The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

DNR seeks comment on aquatic lands plan


September 18, 2014

Washington’s Department of Natural Resources invites the public to review the new draft Aquatic Lands Habitat Conservation Plan.

In a press release, the agency said that over the next 50 years, the HCP is designed to guide DNR in better ways to protect at-risk native aquatic species on 2.6 million acres of state-owned lands under marine and fresh waters of the state. DNR manages these lands as a public trust.

“This document formalizes the agency’s efforts to conserve and enhance these lands,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “It provides a stable framework grounded in science and based on the principles of sustainability.”

The draft HCP is a culmination of nearly eight years of effort by DNR aquatics staff, working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. It will protect 29 sensitive, threatened and endangered aquatic species—several listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. It will help identify and restore important habitat on state-owned aquatic lands.

The plan allows DNR to address protection of species and their habitats through management decisions, including authorizing public and private uses of state-owned aquatic lands. These lands include the marine bedlands under Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca and the coast, including 30 percent of their related tidelands; the freshwater bedlands and about 70 percent of the shorelands of the navigable lakes and rivers—or basically, all the lands under the navigable water bodies in the State of Washington.

The public is invited to comment on the draft EIS until December 4

The proposed HCP has been analyzed for its potential environmental effects in a draft Environmental Impact Statement, now available for public review on line. Written comments will be welcomed until December 4, 2014, to be addressed to: Tim Romanski, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 510 Desmond Drive SE, Suite 102, Lacey, WA, 98503; or Scott Anderson, NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region, 510 Desmond Drive SE, Suite 103, Lacey, WA, 98503. Comments may also be submitted by email, to

Documents are available on line at: DVDs also are available from DNR Aquatic HCP program. Call 360-902-1100.

The agency will hold meetings across the state to explain the program. The schedule is:

--Mt. Vernon, October 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Skagit Valley College, Angst Hall, Room A-125, 2405 East College Way, Mt Vernon, WA 98273-5821.

--Longview, October 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Cowlitz County PUD, 961 12th Avenue, Longview, WA 98632

--Tacoma, October 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Pierce County Library, 3005 112th Street E, Tacoma, WA 98446-2215

--Tri-Cities, October 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m., City of Pasco Senior Center, 1315 N 7th Avenue, Pasco, WA 99301


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