FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2009
Public meeting about proposed Protection Island Aquatic Reserve to be held March 25 in Gardiner
One of many opportunities for public to offer ideas, help define reserve
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and People for Puget Sound—the site proponent for the proposed Protection Island Aquatic Reserve—will hold an open house-style public meeting on Wednesday, March 25 to provide information and gather ideas from the community regarding the proposal.
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Where: Gardiner Community Center, 980 Old Gardiner Road, Sequim, WA 98382
At the meeting, a brief presentation will discuss DNR’s Aquatic Reserve Program and the proposal for the state-owned aquatic lands around Protection Island. Following the presentation, the public will have the opportunity to have their concerns heard, offer ideas about the location of the proposed reserve, provide local information about the wildlife habitats and activities that occur in the area, and share their ideas about DNR management of the proposed reserve.
This open house provides an opportunity for greater public input into the sustainable management of state-owned aquatic lands.
What a reserve would and would not affect
DNR’s Aquatic Reserve Program draws on wide participation to develop comprehensive management plans. These community-driven plans take an ecosystem-based approach to protection, restoration, education, monitoring, and research.
Recreational and commercial fishing is managed by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Washington’s Treaty Tribes and would not be affected by management of the reserve. Aquatic reserve management does not restrict access to fishing, crabbing or boating, nor does it set harvest restrictions.
A reserve would only include DNR-managed state aquatic lands. A reserve does not include private tidelands or tribal lands, bluffs or beaches and does not impact private property. Privately owned tidelands, such as those owned by the Cape George, Beckett Point, Diamond Point, and Sunshine Acres communities, are not proposed to be part of the aquatic reserve. And, while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the uplands of Protection Island and the waters 200 yards from the shore as a National Wildlife Refuge, there is no comprehensive plan for managing the state-owned tidelands and bedlands outside the refuge’s 200-yard boundary.
Proposal talks of puffins, seals, herring and more
In 2008, the non-profit People for Puget Sound submitted a proposal that described why they wanted DNR to consider establishing a reserve on the state-owned tidelands and bedlands in the area around Protection Island.
They pointed out that the shorelines and deep waters surrounding Protection Island support critical life stages of exceptional fish and wildlife. Seventy-two percent of Puget Sound breeding seabirds breed and rear their young here. It has some of the highest habitat diversity in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, and supports herring, shrimp, Dungeness crab, elephant seals, and harbor seals. It’s the last stand in Puget Sound for tufted puffins, and supports one of the largest rhinoceros auklet colonies in the world. Its healthy beaches and marine life are valued by residents, recreational users, tourists, and tribal citizens.
Media Contact: Princess Jackson-Smith, Sr. Communications Manager, 360-902-1066, firstname.lastname@example.org
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