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OCR for page 114
Shellfish Mariculture in Drakes Estero, Point Reyes National Seashore, California Appendix B Full Statement of Task STATEMENT OF TASK An ad hoc committee will be formed to produce two reports on shellfish mariculture in coastal areas. In the first report, the committee will assess the scientific basis for the National Park Service (NPS) presentations and the report (including revisions), “Drake’s Estero: A Sheltered Wilderness Estuary,” on the ecological effects of the Drake’s Bay Oyster Company operations on Drake’s Estero, Pt. Reyes National Seashore in California. In carrying out its task, the committee will address the following questions: What is the body of scientific studies on the impact of the oyster farm on Drake’s Estero, and what have they shown? What effects can be directly demonstrated by research conducted in Drake’s Estero itself? What effects can reasonably be inferred from research conducted in similar ecosystems? What conclusions can be drawn from the body of scientific studies, and how do they compare with what the NPS presented to the public? Have these conclusions affected NPS decision making? What are the most important subjects for future research to better understand the ecological consequences of anthropogenic influences on the Estero, so as to inform NPS decision making?
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Shellfish Mariculture in Drakes Estero, Point Reyes National Seashore, California For the second report, the committee will develop recommendations for best practices for shellfish mariculture to maintain ecosystem integrity. To this end, the committee will address the following questions: What are the ecological effects of mariculture, and how do they vary in magnitude by duration, operation size, harvest intensity, species cultivated, habitat type, and geographic location (e.g., effects on carrying capacity, water clarity, physical disturbance, species shifts, diseases, benthic deposition)? What are the uncertainties surrounding these ecological effects? How do the ecological effects of mariculture compare with the harvest of wild populations? Does shellfish mariculture reduce the harvest pressure on wild populations? What are the risks for the spread of nonnative species, and how could these risks be reduced? What socioeconomic factors influence the size and location of shellfish mariculture activities (e.g., “not in my backyard” [NIMBY] issues, economic parameters [permitting/leases for seabed, price stability, labor, transportation], local traditions)? What are the most important subjects for future research to better understand and manage the ecosystem responses to mariculture operations? The report will identify best management practices that could be employed to enhance the benefits of shellfish mariculture and minimize any negative ecological effects.