For those following the controversy (background: Oysters on the Outs, Sep 28, 2007) – and few Marin County land use issues have ignited local passions the way this one has – the report may seem to settle some scores.
Speaking to KQED Public Radio, the study’s lead scientist, Charles Peterson, said "We evaluated all the science in Drakes Estero... and from that concluded that there is no major impact of the Drakes Estero mariculture on the ecosystem of Drakes Estero."
This is contrary to initial findings from the National Park Service, which had sought to shut down the longstanding oyster operation. According to the Park Service, oysters, a non-native species, coat the bay floor in feces and harm other, native wildlife such as eelgrass and harbor seals. After protests from the oyster company and many of its neighbors, the Park Service and Senator Diane Feinstein tapped the National Research Council to take an independent look.
Now, it's up to the Park Service to decide how to react to the NRC's study.