FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2009
State DNR establishes 19 designated mooring buoys at popular SCUBA diving spots in Puget Sound and Hood Canal
New type of mooring buoys will prevent destruction of aquatic habitat
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today approved the installation of up to 19 mooring buoys at popular dive sites in five counties around Puget Sound and Hood Canal. DNR worked on this effort with the Washington Scuba Alliance (WSA). A five-year license with WSA for the buoys ends May 31, 2014.
Jim Trask began advocating for the buoys in 2006. DNR and WSA have worked very closely to locate the buoys, and the organization will install them at 14 popular recreational SCUBA diving locations. WSA expects to place 5 buoys before this year’s fish window closes and will place the others as funding becomes available.
“The Scuba Alliance has volunteered time and money to make this happen,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “I think we have a solution with these buoys that supports great diving opportunities, while preventing the damage that can occur when temporary mooring drags through eelgrass and other sensitive aquatic habitats.”
Until today, boaters have arrived and anchored at these popular sites. The result has too often been unintentional damage to sensitive near shore habitats. Anchoring vessels has caused a wide range of habitat damage from uprooting vegetation to reef destruction. Other damage has occurred from propeller scour when vessels are anchored in water that is too shallow.
“Three years of hard work is about to be realized,” said Jim. “DNR and we have developed a strong partnership with the goal of protecting our wonderful waters and sea life. Alpha Marine Installations will begin the installation of these buoys which the Alliance will maintain. WSA’s plan is to do more of these in the future and continue to help preserve our state’s aquatic resources for future generations.”
DNR has worked with the WSA on approving the most appropriate locations for the buoys. The majority of these popular sites are only accessible by boat. In addition, the design of the buoys, lines and installation methods will result in an effort that provides boating access while protecting the marine habitat below. The current best practices include:
- A helix anchor that drills into the seabed minimizing disturbance
- A mid-line float to prevent anchor line dragging at low tide
- Placement in approved water depth to eliminate prop scour to vegetation and habitat
- Annual maintenance requirements
The installed buoys will be available for use by the general public on a first come, first served basis and will be prominently marked as such.
Partnership more than just buoys
The WSA has been a partner to DNR in the stewardship of state-owned aquatic lands. They had observed habitat deterioration in these sites from the anchors and scouring, and wanted to help find a solution. Additionally, the WSA has been aiding with Hood Canal dissolved oxygen studies and invasive tunicate removal.
DNR —steward of aquatic lands and resources
The 2.6 million acres of state-owned ‘aquatic’ lands (mostly submerged lands) are a public trust managed and protected by DNR for the people of Washington. Revenue is generated from the sale of renewable resources such as wild geoduck, as well as from leasing submerged lands for marinas, docks and other uses. This revenue is used to manage and protect the health and productivity of aquatic resources, and to fund local projects that restore aquatic ecosystems and create public access to the waters of the state.
DNR is administered by Peter Goldmark, Washington’s 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889 and the first commissioner from Eastern Washington.
Media Contacts: Jane Chavey, Sr. Communications Manager, 360-902-1721, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Trask, Vice President, Washington Scuba Alliance, 206-498-5256, email@example.com