Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm

 

The Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm, which PSRF operated through 2014, was a pioneering, multi-dimensional effort to restore clean water and shellfish harvesting in Drayton Harbor. Launched in 2001, the project planted oyster seed with community volunteers in waters that were prohibited to all shellfish harvest due to chronic bacterial contamination. In order to harvest oysters from this historic and productive shellfish growing area, the community would need to tackle pollution sources and achieve measurable water quality improvements in three years’ time.

In June 2004, as a direct result of PSRF’s intensive community-based effort to reduce pollution, 575 acres were conditionally re-opened to shellfish harvest and the community feasted on Drayton Harbor oysters for the first time in ten years. In the years since, these same oysters have became a favorite attraction at selected grocers, local restaurants, the Bellingham Farmers Market and at the Blaine Marina, where residents can stroll down on a Saturday and enjoy a little taste of heaven – locally produced. Much of the credit for the transformation of Drayton Harbor from prohibited ground in the 1990s to a growing shellfish operation in 2014 goes to Geoff Menzies, who spearheaded the Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm for PSRF until 2013. In the face of seemingly intractable pollution issues, Geoff brought his considerable powers of persuasion to the task of improving water quality, re-opening Drayton Harbor to shellfish harvest, and re-building a market for Drayton Harbor oysters. He and his band of Volunteer Farmers of the Tideflats bravely took on the challenge and achieved a shellfish upgrade that exceeded all expectations.

Much of the credit for the transformation of Drayton Harbor from prohibited ground in the 1990s to a growing shellfish operation in 2014 goes to Geoff Menzies, who spearheaded the Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm for PSRF until 2013. In the face of seemingly intractable issues, Geoff brought his considerable powers of persuasion to the task of reducing pollution sources, improving water quality, and re-opening Drayton Harbor to shellfish harvest. He and his band of Volunteer Farmers of the Tideflats bravely took on the challenge and achieved a shellfish upgrade that exceeded all expectations.

The restoration of 575 acres in Drayton Harbor to shellfish harvest was the work of many hands. Thanks to all for your herculean efforts!

In 2014, the Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm transitioned into a commercial venture called Drayton Harbor Oyster Co. LLC (see separate story). Under the new owners, Steve and Mark Seymour, harvesting in Drayton Harbor is open February 1 through October 31 of each year. The Bay is closed as a precaution during the wettest months (November, December and January) when runoff from the Drayton Harbor watershed may make it unsafe to eat oysters and other shellfish grown in the Harbor. Thanks to the presence of the oyster farm and the watchful eyes of CSA shareholders, water quality monitoring and pollution control work continues throughout the watershed with the ultimate goal of removing this three-month closure as well. Farmers of the Tideflats, past and present, have stubbornly held to a vision of clean, productive water. We can rightly take pride in knowing that we have preserved a wonderful resource and contributed to sustaining a 100-year old tradition of oyster farming in Drayton Harbor.

The oyster beds on Jersey's coast
Have justly won a name
But we grow better flavored ones
Yes,sir, right here in Blaine.

(From 1909 Homeseeker’s edition of the Blaine Journal

Click here to read our Fall newsletter.

The Garden of the Salish Sea Curriculum uses shellfish as a vehicle to teach biology and pollution prevention, and is being developed with help from the Drayton Harbor CSF.

Water Quality information

In the News


The map below shows the location of the Drayton Harbor Community Shellfish Farm.

This video is from a news story about Drayton Harbor CSF.

 

Set to Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a Changing,” this is a slideshow of oyster farming activities and the volunteers who contributed thousands of hours to the Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm from 2001 through 2008. This project led to the partial re-opening of oyster harvesting in Drayton Harbor in 2004.

View photos of the 2011 - 2012 season. We initiated the Drayton Harbor Oyster CSA in the spring of 2010. Shareholders literally help keep the boats afloat and oyster farming alive in Drayton Harbor. This album illustrates the current off-bottom growing technique we are using to provide yearling Pacific oysters to our shareholders and selected restaurants in Bellingham and Seattle.

Farm:

Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm

Season:

March- June

 

 

Deliveries per season:

Depends on Membership Level

 

 

 

 

Harvest Schedule

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harvest Date

Day

Time

Location

 Weekly from March 5 through May 28

Saturday

9:00-10:00 am

Gate 3, Blaine Marina

*Dates may change depending on harvest closures due to PSP

Membership Level

Doz/Delivery

Annual Share

Doz Oysters/Year

1

Your Choice

$100

13

2

Your Choice

$200

25

3

Your Choice

$300

38

4

Your Choice

$400

50

5

Your Choice

$500

63

 

 

 

 

You can use PayPal to pay online!
Membership Level
  • Restored 575 acres in Drayton Harbor to conditional shellfish harvest
  • Oyster Sales 2001-2010 (generating $100,000 in revenue)
  • Marine Drive Sewer Repair, 2001 (videotaped and repaired cracks in pipes and manholes)
  • Blaine Marina Circulation Studies, 2003  - demonstrated that fecal bacterial sources in the Blaine marina do not significantly impact water quality over the oyster beds.
  • Urban Stormwater Monitoring, 2001-2004
  • Signage Installation, 2002 to alert incoming boaters and marina users to sensitive shellfish growing area
  • Tideflat Tours for community members and elected officials 2002 through 2010.
  • California Creek Tributary Water Quality Monitoring project in partnership with Hirsch Consulting Services 2006 – Identified high priority drainages for pollution control efforts.
  • Microbial Source Tracking investigation, 2006-2008 - to distinguish between human and livestock sources of fecal coliform in fresh and marine waters.
  • Total Maximum Daily Load water quality monitoring in partnership with Hirsch Consulting Services, 2007-2008
  • Shuckin’ on the Spit shellfish celebration, 2002-2004
  • Organized Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District Open Houses 2001-2004
  • Wetlands Identification, 2001-2004 –Partnered with Ecology to identify key areas in the watershed for large scale wetland protection and restoration.
  • Volunteer Farmers of the Tideflats
  • The Russell Family Foundation
  • Trillium Corporation
  • Washington State Department of Natural Resources
  • Washington State Department of Health
  • Washington State Department of Ecology
  • Puget Sound Action Team
  • Whatcom Conservation District
  • Hirsch Consulting Services
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Georgia Basin Ecosystem Initiative
  • Semiahmoo First Nation
  • Trillium Corporation
  • City of Blaine
  • Rock Point Oyster Company
  • Star Fish
  • Blau Oyster Company
  • Taylor Shellfish Farms
  • Whatcom County Water Resources – Stormwater Division
  • Drayton Harbor Shellfish District Advisory Committee
  • Port of Bellingham
  • Blaine Marina
  • Residents in Blaine, White Rock, Semiahmoo, Bellingham
  • Whatcom Community Foundation
  • Semiahmoo Ladies Club
  • Pew Charitable Trust
  • Friends of Semiahmoo Bay
  • Oceans Trust
  • Horizons Foundation
  • British Petroleum – Cherry Point
  • Semiahmoo Marina
  • Blaine Seafood Processors
  • Evergreen International Seafoods
  • Willows Inn
  • Vis Fisheries
  • Hannegan Seafoods
  • Community Food Co-op
  • Bellingham Farmers Market
  • Local oyster slurpers
  • Bellingham Herald
  • The Northern Light
  • Jack Kintner, Chapter Two Communications

 

For more information about this project or to get involved, please contact Steve at draytoncsa@comcast.net