Proposed Burley Lagoon Geoduck Farm

photo of lagoon
On January 6, 2023, the County will issue a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for this proposal.  Starting on that date, a copy of the FEIS, can be found on this webpage.  The FEIS has been prepared as a companion to the Draft EIS (DEIS).  The two documents together will constitute the environmental review document for the Taylor Shellfish Farms application.  Prior to January 6th, the County will send notice to interested parties. 

Note, the DEIS had a comment period. However, for the FEIS, neither County or State codes contemplate or provide for an additional comment period. In contrast, for the FEIS, they do provide for an appeal period. Appeals of the FEIS must be filed within 14 days of the issuance date of January 6, 2023. The appeal deadline is January 20, 2023. There are no code provisions for extending the appeal deadline.

Pursuant to RCW 43.21C.075, Section 18D.10.080 of Title 18D, Pierce County Development Regulations-Environmental and Chapter 1.22 of Title 1, General Provisions, decisions of the County Responsible Official may be appealed. Appeals are filed with appropriate fees and Notice of Appeal at the Planning and Public Works Department, located at the Development Center in the Public Services Building, 2401 South 35th Street, Room 2, Tacoma, WA 98409 or filed electronically HERE. You should be prepared to make specific factual objections. 

Any appeal(s) of the FEIS will be considered by the Pierce County Hearing Examiner at a future public hearing(s). 

Burley Lagoon is a saltwater body located within south Puget Sound. It is immediately north of and connects (under the Purdy Bridge) with Henderson Bay, and the two are divided by the Purdy Sandspit and State Route 302. The proposal would be located within the southern half of the lagoon and entirely within unincorporated Pierce County (within the Key Peninsula and Gig Harbor Peninsula Community Plan areas). The northern third of Burley Lagoon is located within unincorporated Kitsap County. The proposal would be located approximately ¾ mile from Kitsap County.

The specific proposal, by Taylor Shellfish Company, is to convert existing shellfish beds from the cultivation of Manila clams and oysters to geoduck clams planted in rigid polyvinyl chloride (PVC) nursery tubes and/or HDPE flexible mesh nursery tubes throughout a 25.5-acre project area. Predator exclusion netting may also be utilized during some portion of the generalized 6-year grow-out cycle. Planting would be done in phases.

The proposal requires two County shoreline permits (Shoreline Substantial Development Permit and Shoreline Conditional Use Permit).  The proposal also requires State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review. SEPA review helps agency decision makers, applicants and the public understand how the entire proposal will affect the environment. For this proposals’ SEPA review, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been prepared to provide an impartial discussion of significant environmental impacts (regarding the proposal) and inform decision makers and the public of reasonable alternatives, including measures, that would avoid or minimize adverse impacts or enhance environmental quality. 

An EIS is a two-step process that first consists of a Draft (DEIS) and then a Final (FEIS). An EIS is not a permit approval itself, but the information it contains will be considered (in conjunction with other relevant information such as policies, regulations, etc.) PRIOR to the County issuing a decision on the two shoreline permit applications. 

The public comment period on the DEIS was open from October 4, 2021, through December 3, 2021 (60 days). During that time, all parties had an opportunity to comment on the accuracy and completeness of the DEIS environmental analysis, the methodology used in the analysis, and whether they felt there was a need for additional information and/or mitigation measures so that improvements could be made before it is finalized. The County received a lot of comments. Comments received during the 60-day DEIS comment period will be considered and responded to in a FEIS.  

Comments received after December 3, 2021, will not be considered and responded to in the FEIS. However, comments received after that date will still be accepted/considered regarding the two required shoreline permits. There is currently no deadline for providing comments (on the shoreline permits). The deadline is typically the day of or last day (if more than one day) of the required public hearing(s) before the Pierce County Hearing Examiner. At this point, the public hearing date(s) have yet to be determined. However, the sooner the comments are received the more time they may be considered.

Provide comment(s) in one of the following ways to the assigned County Planner, Ty Booth:

  • By email to: [email protected]
  • In letter form to Pierce County Planning and Public Works Department, attention Ty Booth, 2401 S. 35th St., Suite 2, Tacoma, WA 98409-7490

In your comments, please reference the proposal name and/or application number(s).  Also make sure to legibly include your name and address (email and/or mailing address).

