Commissioner Goldmark designates first Aquatic Reserve in Puget Sound since taking office
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Commissioner Goldmark designates first Aquatic Reserve in Puget Sound since taking office 
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 14, 2010
                                                                                                         
Commissioner Goldmark designates first Aquatic Reserve in Puget Sound since taking office
Commissioner adopts protection plan of Smith & Minor Islands off Whidbey

OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark today announced the management plan for the Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve, marking the first aquatic reserve he has designated since taking office in January 2009.

Goldmark leads the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which will manage this new reserve and its resources. DNR is considering several additional proposed reserves elsewhere in Puget Sound.

“All of Puget Sound is a special place, but the network of aquatic reserves give us a unique opportunity to conduct research and monitoring while allowing current uses by the public,” said Commissioner Goldmark. “As with all of our aquatic reserves, the Smith & Minor Islands site was proposed by the public, and in this case I would like to give special thanks to the work of People for Puget Sound for their assistance in the designation process.”

Located off Whidbey Island, the Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve is recognized for its unique and diverse plants, animals and habitat. DNR worked with citizens, local governments and industry to create the management plan. The plan identifies the reserve’s natural resources, habitats, and species; what threats they face; and how DNR will select and manage proposed uses of the reserve and its resources.

DNR is committed to the clean-up and restoration of Puget Sound as described in Commissioner Goldmarks’ Strategic Plan. Once an aquatic reserve is designated, future DNR authorized uses at the site must be consistent with the goals and objectives for resource protection identified in the management plan. The reserve area applies to only state-owned aquatic lands and not private holdings.

Link to a map of Smith & Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/ResearchScience/Topics/AquaticHabitats/Pages/aqr_ac_smith_minor_island_rsrve_proposal.aspx#map  

Link to a management plan for Smith & Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/ResearchScience/Topics/AquaticHabitats/Pages/aqr_ac_smith_minor_island_rsrve_proposal.aspx  

DNR Aquatic Reserves Program
The DNR Aquatic Reserves Program was established to promote the preservation, restoration, and enhancement of state-owned aquatic lands. Involvement of the broader scientific, business, and local communities in locating potential reserve sites helps DNR focus on long-term management options for a specific area. By encompassing a network of aquatic reserves, DNR can better research and monitor potential stressors in our aquatic environments, and contribute to the protection and restoration of Puget Sound.

DNR-Steward of state aquatic lands
As steward of more than 2.6 million acres of state-owned 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 habitats. 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.

Media Contact: Abbey Corzine, Communications Specialist, 360-902-1401, abbey.corzine@dnr.wa.gov  

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