Press Room

Audubon Washington Celebrates a Victory for Birds and People

The Department of Ecology made the responsible decision to end a half-century of pesticide use in Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay.

SEATTLE —“Sound science won the day for the birds and people of Washington,” said Gail Gatton, executive director of Audubon Washington, in response to the decision by the Washington Department of Ecology to deny a permit for the use of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide, on oyster and clam beds in the state.

Oyster growers in Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay have used pesticides to control native populations of burrowing shrimp since the late 1960’s, citing harmful impacts on their oyster-growing operations.

“We should be moving away from the use of chemical pesticides in ecologically important coastal areas, especially those with harmful effects on the fish and birds of Washington. This was the right call by the state, and Audubon stands ready to work with oyster growers and other stakeholders to find the best way forward for everyone involved.”

Ending the use of pesticides will have a positive impact on Washington shorebirds like the Marbled Godwit.

Established in 1981, Audubon Washington works statewide with its 25 independent chapters and 35,000 members on the conservation of the sagebrush shrub steppe ecosystem in Eastern Washington, protection of coastal estuaries, and actions that address climate change, the number one threat to birds today. Through the Seward Park Audubon Center, we provide science, nature and environmental education programs for youth and families. Learn more at, @audubonWA.

Contact: Nicolas Gonzalez,, (212) 979-3100.

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