FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2010
Commissioner Goldmark officially designates Protection Island as an Aquatic Reserve
Committed to cleaning up Puget Sound, Protection Island will be Goldmark’s second reserve designation since taking office in January 2009
OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark today adopted the management plan for the Protection Island Aquatic Reserve, the fifth aquatic reserve in Puget Sound, and second aquatic reserve designated by Goldmark since taking office in 2009.
“By expanding the network of aquatic reserves throughout Puget Sound, we’ll be able to gather a more diverse set of data and more closely monitor the health of the Sound,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “DNR is committed to using science to inform our policy decisions, and our growing network of reserves will help us identify future and current modifications needed to help keep Puget Sound healthy.”
During the research and monitoring activities that will take place as described by the management plan, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will partner with numerous organizations to collect data to study the relationship between the diverse species and habitats that utilize Protection Island.
Protection Island is known to house an extensive eelgrass and seagrass population that provides crucial habitat for forage fish and invertebrates. The migratory corridor along Protection Island supports the Elwha River Chinook and Hood Canal summer chum salmon populations. Harbor seals have also been recorded as regularly using Protection Island for haul-out, molting, breeding, and pupping sites.
DNR is committed to the clean-up and restoration of Puget Sound as described in Commissioner Goldmark’s Strategic Plan. Once an aquatic reserve is designated, future DNR-authorized uses at the site must be consistent with the goals and objectives for resource protection identified in the management plan. The reserve area applies only to state-owned aquatic lands and not to private holdings.
DNR Aquatic Reserves Program
The DNR Aquatic Reserves Program was established to promote the preservation, restoration, and enhancement of state-owned aquatic lands. Involvement of the broader scientific, business, and local communities in locating potential reserve sites helps DNR focus on long-term management options for a specific area. By encompassing a network of aquatic reserves, DNR can better research and monitor potential stressors in our aquatic environments, and contribute to the protection and restoration of Puget Sound.
DNR-Steward of state aquatic lands
As steward of more than 2.6 million acres of state-owned 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 facilitate navigation, commerce, and public access, but also to ensure protection of aquatic habitats. 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
Peter Goldmark, who administers the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, is Washington’s 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889.
Media Contact: Abbey Corzine, Communications Specialist, 360-902-1401, email@example.com
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