellfish Initiative [Initiative] announced by NOAA and DOC in June 2011, and responds directly and positively to NRC and MMC recommendations regarding collaborative efforts to inform adaptive management of Drakes Estero.

This alternative supports the goals of the Initiative, which are to increase domestic seafood production, create sustainable jobs and restore marine habitats.  It provides opportunities for research as called for by the Initiative, “….on the interactions between shellfish and the environment in terms of climate change, ocean acidification, naturally occurring pathogens and parasites, and other factors . . .” This alternative supports DBOC’s efforts to restore native oysters in Drakes Estero and to study the potential for native oysters to withstand the effects of global ocean acidification now beginning to affect all Pacific coast shellfish.

This alternative sustainably supports the local economy by continuing to attract thousands of ethnically diverse visitors to West Marin every year and continuing to provide over half of the San Francisco Bay Area’s sustainably farmed shellfish.  It protects desperately needed affordable housing for farmworkers on remotePoint Reyesranches.

Under this alternative, DBOC will continue to provide essential oyster shell for environmental programs, such as the San Francisco Bay Native Oyster Restoration Project, the SF Bay Bird Observatory Snowy Plover Habitat Enhancement Project and the California Department of Fish and Game Least Tern Habitat Enhancement Project.

This alternative supports a landscape that is ecologically and economically sustainable.  It is consistent with the natural resource management provisions in the PRNS General Management Plan, and enables the Seashore to collaboratively integrate ecosystem science and natural and cultural resource management to better understand and manage relationships among the physical, biological, and cultural elements of a working land and seascape, while maintaining its distinctive “sense of place and character.”

 

12-01-2011 3 Major Local Kayaking Companies Disavow dEIS statements attributed to them

Local kayaking companies DEIS comment letter

“During our many kayak outings on the estero, the ‘soundscape’ of the wilderness area has not been impacted by the noise of the [oyster] farm.”

 

11/30/2011 Fighting Climate Change WITH OYSTERS!

The Coming Green Wave: Ocean Farming to Fight Climate Change

Excerpt (link below):

Oysters also absorb carbon, but their real talent is filtering nitrogen out of the water column. Nitrogen is the greenhouse gas you don’t pay attention to — it is nearly 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide, and according to the journal Nature, the second worst in terms of having already exceeded a maximum “planetary boundary.” Like carbon, nitrogen is an essential part of life — plants, animals, and bacteria all need it to survive — but too much has a devastating effect on our land and ocean ecosystems.

The main nitrogen polluter is agricultural fertilizer runoff. All told, the production of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides contributes more than one trillion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere globally each year. That’s the same amount of emissions that are generated by 88 million passenger cars each year.

Much of this nitrogen from fertilizers ends up in our oceans, where nitrogen is now 50 percent above normal levels. According to the journal Science, excess nitrogen “depletes essential oxygen levels in the water and has significant effects on climate, food production, and ecosystems all over the world.”

Oysters to the rescue. One oyster filters 30-50 gallons of water a day — and in the process filters nitrogen out of the water column. Recent work done by Roger Newell of the University of Maryland shows that a healthy oyster habitat can reduce total added nitrogen by up to 20 percent. A three-acre oyster farm filters out the equivalent nitrogen load produced by 35 coastal inhabitants (PDF).

http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2011/11/the-coming-green-wave-ocean-farming-to-fight-climate-change/248750/1/

ReTweet with #dboyster

11/22/2011 MMC Report and Appendix F

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 the MMC statement on page iii of the Executive Summary 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

 

DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS

DECEMBER 9, 2011, MIDNIGHT MOUNTAIN TIME

 CLICK THIS LINK TO MAKE COMMENTS

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=43390

11/22/2011 MMC Report Overlooked Key Studies and Testimony of Dr. Allen

The MMC report, page 57, item (3) states

 The tolerance of seals for disturbance and the biological significance of such disturbance should be evaluated. At present, indicators of disturbance are defined as ranging from head alerts to flushing into the water. The existing information is not sufficient to describe the biological consequences or reactions at either end of this continuum.”

 In 2005 and 2006, Dr. Sarah Allen, herself an NPS scientist and co-author of all of the Becker reports investigated by the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of the Interior as well as the more recent Becker Reports used by the MMC, published two extensive and key reports on just that subject matter. Furthermore, Dr. Allen testified in a court case in San Diego about that topic.

 Report #1, 7 year 4 month study

“Monitoring the Potential Impact of the Seismic Retrofit Construction Activities at the Richmond San Rafael Bridge on Harbor Seals (Phoca vitulina): May 1, 1998 – September 15, 2005”http://bit.ly/rpKpRu  Dr. Sarah Allen found the following:

1.      “Construction-related disturbances [as close as 20 yards from haul-out sites]… were attributed to two main factors; watercraft … and  construction activities such as jack-hammering, rivet work, hammering and the movement of cranes on barges near the haul-out site the total number of seals hauling out … did not decrease.”

2.      Harbor seals habituated to much more serious disturbances at much closer distances.

2.1.  The tiny outboard motor boats operated by Drakes Bay Oyster Company come no closer than 600 yards to the one seal haul-out in the estero; that is 6 football fields away.

2.2.  According to the dEIS section on sound-scapes, at 500 FEET the decibel level is 51 – equivalent to a quiet urban area at daytime.

