I’d written a letter to the Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands and to the Department of Natural Resources in which I’d objected to a commercial aquaculture facility being built in the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
I received an email letter of reply on 20 August (pasted below) stating that approval has been given to the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to build the facility. MRM
DNR response to concerns about the Dungeness oyster lease with Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
I appreciate you taking the time to express your concerns regarding the proposal to lease state-owned tidelands in Dungeness Bay to the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe for commercial aquaculture. As the Department of Natural Resources Deputy Supervisor for Aquatic Resources, Commissioner Franz has asked that I respond to your concerns on her behalf.
DNR is committed to fulfilling the statutory responsibilities of RCW 79.105.030 by providing a balance of public benefits on all 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic land. Some of these benefits include ensuring environmental protection and utilizing renewable resources. The statute also says that generating revenue in a manner consistent with these benefits is a public benefit itself. The legislature appropriates revenue from leases of state-owned aquatic lands to accounts that explicitly support public benefits including environmental protection and restoration, public recreation, and shoreline access. Balancing public benefits is at the forefront of each decision that DNR makes during the lease application process.
In addition to the applicable habitat stewardship measures required in all DNR aquaculture leases, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe has agreed to additional unprecedented environmental protection measures aimed at protecting a number of species of concern within the refuge. These measures were created through collaboration and input from scientists, regulatory agencies, and the environmental community including the Audubon Society. Together, all of these measures will set a very high standard for aquaculture operations in this place of remarkable beauty and ecological importance.
As you may already know, DNR has authorized commercial aquaculture at this site since at least 1963.
The area of the leasehold also has covered status under a multiparty 2007 Settlement Agreement. This lease is one of a finite set of aquatic lands leases that are considered “covered leases” for aquaculture governed under that 2007 Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement obligates DNR to take specific steps to reauthorize covered leases upon expiration.
Following a careful review of all permits and monitoring plans associated with this proposal, DNR completed its own internal review process and offered a lease to the Tribe. Both parties executed that lease this week.
For questions related to the lease, please contact District Manager Sean Carlson at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also review a copy of the lease after it has been recorded at the Clallam County Auditor’s Office. This recording will be completed in the next 30 days.