Oyster Growers Association names new director

David Beugli, a fisheries and wildlife scientist, became executive director of the Willapa-Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association on Dec. 1.

The association represents 19 shellfish farms and growers along the southwestern coast of Washington.

“It’s been my life’s work to study and understand the biology and ecology of coastal ecosystems. With WGHOGA, I can work to expand this knowledge within and beyond the communities that care for coastal sustainability and who rely on our healthy estuaries for their way of life,” said Beugli, who has served as the association’s project coordinator for the past six years.

In recent years, Willapa Bay and its surrounding areas have seen an infestation of burrowing ghost shrimp, which disrupt the intertidal sediment that supports natural biodiversity. Beugli has been instrumental in coordinating scientific research into economically and ecologically friendly solutions to this problem, and he will sit on the Willapa-Grays Harbor working group to help advise on the use of any state funding approved for such measures.

Beugli said he plans to continue pursuing pest management solutions with the local community, other shellfish associations and state agencies. He will also direct the development of a new long-range strategic plan for the group’s long-term financial stability.

“David’s commitment to sound science and responsive community engagement will help the WGHOGA progress on our vision for a sustainable rural economy and healthy, biodiverse estuaries,” said Board President Ken Wiegardt.