Olympic Forest Coalition (OFCO) seeks $20,000 grant support for the Quilcene Bay Protection Project. The grant will fund expert assistance for a Clean Water Act citizen suit and an NPDES permit campaign for a shellfish hatchery operation in Quilcene Bay, Washington State. OFCO filed suit against Coast Seafoods Company (Pacific Seafoods) in 2016. Pacific is a major transnational corporation and the hatchery is the largest in the United States. Coast Seafoods uses numerous pipes and ditches to discharge untreated effluent from its indoor, land-based hatchery facilities to a small stream, the adjacent beach, Quilcene Bay and Puget Sound. The effluent has included excessive amounts of ammonia, nitrogen and solids, which OFCO believes is creating problems for fish, shellfish, and pursuit-diving birds and other wildlife. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that Coast is not exempt from the permit requirement. On remand, the district court reopened the case in August 2018 only to stay the case in July 2019. The judge’s stay order was based largely on Coast’s representations to the court that it had applied for and was seeking an NPDES permit for the discharges. Sampling of dissolved oxygen in Quilcene Bay in the fall of 2019 appeared to show dangerous, near-hypoxic conditions in the water. OFCO believes that Coast contributes to the degraded quality of Quilcene Bay and it has asked Ecology to require Coast Seafoods to treat effluents before discharging into the bay, and to monitor and report on discharges. The permit process should provide the public with more information about the pollutants and amount and frequency of pollution from the facility, as well as limit pollution from the facility to protect water quality. The grant will provide expert assistance needed to support the litigation and win a stringent NPDES permit, require treatment of effluents, and win protection of Quilcene Bay.
Olympic Forest Coalition
Quilcene Bay Protection Project
Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund, 2019