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.