The Drakes Bay Oyster Company is the last cannery in California and produces a third of the oysters in the state. Even though it’s surrounded by cattle ranches, the National Park Service has engaged in a prolonged campaign to drive it out in order to “restore” the area to wilderness. The area clearly is not wilderness with tens of thousands of tourists and cattle ranches, but the NPS has made dishonest claims like that to get its way.
Since ecoscammers love to hide their anti-human agenda behind cute animals, the latest excuse was that the oyster farming was interfering with the harbor seals. Except of course that it actually wasn’t.
The expert that the government consulted on the status of the harbor seals told them that there was no problem. But that didn’t stop the US Geological Survey and the National Park Service from claiming the opposite.
First, the FEIS claimed evidence that the oyster farm occasionally disturbed harbor seals. This finding was inconsistent with the physical landscape: the oyster boats typically stay over 700 yards away from the harbor seals, and with an intervening sandbar blocking their view and buffering their sound (a fact not disclosed in the FEIS).
Second, the FEIS claimed that these disturbances were, in fact, ‘chronic’ (with no evidence) and led to a spatial displacement of harbor seals out of Drakes Estero. This claim was equally inconsistent with the lack of any evidence for the claim of ‘chronic’ disturbance, and the fact that NOAA, the agency charged with overseeing the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, claims the harbor seal population in and around Drakes Estero is at or near its carrying capacity.
The Stewart Report did not conclude what the USGS claimed. Rather, Dr. Stewart found “no evidence of disturbance” of harbor seals by oyster boats. He was very clear. A review of his spreadsheet, submitted to both NPS and USGS, confirms his clarity. The USGS Report misrepresented the Stewart Report, claiming a correlation where Dr. Stewart found none…
But this isn’t really about the real world impact on the harbor seals. In environmentalist theology, animals are always victimized by human presence. Civilization destroys the wilderness and must be destroyed in turn for the wilderness to thrive.
This isn’t about science. Science is at worst the enemy and at best a tool for prying humans off the land so that it can revert to wilderness.