FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2009
State DNR and Taylor Shellfish settle Totten Inlet dispute
Costly legal action avoided with cooperative action
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Taylor Shellfish today announced that they have settled the dispute on Totten Inlet. The agreement, signed by both parties this morning, resolved ownership of the disputed tidelands, ownership and access to remaining shellfish product, and settled any issues regarding past use of the tidelands. This agreement allows the parties to move forward with a cooperative relationship in the future.
“This is a fair and equitable agreement for the people of the state of Washington,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “We will continue working with the shellfish growers in our state to ensure that this sustainable industry creates jobs and generates revenue for restoration projects in Puget Sound.”
“This agreement is a win-win for both Taylor and the DNR. We are pleased with the outcome,” said Bill Taylor, owner of Taylor Shellfish. “With this issue behind us we look forward to focusing on our operations, creating jobs, and stimulating our local economy with our business activities. Now more than ever working families need the types of jobs that Taylor provides.”
Under the agreement, DNR will grant Taylor Shellfish two separate Rights of Entry to remove shellfish product. Oysters will be removed within six months and geoduck within five years. No lease will be issued and no oysters or geoduck will be replanted.
In turn, Taylor Shellfish will pay DNR $1.5 million over the next three years from the date the Right of Entry is signed and withdraw their current lawsuits with DNR over Totten Inlet. The agreement also grants quiet title of the state-owned aquatic lands and grants Taylor Shellfish quiet title to shellfish products on the state-owned aquatic land.
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 facilitate 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
Peter Goldmark, who administers 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.
Media Contacts: Aaron Toso, Director of Communications & Outreach, DNR, 360-902-1023, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Dewey, Director of Public Affairs, Taylor Shellfish, 360-790-2330, email@example.com
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