FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 6, 2009
State DNR to gather public input on proposed Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resources Conservation Area
Written comments welcomed, North Bend meeting Monday, November 23
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold a public meeting and hearing in North Bend about a proposal to designate 10,270 acres as the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) in King County. The gathering will be held on November 23 at the North Bend Railroad Depot in North Bend.
Public meeting and hearing
WHEN: 6 p.m., Monday, November 23
WHERE: North Bend Railroad Depot
501 McClellan Street, North Bend
“Middle Fork Snoqualmie NRCA would be important addition to protect diverse native habitat and wildlife corridors while offering opportunities for education and light public use close to our major population centers,” said Peter Goldmark, Commissioner of Public Lands. “We encourage the public to take a look and offer us their feedback on the proposal.”
After a brief public meeting to show and explain the proposal, the public hearing will be held to receive comments from the public about the proposed designation of the proposed Middle Fork Snoqualmie NRCA. In addition, written comments are welcomed until November 30. Please send to: Washington Department of Natural Resources, South Puget Sound Region, Attn: Kelly Heintz, 950 Farman Ave North, Enumclaw, WA 98022-9282. Or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information, call Kelly Heintz at 425-466-6145.
A summary of public comments sent to DNR and testimony from the public hearing will be presented to Peter Goldmark, Commissioner of Public Lands. If the Commissioner signs an order, the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resource Conservation Area will be officially designated.
Proposed Middle Fork Natural Resources Conservation Area
In cooperation with interested citizens and other partners, DNR identified the area in the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River Valley as ecologically significant, featuring patches of natural-origin forests, important fish and wildlife habitat, open space, and scenic views. The proposed Middle Fork Snoqualmie NRCA contains mostly state trust lands and a few private parcels. Last year the Legislature approved funding to transfer the state trust lands in the Middle Fork Valley out of trust status and into conservation status. DNR will conduct a public hearing for the trust land transfer in 2010. DNR can only purchase private land from willing sellers at fair market value if funds are available. There is no regulatory authority or right of condemnation associated with acquiring lands for the Middle Fork Snoqualmie NRCA.
NRCAs in Washington State are lands designated to maintain, enhance or restore ecological systems and habitat for threatened, endangered and sensitive plants and animals, while providing opportunities for education and low-impact public use.
DNR primarily relies on external funding sources for land acquisition in natural areas. Designating the Middle Fork Snoqualmie NRCA allows DNR to pursue grant funding to purchase land, and DNR will apply to the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program for funds. These grants are administered by the state Recreation and Conservation Office and are made available on a two-year cycle.
Management of the state lands within the NRCA is guided by the Statewide Management Plan for the Washington State Natural Resources Conservation Areas. In the future, DNR staff will work with citizens, tribes, local agencies, and other stakeholders to develop a management plan specifically for the Middle Fork Snoqualmie NRCA.
Caring for your natural resources . . . now and forever
Led by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR manages about 5.6 million acres of state-owned forest, aquatic, agricultural and urban lands for long-term benefits to current and future trust beneficiaries and other residents of the state.
These lands include 131,000 acres of natural areas that protect rare and threatened species, as well as high-quality examples of the native ecosystems and landscapes of Washington. Natural Areas provide opportunities for education research and low impact public use, where appropriate.
Media Contact: Jane Chavey, Senior Communications Manager, 360-902-1721, email@example.com
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