Proposed Burley Lagoon Geoduck Farm
Burley Lagoon
   Update as of February 22, 2024

For the upcoming hearings, the County has prepared two staff reports.  One is for the requested shoreline permits and the other is for the EIS appeal.  See the Document Library below for a copy of both. From March 20 through March 29, 2024 (weekend excluded), the Pierce County Deputy Hearing Examiner will hold public hearings for the proposal.  First, the hearings will consider the appeal of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  This portion is open to public observation, but no public comment is allowed except for witnesses identified by the Appellants, Applicant, and County.  All testimony is subject to cross examination.   Second, the hearings will consider the requested Shoreline Substantial Development Permit and Shoreline Conditional Use Permit.   This portion is open to public testimony. 

The Examiner will make the final County decision as to whether the appeal and shoreline permits are approved/denied.  Prior to the hearings, please do not discuss the matter with the Examiner.  For detailed information regarding the public hearings see the Examiner’s Pre-Hearing Order, dated October 19, 2023.

Written comments regarding the shoreline permits are still being accepted until the public hearings. The sooner the comments are received the more time they may be considered.

Earlier in 2023, the Key Peninsula Land Use Advisory Commission (KPAC) and Gig Harbor Peninsula Land Use Advisory Commission (PAC) held public meetings to consider the requested shoreline permits.  On May 22nd, the KPAC/PAC held a combined public meeting; on May 24th, the PAC had a public meeting; and on May 25th, the KPAC had a public meeting. Links to the video/audio of the first meeting and audio of the second/third meetings are posted in the project timeline below.  In summary, the PAC voted to recommend denial of the requested shoreline permits and the KPAC voted to recommend approval of them.  The Examiner, and County Staff, will consider their recommendations.  Note, the KPAC/PAC were made aware of the appeal. However, making a recommendation on appeals are outside of their authority.

  Burley Lagoon Proposal

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. 

  Share your input!

Provide comments by one of the two ways below: 

By email:
[email protected]

In letter form:
Mail 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.
  • January 20, 2023: FEIS appealed by the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat, Friends of Burley Lagoon, Tahoma Audubon Society, and Friends of Pierce County.  They combined to file one appeal (application #1004944).
  • Monday, May 22, 2023, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.: 
    •  This was a hybrid joint meeting before the KPAC and PAC. The meeting consisted of KPAC, PAC and staff introductions, 10-minute overview presentations by the County and Applicant, and public testimony. Of the three meetings, this was the only one where the public could testify.  The public meeting notice for the LUACs can be found HERE. More information on the meeting including the presentations and a recording can be found HERE.
    • A video recording of the meeting can be found HERE.

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
    • The primary purpose of this meeting was for the PAC to ask questions of the County and Applicant, to deliberate, and make a recommendation on the proposal. Audio recording of the meeting can be found here: 05 24 23 PAC Recording - Audio
    • The meeting concluded with a recommendation to deny the permit. 
  • Thursday, May 25, 2023, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
    • The primary purpose of this meeting was for the KPAC to ask questions of the County and Applicant, to deliberate, and make a recommendation on the proposal. Audio recording of the meeting can be found here: 05 25 23 KPAC Recording - Audio
    • The meeting concluded with a recommendation to approve the permits subject to certain mitigation/conditions (as noted at the end of the audio recording).
  • March 20 through March 29th, 2024: Pierce County Deputy Hearing Examiner will hold public hearings for the proposal. 

  • Dates Yet To Be Determined:
    • Transmittal date, of Examiner’s decision regarding the shoreline permits to the Washington State Department of Ecology.
    • Decision date, by Washington State Department of Ecology, on County Shoreline Conditional Use Permit.
    • Public hearing(s), by Washington State Shorelines Hearings Board, if an appeal of the shoreline permits is filed.

  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.
  • 1004944 – FEIS appeal 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

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) 
Policies
Regulations

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