Category Archive: State Lands

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Navy Training Exercises in Olympic Forest 260 Days a Year, 16 Hours per Day Given the “Go Ahead” over Local Protests

U.S. Forest Service Proposes to Issue a Permit to Navy for Military War Games in Olympic National Forest – Finds There Will Be “No Significant Impact” on Wildlife

The U.S. Forest Service will issue a permit to the U.S. Navy to allow electronic training exercises in the Olympic National Forest, according to their draft decision notice. We have until mid-January to raise objections turn these planes away from our forests and marine waters. OFCO and the West Coast Action Alliance are analyzing data from OFCO’s Freedom of Information Act request on the impact decision report issued by the U.S. Forest Service. The report found that there would be NO significant impact on wildlife and communities from the Growler jets strafing through our area, destroying wildlife and quiet. National security must also include protecting our natural resources—our national parks! We need your support for the campaign! Information from the U.S. Forest Service can be found here. Become informed and reach out to your elected officials to express your objections.

Help with learning about the problems and formulating your comments and objections can be found through the West Coast Action Alliance portal.

Learn about Emmy-award-winning sound ecologist Gordon Hempton’s campaign to make the Olympic National Park a quiet sanctuary. Watch the video on his page about the natural soundscape we hope to protect.

Become a Quieteer! Follow the National Parks Conservation Association’s campaign and legal challenge. Watch the brief video on their page, to hear what’s at stake.

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Important Dabob Bay Natural Area Expansion Meeting and Hearing – HEARING RESCHEDULED to OCT. 25, SAME TIME & LOCATION AS BELOW

by Peter Bahls, Executive Director
Northwest Watershed Institute

Friends of Tarboo–Dabob Bay,

Great news! Peter Goldmark, outgoing Commissioner of Public Lands, is interested in protecting more high-priority conservation lands around Dabob Bay as part of his legacy! The Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) is now considering expanding the proposed boundaries of the Dabob Bay and Devils Lake Natural Areas (as shown on the map below). This will not happen without a strong show of support from the community. Please mark your calendars for two important meetings in the Quilcene High School multi-purpose room to learn more about the proposal and voice your support. DNR has started the public outreach process but please spread the word!

Public informational meeting on Wednesday, September 28, 6 p.m. to approximately 8 p.m.

Public hearing on proposed site boundaries on Thursday, October 13, 6 p.m. to approximately 8 p.m.

Preliminary info on the conservation proposal:
The proposal would expand the existing Devils Lake Natural Resource Conservation Area (NRCA) by 415 acres and the Dabob Bay Natural Area by 4,345 acres (of new NRCA). The expanded boundary is not regulatory in any way, but simply allows DNR to apply for grants and purchase lands from willing landowners within the boundary. Within the boundary, DNR can also transfer state timber lands from timber management to permanent natural area protection. Included within the proposed boundary are high priority conservation lands such as:

•  One mile of pristine, forested, steep shoreline along the west side of Quilcene Bay, below Devils Lake

•  Steep, forested slopes along the east side of Dabob Bay, south of the existing Natural Area boundary

•  Thorndyke Bay, one of the least-developed salt marsh estuaries remaining in Hood Canal and Straits region

•  Older forests, including a globally imperiled forest plant community, once common in Puget Sound, but now known to occur in good condition in only eight locations, including the Devils Lake and Dabob proposed additions

•  A broad wildlife corridor of conservation land connecting Dabob Bay and Thorndyke Bay

Lands purchased and protected as NRCAs allow for low-impact public use that is compatible with habitat and ecosystem conservation.

DNR has time-tested processes in place, called Intergrant Exchange and Trust Land Transfer, that allow them to transfer state lands within the boundary from timber management to natural area protection without loss of Forest Board lands or the tax revenue they provide to the county.


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Good Guys Win

by John Fabianhood-canal-640

The official end of the state conservation easement appeal process ended on 9/2 when the State Court of Appeals declared the case closed after HOOD Canal Sand and Gravel did not file an appeal to the State Supreme Court. Here is the DNR press release that was issued:


Agreement to protect Hood Canal affirmed: Court rulings in favor of easement stand after gravel firm drops appeal
News Date: SEPTEMBER 7, 2016

More than 4,800 acres of pristine Hood Canal tidelands and bedlands will be protected for the future after a Jefferson County gravel firm dropped its appeal of a conservation easement granted the U.S. Navy by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Hood Canal Sand & Gravel appealed a May 2015 ruling in Jefferson County Superior Court that DNR “had the authority to grant the easement to the United States Navy” and the easement “was not arbitrary, capricious or unlawful.”

