FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2011
Board of Natural Resources lowers DNR management fees to send up to $5 million more to several counties
Board also tables Lake Whatcom Inter-Trust Exchange, seeking clarity from Whatcom County
OLYMPIA – The Board of Natural Resources today approved a proposal by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark to reduce the management fee that Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) retains from revenues earned on lands it manages on behalf of several counties.
“In these tough times, we have to manage our lands appropriately and help the counties deliver critical services to their citizens,” said Peter Goldmark, Commissioner of Public Lands. “The timber markets have improved to the point where we can do both in a prudent and deliberate way.”
The percentage of revenues retained by DNR will drop from 23 percent to 21 percent. The reduction in the rate follows an earlier decrease – from 25 percent – approved by the Board in April. By reducing management fees by two percentage points, counties for which DNR manages forestlands stand to gain between $4 million and $5 million during the 2011-13 Biennium.
Other Board action
The Board today tabled action on an inter-trust exchange of state trust forestlands until Whatcom County sends a letter asking the state for title to about 8,000 acres of forestland surrounding Lake Whatcom.
The proposal would reconfigure the trust ownership of thousands of acres that DNR manages around the lake. DNR manages the lands on behalf of trust beneficiaries, including common school construction, and Whatcom County and its junior taxing districts. The redesignation of trust land parcels into more consolidated blocks of ownership is a preliminary step to a “reconveyance” of about 8,000 acres of forested trust lands to Whatcom County. The county and DNR first began discussions on the project in 2007.
In addition to a request for conveyance the Board asked Whatcom County to indicate how it will account for the impact of losing the timber income it now gets from DNR’s timber harvests. The Board also asked the county to state whether the lands would continue to be managed in accordance with DNR’s Habitat Conservation Plan.
DNR manages state trust lands
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR manages more than 5.6 million acres of state-owned forest, range, commercial, agricultural, conservation, and aquatic lands. Of these, more than half are held in trust to produce income to support public schools, universities, prisons, and other state institutions. These state trust lands managed by DNR provide other public benefits, including outdoor recreation, habitat for native fish and wildlife, and watersheds for clean water.
Media Contact: Bryan Flint, Director of Communications, 360-902-1023, firstname.lastname@example.org
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