Date: February 9, 2009
Contact: Aaron Toso, Communications & Outreach Director
Office: 360-902-1023; Cell: 360-870-3853; email@example.com
Commissioner Goldmark Directs Staff to Review Northwest Aggregates Aquatic Lease at Maury Island
Long-term health and sustainability a paramount concern for new commissioner
OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark today announced that he directed staff to officially review the aquatic lands lease with Northwest Aggregates on Maury Island to ensure the lease is consistent with the long-term sustainability and health of the Puget Sound. The commissioner also is concerned that the lease amount of $1,500 per year may not be the best return for citizens of the state.
There were efforts by Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff to adjust the current lease to accommodate individual environmental concerns. However, the entirety of the impacts from activities associated with loading gravel onto barges at the 300-foot dock have not been adequately measured against the Puget Sound Partnership’s (PSP) Action Plan. The lease was signed only one day after the Action Plan’s approval.
“I have concerns about how this dock will impact the long term sustainability and cleanup of Puget Sound,” said Commissioner Goldmark. “When these leases are signed, Washingtonians expect due diligence, and we must review this deal to make sure it is in lockstep with the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Plan.”
In addition to directing aquatics experts at DNR to review the compatibility of the lease with the PSP Action Plan, Commissioner Goldmark also will be directing staff to review the lease rate, which currently stands at $1,500 per year.
“If a company is going to move millions of dollars of gravel through an access point, that access should bring in more revenue for our citizens than what I could make renting out a spare bedroom in my home,” said Goldmark.
Sustainability is a priority
When Commissioner Goldmark took office, he laid out three principles that will guide decisions made at DNR under his leadership. Those include: sustainably manage our natural resources, conduct our work in the public’s interest with the public’s knowledge, and ensure that sound and credible science guides all of our actions.
DNR Aquatic Lands Management
Led by the Commissioner of Public Lands, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources manages about 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands, including the bedlands of Puget Sound and the coast, many of Washington’s beaches, navigable rivers and natural lakes.
On behalf of the people of Washington, DNR works to protect the environment, provide opportunities for recreation, support water-dependent businesses, and promote sustainable use of natural resources.
Revenues generated from DNR’s management of the state’s aquatic resources support ongoing restoration and cleanup of Washington’s aquatic lands and provide grants to agencies and communities.
Peter Goldmark, who leads the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, is Washington’s 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889 and the first commissioner from Eastern Washington.
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