Area Maps
map of lagoon
closer map of lagoon
Project Timeline
  • May 28, 2014: Taylor Shellfish Company submitted four applications, for the proposal, with Pierce County. The applications consist of a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit (778791), Shoreline Conditional Use Permit (778792), Environmental Checklist pursuant to SEPA (778793), and Fish/Wildlife Review pursuant to the County Critical Areas Regulations (778794). In addition to the application numbers, the proposal is also known as Case No. SD/CP15-14 (Burley Lagoon Geoduck Farm). 
  • December 3, 2015: Taylor Shellfish Company submits Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) application (823304) with Pierce County.
  • October 5, 2016: The County issued a Determination of Significance (DS), which started the EIS process. As required per SEPA, on the same day the documents were posted on the Statewide SEPA Register located on the Washington State Department of Ecology website. View the posting.
  • October 25, 2016: A public meeting, regarding the DS/EIS, was held at Peninsula High School to allow neighbors, the public, organizations, Tribes, etc. to comment on the proposed scope of the EIS.
  • November 8, 2016: Deadline for providing comments on the DS.
  • November 22, 2016: DS appeal deadline.  No appeal was filed.  Since that time, a DEIS has been under preparation.
  • October 26, 2018: Effective date of new Pierce County Shoreline Master Program (Pierce County Code, Title 18D). However, the proposal is vested/grandfathered to the old Shoreline Master Program in effect at the time of application on May 28, 2014. The old Shoreline Master Program documents are listed later on this webpage under the heading “Additional Resources”.
  • September 16, 2021: County issues Notice of Availability for the DEIS to a list of interested parties
  • October 4, 2021: Issuance date of Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). As required per SEPA, on the same day the documents were posted on the Statewide SEPA Register. View the posting.
  • November 5, 2021: DEIS comment period was extended from a prior deadline of November 17, 2021 (45 day comment period), to a new/current deadline of December 3, 2021 (61 day comment period).  The comment deadline was extended based upon some requests that the County received. On this same date, notice regarding the new deadline was provided as follows: Emailed to the parties who specifically requested an extension, emailed to the Washington State Department of Ecology SEPA Register, County’s website for this proposal was updated, County’s on-line permit system was updated for the proposals’ five application numbers, and the four public notice signs (previously posted) were updated. 
  • December 3, 2021: Deadline for providing comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). 
  • December 16, 2022: County issues Notice of Availability for the FEIS to a list of interested parties (distribution list).
  • January 6, 2023: Issuance date of Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). As required by SEPA, on the same day the documents will be posted on the Statewide SEPA register.
  • January 20, 2023: FEIS Appeal Deadline.
  • Dates Yet To Be Determined:
    • Public meeting(s) before the Key Peninsula Land Use Advisory Commission and Gig Harbor Peninsula Land Use Advisory Commissions to consider the shoreline permits.*
    • Public hearing(s) before the Pierce County Hearing Examiner to consider both shoreline permit applications and any appeal of the FEIS (if an appeal is filed).
    • Decision of Pierce County Hearing Examiner on both shoreline permit applications and FEIS appeal (if an appeal is filed). The Examiner will make the final County decision as to whether the shoreline permits are approved/denied.
    • Transmittal date, of Hearing Examiner’s decision, to the Washington State Department of Ecology.
    • Decision date, by Washington State Department of Ecology, on County Conditional Use Permit.
    • Public hearing(s), by Washington State Shorelines Hearings Board, if appeal of shoreline permit(s) is filed.

When available, information regarding the future County public meetings and public hearings (addressed above), will be posted to this webpage and also sent to those on the interested parties list.

*Land Use Advisory Commissions will make a recommendation(s) on whether the shoreline permits should be approved/denied. Public meeting(s) before the Land Use Advisory Commissions for Key Peninsula and Gig Harbor, and public hearing(s) before the Pierce County Hearing Examiner will be scheduled when the Environmental Impact Statement (Draft and Final) process is complete.  In the meantime, please do not contact and/or discuss the proposal with either the Land Use Advisory Commission members or Hearing Examiner prior to the public meetings/hearings.  

Learn More

Note, all the County files for this proposal are saved electronically and may be reviewed in the same way by visiting Pierce County's online permitting system by clicking on each application number listed below.

Applications Associated with the Proposal:

  • 778791 - Application for Shoreline Substantial Development Permit
  • 778792 - Application for Shoreline Conditional Use Permit
  • 778793 - Application for Environmental Checklist.  This was a predecessor application to the later submitted Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) application
  • 778794 - Critical Fish & Wildlife Review Application
  • 823304 - Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) application.
  • Comments received on this proposal may potentially be saved under the document tab for any of these applications.
  • Comments received prior to October 4, 2021 are generally saved under application #778791. 
  • Comments received October 4, 2021 through December 3, 2021 are generally saved under application #823304.
  • Comments received after December 3, 2021 are generally saved under application #778791.

Parcel Numbers Associated with the Proposal: 0122133078, 0122231065, 0122231067, 0122231071

Additional Resources

State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)

The State SEPA laws (statute) and regulations are found at the following links:

SEPA statute

SEPA regulations

The Washington State Department of Ecology is responsible for overseeing Washington State rules that implement the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).  Their webpage has a wealth of information regarding SEPA.

Pierce County SEPA Code 

Pierce County SEPA regulations

Pierce County Shoreline Master Program

(in effect at time shoreline permit applications were submitted) 



Pierce County Land Use Advisory Commissions (LUACs) and Community Plan Information

General information

Key Peninsula 

Land Use Advisory Commission 

Key Peninsula Community Plan

Gig Harbor Peninsula

Land Use Advisory Commission

Gig Harbor Peninsula Community Plan

Pierce County Hearing Examiner

Visit them on the web

Washington State Shorelines Hearings Board

Visit them on the web

Questions? Contact Ty Booth (Planner) at 253-798-3727 or at [email protected]