The Department of Ecology is inviting the public to comment on proposals to use pesticides locally.
The Willapa/Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association submitted an application to Ecology for a water quality permit to allow the association to use pesticide to control burrowing shrimp at commercial shellfish operations in Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay.
Burrowing shrimp destabilize oyster beds and impact production.
Pesticide Carbaryl was permitted by Ecology for the control of burrowing shrimp on commercial shellfish beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor through 2012. The growers association is seeking a permit for Imidacloprid as an alternative.
As a part of the process to consider issuing a new permit, Ecology will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Ecology is seeking comments on the scope of the EIS for this proposal through Feb. 15.
Ecology is also asking for public comment on a draft permit for controlling non-native eelgrass in Willapa Bay only.
The shellfish growers association also has requested a new permit for the use of the pesticide Imazamox to help manage the growth of eelgrass called Zostera japonica on commercial clam beds in Willapa Bay.
According to the growers, these beds were historically sand/mud flats and just recently the grass has been colonizing, making it difficult to grow and harvest clams.
A water quality permit is required before the herbicide can be applied under the Washington State Water Pollution Control Act. The permit would regulate the use of Imazamox and marker dyes to manage Zostera japonica on commercial clam beds.
The environmental review and permitting processes to control burrowing shrimp are separate from the environmental review and permitting processes to control non-native eelgrass in Willapa Bay. However, the public comment periods for each proposal are the same: Jan. 2 to Feb. 15, 2014.
People may submit comments on either proposal to the Department of Ecology (Ecology) through midnight Feb. 15.
Comments will also be accepted at a Saturday public workshop and public hearing in South Bend on Feb. 1 at the Willapa Harbor Community Center