2.3.  At 600 yards (1800 feet), the minimum distance of the motor boats from the one seal haul-out site, and the decibel level is reduced substantially.

2.4.  If reduced only by 10 decibels to 40 decibels that would equate to a bird call http://bit.ly/sC86dY

 Report #2

“Harbor Seal Monitoring at Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Annual Report 2005”, http://bit.ly/sLTUHU Dr. Allen found

1.      “Causes for [harbor seal] disturbance at Drakes Estero … birds most frequent cause, followed by non-motor boats [kayakers], humans [hikers], aircraft.” in conclusion she finds “

2.      The number of disturbances … remains similar to previous years and

3.      No trends are detected….

4.      Hikers and boaters remain the two most frequent sources of disturbance ….”

 2005 San Diego Court Decision:

“Dr. Allen testified that seals habituate (or anthropomorphizing) to disturbance sources that are determined not to be a threat.” http://bit.ly/rpKpRu

 

(Author’s comments:

Turning Drakes Estero into “Wilderness” will not change the most frequent causes of disturbances. The birds, kayakers, hikers, and aircraft will continue to frequent the area – 2,500,000 people on avaerage visit the area every year according to the NPS website.

It will however, remove the filtering system that makes Drakes Estero one of the most pristine estuarine systems in the country. Eel grass has double in ten years. It is not only a home for one of the largest populations of harbor seals on the coast but also, provides a safe harbor in years of trouble. Much has been made of “disturbances” however the greatest on record was in 2003 and 2004 when an elephant seal killed 40 harbor seals.

Removal of the oyster farm would however cause a major reduction in filtering of the waters putting the estuary in jeopardy of becoming polluted by the accumulation of seal feces as noted by three of the original panel of experts in the first MMC report. The dEIS does note this as a MAJOR NEGATIVE IMPACT however, does not study the subject.)

 After the Gavin Frost of Department of the Interior (Frost Report) found “violations of scientific and scholarly conduct”, and the National Academy of Sciences found “the National Park Service selectively presented, over interpreted, or misrepresented available sicentific information on Drakes Bay Oyster Company”, the Sierra Club and National Parks Conservation Association wrote to the Marine Mammal Commission asking it to reject the NAS report and do its own investigation. Jon Jarvis promoted Dr. Sarah Allen to the Pacific West Regional Office with the title “Ocean Steward”.)

 

 Neither of Dr. Allen’s 2006 – 7 year study, nor her 2005 Annual Report, nor her court testimony is mentioned in the MMC report or listed in the bibliography on page 61.

Decide for yourself what is going on and make your comments known about the draft EIS on the the National Park Service Website  by following this link: 

DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS

DECEMBER 9, 2011, MIDNIGHT MOUNTAIN TIME

 CLICK THIS LINK TO MAKE COMMENTS

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=43390

11/22/2011 Wilderness? North America is 38% wilderness, Africa is 28% wilderness

North America – 38% wilderness

Africa – 28% wilderness

Check it out

http://anse.rs/stG5Bv

DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS

DECEMBER 9, 2011, MIDNIGHT MOUNTAIN TIME

 CLICK THIS LINK TO MAKE COMMENTS

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=43390

2011-11-22 Analysis of MMC Report by Dr. Corey Goodman

Briefly, the following three points, as stated by Dr. Corey Goodman, sum up the MMC report.  

1. The NPS data are too thin, and too highly leveraged by a stochastic event in 2003, to be able to support the NPS correlation between harbor seals and oyster activity. Moreover, the NPS data are inadequate for MMC to affirm the NPS claim of a correlation between harbor seals and oyster activity.

2. What was called a long-term displacement OUT of Drakes Estero was actually a short-term displacement INTO Drakes Estero caused by events at Double Point. There is no evidence for long-term spatial displacement of seals and pups OUT of Drakes Estero that can be related to shellfish aquaculture.

3. The MMC mistakes could have been avoided had the MMC proceeded with their original open process rather than the insular closed process they conducted. Open dialogue, open discussion, and open exchange could have helped avoid these mistakes. Unfortunately, the closed process led to a flawed MMC Report.

For the Summary of MMC I and MMC II, click here: Summary of Analysis of MMC Reports I and II.CG&DL

For the Analysis of MMC Report I, click here: Analysis of MMC Report I. acceptance of NPS correlation.CG&DL

For the Analysis of MMC Report II, click here: Analysis of MMC Report II. rejection of Goodman.pdf models.CG&DL

DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS

DECEMBER 9, 2011, MIDNIGHT MOUNTAIN TIME

 CLICK THIS LINK TO MAKE COMMENTS

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=43390

11-16-11 Ca Historical Society – Reception Invitation

ClusterOfOysterShellsWednesday, November 16, 2011, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Oyster Farm Opening Reception

Free Event at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco
 
Join artist Evvy Eisen at the California Historical Society for a reception celebrating the new exhibit, Oyster Farm. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served. RSVP to 415.357.1848, ext. 229 or rsvp@calhist.org.

To see the photos click here: http://www.oysterfarmphotos.com/

ABC TV, 4 Years of Coverage of DBOC on “Assignment 7”, Ken Miguel Producer

ABC7, “Assignment 7” has been reporting on this story for over four years. Use this link to get to all their segments up to and including September 12, 2011

Video feed: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/assignment_7&id=8351748

12-31-05 Dr. Sarah Allen, Harbor Seal Annual Report 2005

Harbor Seal Report 2005

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