OLYMPIA – The outgoing commissioner of public lands has added nearly 4,000 acres to the Dabob Bay Natural Resource Conservation Area.
Peter Goldmark signed on Thursday an executive order to expand the Dabob area by 3,393 acres.
The order conserves mature coastal forests, streams, fish-spawning areas, eelgrass beds, native Olympia oyster beds and nearshore tidelands.
“The site helps protect open marine waters essential to the survival of salmon, marine birds, harbor seals and orcas,” the state Department of Natural Resources said in a news release.
“Dabob Bay is part of Hood Canal and the greater Puget Sound ecosystem, and has been evaluated as possessing outstanding ecological and scenic values, which is a requirement for NRCA designation.”
Goldmark, who has served as commissioner of public lands since 2009, opted not to seek another term in the Nov. 8 general election. Fellow Democrat Hilary Franz won the post and will take office in January.
Goldmark also signed an order to expand the West Tiger Mountain Natural Resource Conservation Area in the central Cascades by 97 acres.
The two orders add about 3,500 acres to the state’s 118,700 acres of natural resource conservation areas.
Years of research
“These decisions are the culmination of years of research and consultation,” said Goldmark, who directs DNR.
“With the strong support of local communities, conservation groups, tribes, the U.S. Navy and other partners, we can now preserve these unique natural areas for present and future generations of Washingtonians.”
Earlier in the month, Goldmark also authorized the expansion from 80 to 495 acres of the Devils Lake conservation area, which protects additional forest shoreline habitat near Quilcene Bay on Hood Canal.
Expansions are done through trust land transfers, which help fund public schools and improve returns to trust beneficiaries, according to the DNR.
DNR uses the land value of the transferred property to acquire new land that can be managed for greater returns, agency officials said.