Editor, Index-Tribune:

Drakes Bay Oyster Farm is a biological research site of significant value. Where else are biologists going to find a population of filter feeders with such an intimate relationship with the Pacific Ocean? Oysters filter sea water, have a short generation time and, because of this, lend themselves in the same way as lab mice to biological research.

The population is large enough to provide tight statistical data that will serve as an early warning system to what is going on in the environment.

The animal husbandry is already in place. I could not have designed a greater, more sensitive environmental instrument. The government should provide grant money to fund research to monitor toxins.

So many times we see things as problems when they are really opportunities in disguise. I know the organisms are not indigenous to the environment. I love the romantic notion that we are going to return the earth to its pristine form. Some things can happen and should. This population of filter feeders is healthy and can provide us with insight to what’s coming down the tracks. Tell me a better way of testing thousands of gallons of sea water other than with an organism that thrives in the environment. Bacteria do not have specialization of tissues. Oysters volunteer for the job and are comprised of eukaryotic cells.

Let’s step back, away from politics, and be less concerned with the broad bush strokes of limited perception. I want to know what’s going on with the ocean as a whole.

Just by chance, here is an opportunity for some significant scientific research. So, lets check it out. Do a 10-year study, homogenize some tissues, spin it down in a centrifuge, perform some extractions, determine some concentrations, plot some points and make some predictions.

Or we can just stand on the tracks and wait for the train. This is a natural resource.

Eric Heine

Glen Ellen