National Geographic : 1996 Feb
UNEASY NEIGHBORS It's a cow's life around Tillamook Bay, Oregon, where 25,000 dairy cattle produce Tillamook cheddar. They also unload some 300,000 gallons of waste a day. Exposed manure can wash into the oyster-rich bay with the region's copious rains-as can overflow from municipal sewage treat ment plants. Most dairy farmers have built storage tanks or covered sheds to curb runoff. Still the bay is closed to shellfish harvesting 50 to 90 days a year because of suspected contamination. That development has oyster growers like Mike Harris (below, at left) fuming. While some blame the dairy farms, Harris faults regulations that interrupt his harvest. "All the market we had is gone," he says. "It's frustrating."