The County Council's Economic and Infrastructure Development Committee held a hearing on March 8 regarding a proposed ordinance creating the Vaughn Bay Shellfish Protection District. To view the proposed ordinance, click here.
The Vaughn Bay Shellfish Protection District is continuing to review a report on the bay closure plan.
Vaughn Bay, on the west side of the Key Peninsula in Pierce County, Washington is well-suited to growing shellfish. Both Native Americans and early European settlers knew the bay as an abundant source of clams and oysters. In the 1980s, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) determined that bacteria levels in water quality samples taken from the bay were too high for human consumption. DOH classified the bay as Restricted for shellfish harvest.
In 2009, water quality samples showed that bacteria levels have declined significantly. DOH reclassified 103 acres of the bay to approved status, and in 2011, added an additional 50 acres to the approved status area. Unfortunately, recent samples have shown that bacteria levels in Vaughn Bay are increasing, again.