FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 13, 2009
Commissioner Goldmark calls for an inventory of state tidelands
Expedited review prompted by potential trespass on state tidelands
OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark today announced that the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will undertake an inventory of state-owned tidelands that the agency manages. The effort will help identify potential trespass situations and unauthorized uses. Work will begin in Puget Sound.
The inventory process will include comparing GIS information from shellfish companies, and state and federal agencies with DNR GIS information to identify areas in Puget Sound where trespasses are most likely to occur. Once these areas are identified, DNR will deploy staff to conduct on-the-ground inspections. Summertime is a particularly good time to examine tidelands due to the extra low tides and long daylight hours.
“These are lands owned by the public, and we need to make sure their resources are not being taken advantage of or harmed,” said Goldmark. “If someone wants to do business on public land, the proposed use should be evaluated and, if appropriate, authorized — and the public should be compensated.”
The need for the inventory was highlighted by the recent discovery of a potential trespass on publicly owned tidelands by Taylor Shellfish in North Bay, at the end of Case Inlet near Allyn. State tidelands are directly adjacent to privately owned tidelands Taylor is currently farming. The incident was discovered by DNR staff and Taylor Shellfish, and the company is working cooperatively to assist DNR in the investigation. Taylor has agreed to pay for a survey to determine the actual boundaries of the area in question.
“Waterward boundaries between private and state tidelands have been historically difficult to verify,” said Taylor Shellfish President, Bill Taylor. “Modern GIS mapping tools have made this easier and in cooperation with DNR we’re using them to identify other tideland areas we farm which may need survey verification.”
DNR Aquatic Lands Management
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 the state’s 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889, and the first commissioner from Eastern Washington.
Media Contact: Aaron Toso, Director of Communications and Outreach, 360-902-1023 firstname.lastname@example.org
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