North Totten Inlet Floating Mussel Farm Topic of County’s June 22 Public Meeting

The environmental impact of Taylor Shellfish Company’s proposal to build a new floating mussel farm along north Totten Inlet will be the topic of a public meeting on Tuesday, June 22. The meeting by the Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Griffin Middle School gymnasium, 6530 33rd Ave. N.W. in Olympia.

The meeting will focus on Thurston County’s Draft Environmental Impact statement, a document required by state law as part of the county’s decision-making process for reviewing a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit application.

The proposed project would be located adjacent to Taylor Shellfish Company’s existing Gallagher Cove mussel farm, about midway through the length of the company’s tideland ownership. The proposal would also require a new Aquatic Lands Lease from the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Residents have until July 12, 2010 to submit comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, either by attending the meeting, or by mailing comments to Robert Smith, Senior Planner, Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department, Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, 2000 Lakeridge Drive S.W., Olympia, WA 98502. Comments may also be e-mailed to smithr@co.thurston.wa.us.

Click here to view the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Thurston County website. Copies are also available for review at the Olympia Timberland Library on 8th Avenue and at the main station of the Griffin Fire District #13, 3707 Steamboat Loop N.W.

After receiving public comments, Thurston County will finalize the environmental impact statement and schedule a public hearing before the Thurston County Hearings Examiner for consideration of the underlying Shoreline Substantial Development Permit application.

UPDATE: John Dodge reported, in the June 16th edition of the Olympian, that the farm “would not have a significant environmental impact, according to a review of the project released by Thurston County this week.”

The project was proposed 15 years ago, but it ran into stiff opposition from shoreline residents who claim commercial shellfish growing operations are running roughshod over the South Sound inlet.

At full build-out, the new 11.25-acre farm, including 58 growing rafts covering 1.36 acres of tidelands, could produce nearly 878,000 pounds of mussels in a 16-month growing season.

Click here to read the entire article.

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