Washington State Aquatic Reserves
GET INVOLVED! WE WANT YOU TO JOIN A COMMITTEE to help support the management of your local Aquatic Reserve!
WHAT ARE AQUATIC RESERVES?
An aquatic reserve is a designation given certain state-owned marine lands to ensure greater protection and recovery of important native aquatic plants and animals. Aquatic reserves are administered by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and a reserve designation means that state marine bed- and tidelands are managed for conservation, education or research purposes. Aquatic reserves do not include privately owned tidelands, bluffs or beaches and do not impact private property or restrict access to fishing, crabbing or boating.
BENEFITS OF AQUATIC RESERVES
Recreational fishing and shoreline property owners alike can benefit through the habitat conservation benefits of the reserve designation. The management plan is an opportunity to identify common goals and future management actions for clean water and healthy fish and wildlife habitats.
Designation allows the public to have direct input in how WDNR manages state-owned aquatic lands in the future. Other benefits can include higher priority for oil spill recovery programs, support of US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and state parks in their stewardship of public lands, maintaining or enhancing public use and access while protecting habitats and species, and financial resources to support research, restoration, and conservation.
HISTORY AND MANAGEMENT OF RESERVES
The state of Washington's Aquatic Reserve Program was established in 2002 as a means to preserve, restore, and improve both marine and freshwater state lands. The program brings together local and state governments, non-governmental organizations, citizens, and Tribes that share an interest in preserving or restoring an aquatic environment. In each case, DNR has formed a planning advisory committee made up of varied interests to advise the agency as it develops management plans to protect habitats and species within the reserve boundaries, support scientific research and educate the public about resources within the reserves. Read more about DNR’s Aquatic Reserves Program here.
PEOPLE FOR PUGET SOUND'S INVOLVEMENT IN CREATION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE RESERVES:
People For Puget Sound nominated the aquatic lands surrounding Protection Island and Smith/Minor Islands as aquatic reserves, coordinated with DNR and community stakeholders to develop management plans, and celebrated those designations by the Commissioner of Public Lands in 2011.
With help from People For Puget Sound, local conservation organizations held off development of a gravel mine and shipping terminal in the Maury Island Aquatic Reserve, resulting in King County purchasing the mine property for a new County Park.
GET INVOLVED! WE WANT YOU TO JOIN A COMMITTEE to help support the management of your local reserve!
The reserves we are creating citizen stewardship committees for are: