DNR reaches agreement on tideland trespasses; 3 firms to repay state $417,000 for unauthorized use of public tidelands
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DNR reaches agreement on tideland trespasses; 3 firms to repay state $417,000 for unauthorized use of public tidelands 
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 23, 2010

DNR reaches agreement on tideland trespasses; 3 firms to repay state $417,000 for unauthorized use of public tidelands
Goldmark works with growers collaboratively; stresses accountability

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today it has reached settlements with three Washington shellfish companies to resolve their unauthorized use of state-owned tidelands to grow and harvest shellfish.

Under the agreements, the three companies – Taylor Shellfish, Seattle Shellfish and Arcadia Point Seafood – will repay the state a total of $417,000 for allowing their operations to encroach on state-owned aquatic lands.

“I am pleased that all three shellfish growers have shown such commitment to working cooperatively with DNR to determine the rightful access to use these public tidelands,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “Each firm’s legal use of tidelands – both private and publicly owned – is important to create jobs and generate revenue that helps protect Puget Sound and bring it back to health.”

Under the agreements, the three companies will reimburse the state for operating on state-owned aquatic lands without authorization over a period of five to seven years. The settlement amounts agreed to are:

  • Taylor Shellfish – $225,000 for encroachment at North Bay;
  • Seattle Shellfish – $75,000 for encroachment at Arcadia Point on Case Inlet; and
  • Arcadia Point Seafood – $117,000 for encroachments also at Arcadia Point.

Products from these lands include oysters, clams and geoduck. The encroachment at North Bay was discovered by DNR staff as a result of the ongoing survey of state tidelands, but the encroachments at Arcadia Point were brought to DNR’s attention by one of the growers. All three encroachments will be considered unintentional under the agreement, and the three firms also agreed to stop using those areas for aquaculture without signed leases.

“We appreciate Commissioner Goldmark’s collective approach to working with shellfish growers,” said Bill Dewey, spokesperson for Taylor Shellfish. “We’ve reviewed our farm boundaries, surveyed anywhere they were in doubt, and shared the results with DNR to resolve any potential ownership issues.”

Identifying the boundaries of tideland ownership is a process that can be complicated by the changing landscapes of shoreline areas, as well as the different ways in which state law has identified the boundaries of shoreline parcels since statehood.

Settlement money received by DNR will help fund the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account, used for habitat restoration, education and research projects related to Puget Sound. Statewide, DNR administers more than 140 leases to private firms for the rights to grow and harvest oysters, mussels, clams and other products 2,329 acres of state tidelands.

DNR is a steward of aquatic lands
As steward of the 2.6 million acres of state aquatic lands, DNR manages the bedlands under Puget Sound, the coast, many of Washington’s beaches, and natural lakes and navigable rivers. DNR manages these lands not only to help navigation, commerce, and public access, but also to ensure protection of aquatic habitat.
State-owned aquatic lands include:

  • About 68,100 acres of state-owned tidelands, or 106 square miles
  • 90,000 acres of harbor areas
  • All submerged marine lands below extreme low tide—that’s 3,430 square miles of bedlands under navigable waters, as well as freshwater shorelands and bedlands

Media Contact: Aaron Toso, Director of Communications & Outreach, DNR, 360-902-1023, aaron.toso@dnr.wa.gov

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