We work with Public Ports to help insure that the citizens receive a balance of benefits from the state-owned aquatic lands used by Port Districts. DNR’s predecessors and current Ports Program and Port Districts have worked together since the Legislature authorized formation of Port Districts in 1911.
In 1984, the State Legislature adopted the Aquatic Lands Act that enabled DNR to enhance its stewardship of state aquatic lands. Under certain conditions, DNR may enter into an agreement that authorizes a Port to manage some or all of the eligible state-owned aquatic lands in their district. As managers of these lands, DNR and Ports strive to carry out the Legislative direction provided in the Aquatic Lands Act to:
Foster water-dependent uses;
Ensure environmental protection;
Encourage direct public use and access;
Promote production on a continuing basis of renewable resources;
Allow suitable state aquatic lands to be used for mineral and material production, and
Generate income from use of aquatic lands in a manner consistent with the above goals.
A Port is eligible for a Port Management Agreement if they control the uplands that abut the state-owned aquatic lands. Of the 76 Public Ports in Washington, 31 have Agreements with DNR. The cooperative agreement defines general responsibilities for both the Port and DNR. The Port still follows all applicable local, state and federal laws. In cases where a Port does not have upland control, the Ports Program administers other agreements that include Commercial Leases, Material Sales Agreements, Easements and Rights of Entry.
DNR and the Washington Public Ports Association maintain a good working relationship and meet annually to address any issues of interest.
Laws and Rules For Ports Program
Aquatic Lands Laws and Agency Rules
RCW Title 79 - Public Lands
WAC 332-30 - Aquatic Land Management
Port Districts RCW Title 53
Management agreements with port districts WAC 332-30-114
Water-Dependent, Water Oriented, and Nonwater-Dependent Uses
RCW 79.105.060 Definitions
Rent Guidelines and Formulas for Water-Dependent Uses
Rent Guidelines and Formulas for Nonwater-Dependent Uses