Extended Comment Period Sought for Geoduck Farm Lease

The Port of Grapeview is asking the State Department of Natural Resources to extend the comment period on a proposed lease of five-acres of tideland off Stretch Island for a geoduck farm. According to a news release, the Port of Grapeview Commissioners learned about the proposed lease at 9 AM Friday and held an emergency meeting at 1 PM after many Grapeview residents asked the Port what they could do to stop this lease.

The DNR proposes to lease the state-owned tidelands in Case Inlet off Stretch Island to Allen Shellfish, LLC. The 10-year lease would allow planting, maintenance, grow out, and harvest of geoduck clams.

The shellfish company plans to hand plant Juvenile “seed” clams and protect those seeds for 24-30 months with black flexible mesh sleeves made from high density polyethylene (HOPE). This predator protection will be removed once the geoducks are large enough (typically between 2 and 2.5 years after planting) and they will be left to grow unprotected until harvest. Total growing time is four to seven years. After the clams reach market size, they will be harvested by hand.

The DNR has issued a Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance for the lease and is accepting comments on this MDNS until 4:30 PM Monday, June 18th.

During their emergency meeting, the Port Commissioners discussed the lease and decided to write a letter to the DNR asking for more time to “address the issue fully and respond” to the proposal.

The letter is addressed to Elizabeth O’Neal and explains that the Port received a notification of a lease in Totten Inlet which was in error. A new notice was sent but with the Monday comment deadline, the Port Commissioners don’t feel they have enough time to comment on the lease’s impact on the uplands. The Port of Grapeview asked the DNR for a 90-day extension.

The letter was signed by the chair of the Port Commission, Glenn Carlson, and was emailed and hand delivered.

The Port of Grapeview Commission will add the lease to the agenda of their next regular business meeting at 7 PM Tuesday.