Eutrophication is a problem throughout Puget Sound and specifically in Budd Inlet it has led to problems including low DO. Bioextraction is a method of removing nitrogen through harvesting shellfish and seaweed. Mussel harvesting is a method of “recycling” these excess nutrients. PSI has been investigating this method for use in Puget Sound. In 2011 a pilot project in Quartermaster harbor was found to have success. A project in Budd inlet was subsequently launched in 2013. Monthly data was collected at three sites. By mid July 2013 a good mussel set was found on the sampling straps. TESC was involved in composting the mussels that had grown on the setting straps. 4500 pounds were composted by TESC. New composting collaborations with WDOC-Cedar Creek composting has begun. Compost testing resulted in high calcium content, and grew vegetables successfully. Results indicate that 8000 lbs. of mussels = A removal of 80 Lbs. of nitrogen, or 0.66 lbs. per day. In order to remove 100 lbs. of nitrogen per day, 16,810 straps would need to be installed (compared to the pilot study of 120 straps). This would equal the size of 2 West Bay Marinas. In addition to the quantitative data and feasibility of this mediation process, this project served as a great way to educate the public through youth community involvement about nutrient systems and what they can do on a daily basis to help improve water quality.
Squaxin Island Tribe’s shellfish department will begin clam population surveys in Vaughn Bay, Pierce County this week.
The surveys will occur on privately owned tidelands within the bay. This area had previously been closed to commercial shellfish harvest due to water quality problems, but has recently been upgraded to approved status.
Approximately sixty parcels have been identified as possible clam beaches and will be surveyed by the Natural Resources Shellfish department this summer. The goal of the department is to maintain treaty harvest rights in this area and provide harvest opportunities for Squaxin Island tribal members.
Twice a year PCSGA hosts beach cleanup events at the Arcadia launch. Every year dumpsters are filled with various types of debris that has washed ashore. Some of the source of this trash is from aquaculture activities and much of it is from other sources.
Squaxin Island employees and tribal members helped clean up the entire shoreline of Squaxin Island this year. We had several boat loads of trash come off the island and everyone’s help was greatly appreciated. Thanks to all for keeping Squaxin Island clean!
For more information on PCSGA beach cleanups see http://www.pcsga.org/pub/news_events/beach_cleanup.shtm
During the summer of 2008 Squaxin Island Natural Resources Shellfish employees conducted shellfish population surveys on several privately owned tidelands in Hammersley Inlet (Figure 1). This area had previously been closed to harvesting due to some form of pollution (see http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/sf/default.htm for more information on area closures). The recently upgraded approved status allowed us to identify the area and determine if a commercial density of clams occurred in this area.
Other private Tidelands fall within a pollution closure area and are not safe for commercial harvest and subsequent consumption (Figure 2). This is why we can harvest clams from some beaches and not from others in this particular area.
Harvesting from private tidelands is different than harvesting from areas like Squaxin Island or state held beaches like “the Dikes” or “the Westside”. While a lot of planning must go into all commercial clam harvests, planning a private tideland dig takes extra work. In some cases we communicate and coordinate with growers that the tideland owner has hired to “manage” their beach. Sometimes we coordinate the digs with the owner. Either way, a lot of planning must go into the event to ensure that all parties are informed. Squaxin Island Tribe has rights to half of all naturally occurring shellfish on these particular tidelands. Our goal is to ensure that we harvest our treaty share, while maintaining good relations with homeowners and hired growers. Private tideland digs are also different because we must treat each private tideland as a separate beach (Figure 3). Each beach has defined boundaries (property lines), and each tideland has a different available biomass (amount of clams we can harvest).
This is why it is so important that we only dig in certain areas (within marked boundaries) and only dig the predetermined amount of clams on each separate tideland. Harvesting outside of these boundaries is something we do not want to do, as that action could lead to legal problems for the tribe and ultimately less revenue for the tribe and tribal members.
Conducting treaty harvests on private tidelands has the potential to be a valuable asset to Squaxin Island Tribe. As shellfish growing areas become approved within our Usual and Accustom area, we could potentially harvest our treaty share in those areas. More clam resources equal more revenue for tribal members and that is something we are promoting through these clam digging opportunities.
Shellfish enhancement began on Squaxin Island on August 28th, with Manila clam seed being spread on one of our island beaches. With the recent addition of a new position to lead the enhancement portion of the Shellfish Department, this seeding event was a successful start for new beach manager Daniel Kuntz. This enhancement program is funded by the Shellfish Growers Settlement. Much more Manila clam seeding is planned for this summer and fall.