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Cooperation is working

Re: ''They're counting on us,'' by Billy Frank Jr. [Vol. 28, Iss. 2]. The progress made in the last few years through cooperative efforts at minimizing upland sources of pollutants and their impacts to Puget Sound tidelands and waters cannot be overstated. Whether recent or historical, the many people and species dependent on its waters and tidelands have suffered for too long. But it cannot stop at the upland sources. Impacts to the tidelands of Puget Sound continue, and in some cases grow worse, through shellfish harvesting whose techniques have grown more aggressive in recent years.

Most significantly, current geoduck farming in the intertidal tidelands through the use of PVC pipes and liquefaction of the intertidal sediments impact the ecosystem in ways not fully understood, but which are absolute in their reality. We cannot let the short-sighted economic returns of geoducks blur the potentially long-term impacts on the intertidal tidelands used by herring, sand lance and surf smelt which the salmon and other species are so dependent on. We should not let history repeat itself.

I would encourage the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe to join others concerned about this and ask for their support of a ban to the intertidal tideland processing and harvesting of geoducks. There are ample subtidal populations in vast areas whose harvest has far less impact on the limited, critical, and very finite intertidal tidelands.

- Jules Michel

Third-generation tideland/shoreline property ownerShelton, Wash.