How Water Quality Affects Oyster Production


Water is the most precious resource on our planet. Without it, nothing survives. The aquaculture and commercial fishing industries in Washington depend on good water quality. Willapa Bay waters support one of the largest per capita boating and sport fishing populations in the world. Individuals and families enjoy collecting shellfish and walking the region's many beautiful beaches.

This treasured lifestyle is jeopardized by threats to the quality of Willapa Bay's water. Failing on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems, livestock in or near streams, storm water runoff: erosion from poor land use practices, and improper application of lawn care additives and other products send toxins, bacteria and other harmful substances into our streams and into Willapa Bay directly. Pumping untreated sewage and contaminated bilge water overboard from boats, fuel spills and litter also degrade our water resources.

Changing behavior through education and community involvement is vital to preserving Willapa Bay's water quality. Two Washington Sea Grant Program water quality specialists, and three Washington State University cooperative extension agents, combine their technical expertise and the resources of both universities to provide watershed-wide education programs, technical assistance and information to local governments, tribes, industry, schools and other water resource users.


Did you know that fecal contamination has caused closures in more than 40% of Washington’s commercial oyster beds? Homeowners can help prevent water contamination and related health hazards by preventing sewage system failures.