Committee Selected to Help Develop Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve
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Committee Selected to Help Develop Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve 
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                                                                                         
December 30, 2009
 
Committee Selected to Help Develop Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve
Diverse aquatic issues to be addressed in management plan

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has assembled the Planning Advisory Committee to help develop a plan for the proposed Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve. In order to find candidates that would offer local knowledge and represent a wide range of local interests, DNR asked for the assistance of the local Marine Resources Committee to help select 15 committee members.

“As with all of our aquatic reserves, we must approach the Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve Management Plan with a statewide view of protecting Puget Sound, and represent locally important interests at the same time,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “Thanks to the local representatives who have committed their time to establishing a sustainable management plan for this aquatic reserve.”

Smith and Minor Islands Planning Advisory Committee
The planning process for the aquatic reserve was launched with the first meeting of the committee on December 15, 2009. The Planning Advisory Committee serves in a consultative capacity to DNR for developing the draft Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve Management Plan. Included in the plan will be guidance about those uses and activities to be allowed in the reserve and those that will be limited or excluded. Throughout the planning process, the public is encouraged to be engaged with DNR regarding issues of interest in the proposed reserve. 

Five committee meetings will be scheduled, from which are expected to culminate in a mid-summer Draft Smith and Minor Islands Aquatic Reserve Management Plan ready for public and environmental review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process. Committee members include:

  • Aaron Terada: State Parks  
  • Alan Chapman: Lummi Nation
  • Betty Bookheim: State Department of Natural Resources  
  • Jennifer Meyer: NAS Whidbey Island
  • Dave Peeler: People For Puget Sound  
  • Matt Kukuk: Island County Public Health
  • Dick Toft: Island County Marine Resources Committee  
  • Ken Urstad: Puget Sound Anglers
  • Kevin Ryan: US Fish and Wildlife Service   
  • Kit Rawson: Tulalip Tribes
  • Kyle Murphy: State Department of Natural Resources   
  • Morgan Schneidler: Puget Sound Partnership
  • Michael Grilliot: State Department of Natural Resources  
  • Steve Ellis: Whidbey Audubon Society
  • Sara Woehrman: WSU Island County Beach Watchers

Other tribes with an interest in the area also are participating in the planning process, including on a government-to-government basis.

Protecting long-term health of Puget Sound and aquatic lands statewide
DNR is establishing aquatic reserves statewide to help protect the health of aquatic ecosystems, and provide areas to focus study of these systems that support diverse native fish and wildlife. In Puget Sound, reserves are an essential part of the efforts to cleanup and permanently protect the health of this watershed into the future; and currently there are four state aquatic reserves in the Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca: Cypress Island, Fidalgo Bay, Maury Island, and Cherry Point.
 
DNR steward of state aquatic lands
As steward of the 2.6 million acres of state 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 habitat. State-owned aquatic lands include:

  • About 88,000 acres of state-owned tidelands, or 137 square miles
  • 10,000 acres of harbor areas
  • Nearly 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: Jane Chavey, Sr. Communications Manager, 360-902-1721, jane.chavey@dnr.wa.gov

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