That decision was affirmed by a three-member panel of the Washington State Court of Appeals in July. Hood Canal Sand & Gravel did not appeal that decision to the Washington State Supreme Court by the Aug. 26 deadline, according to court documents filed last week.

“The people of Washington benefit from this agreement, both environmentally and economically,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “The courts’ affirmations ensure our agreement will provide a legacy of protection for a vital marine ecosystem and of certainty for the Navy’s national security operations.”

A federal lawsuit challenging the easement was dismissed in September of last year.

In July 2014, the Navy paid DNR $720,000 for a 50-year restrictive easement on 4,804 tidelands and bedlands in Hood Canal.

As steward of more than 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands, DNR ensures that the people of Washington benefit from the use of aquatic lands while also ensuring environmental protection of the state’s aquatic resources.

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Olympic Experimental State Forest Final EIS Finally Issued

On August 4, the Department of Natural Resources issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement on the Olympic Experimental State Forest (OESF) HCP (Habitat Conservation Plan) Planning Unit forest land plan; the memorandum is below. For more information, please click here.


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Your Help Needed to Protect Murrelets

Please Attend These Meetings and/or Submit Comments

Special Board of Natural Resources Meeting on Marbled Murrelets in Olympia
Thursday, Oct. 15, 9-3:30
John A. Cherberg Building, Senate Hearing Room 1

MM in nest

    Marbled Murrelet on nest

This meeting will focus exclusively on the Marbled Murrelet Long-term Conservation Strategy. Kyle Blum (Dept. of Natural Resources) and Bridget Moran (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) will present to the Board the final strategy alternatives under consideration. Murrelet researcher Dr. Zach Peery, University of Wisconsin-Madison, will also make a special presentation.

These presentations will be posted as PowerPoints on the BNR website prior to the meeting. Murrelet supporters are needed to attend this meeting to let the Board members know that a science-based Long-term Conservation Strategy that prioritizes murrelet survival and recovery should be the preferred alternative.

Please take the opportunity to review these online presentations to focus your comments. The public comment period occurs before the meeting presentations, which means the public will not have the benefit of hearing the accompanying narrative that explains the material.

There is a 90-minute period for public comment, from 9-10:30 a.m. If you would like to speak, please arrive at least 15 minutes early to sign in.

You can also submit your comments via email to or letter to Board of Natural Resources, MS 47000, Olympia, WA 98504-7000.

NOTE: At this meeting BNR members will decide to accept or reject the current conservation alternatives presented by the Dept. of Natural Resources. They will not be choosing the preferred alternative at this time. That decision, and the schedule for public input on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), is expected in November.


Using Common Ground Solutions to Preserve Washington’s Heritage
Thursday, October 15, 6:30 p.m. Olympia
The Evergreen State College, Seminar II Bldg., Room C1107

Join the conversation at a new, solution-oriented panel event focused on the use and benefits of two state programs that have been supporting Washington schools, rural communities, and endangered species. The Trust Land Transfer and State Forest Replacement Programs are win-win-win programs for Marbled Murrelets, Washington’s forests, and our timber-dependent counties.

This event is co-sponsored by the Murrelet Survival Project and The Evergreen State College. Panelists include:

Brian Blake, State Representative, WA-19, including all of Wahkiakum and Pacific Counties, and parts of Cowlitz, Grays Harbor and Lewis Counties. Brian was a logger for 10 years before he became an environmental specialist for the Dept. of Corrections. He is a current member of the Coastal Harvest board, a food-bank distribution center, and is on the board of the Lower Columbia Community Action Program.

Kara Whittaker, Senior Scientist, Washington Forest Law Center
Senior Scientist & Policy Analyst Kara Whittaker joined WFLC in January 2008. In 2007, she earned her PhD in Urban Ecology at the University of Washington, College of Forest Resources.

Dan Cothren, Wahkiakum County Commissioner
Dan worked in the timber industry as a timber faller for 38 years, and has served as county commissioner since 2000. He has also served as the timber county chair for the past 14 years.

Jed Herman, Dept. of Natural Resources
Jed currently is the Division Manager for DNR’s Conservation, Recreation and Transaction programs. He has been a natural resource professional for 22 years, 4 of which in wildlife biology, 6 as a forester, and the remainder as a manager and policy advisor.

Seating is limited. Please RSVP.