Photo shows the north of the Dabob Bay Natural Area. (Northwest Watershed Institute)

Photo shows the north of the Dabob Bay Natural Area. (Northwest Watershed Institute)

Dabob Bay gains protection after Legislature funds land transfer

QUILCENE — The state Legislature has funded a $6.3 million land transfer that will put some 900 acres of land near Quilcene under conservation protection.

The state-owned timber lands within the Dabob Bay Natural Area in east Jefferson County will be permanently preserved after the state Legislature funded the land transfer during its recently completed 2019 session following a request from the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Northwest Watershed Institute (NWI) of Port Town- send announced.

The transfer will protect priority conservation areas while allowing DNR to continue to generate revenue from other lands for county services and K-12 school construction across the state, according to a press release from NWI.

“This is great news for Dabob Bay and Jefferson County, and it is happening thanks to the sustained efforts of our elected officials at the county and state level, and a broad coalition of organizations, landowners, and shellfish businesses,” said Peter Bahls, director of NWI, which has focused on protecting the bay since 2002.

“We are grateful for the support of the Jefferson County Commissioners, the county’s fire chiefs, and our legislators – Reps. Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger, and Sen. Kevin Van De Wege.”

The three Democrats represent District 24, which covers Jefferson and Clallam counties and part of Grays Harbor County.

Bahls said that hundreds of Jefferson County residents contacted legislators and 25 local and statewide conservation organizations signed a joint letter of support for the project to the Legislature during the recent session.

DNR had requested $27.15 million in funding for 10 trust land transfer projects across the state. Of these, only two projects were funded – Dabob Bay and Middle Fork Snoqualmie ($100,000).

In 2016, following a hearing in Quilcene, DNR expanded the Dabob Bay Natural Area’s potential boundaries from approximately 6,000 to 10,000 acres to include priority conservation areas, including steep shoreline slopes along Dabob Bay, lower Thorndyke Creek and its wetlands, a globally rare forest type, and a wildlife corridor connecting the Dabob and Thorndyke areas, NWI said.

Joan Lemonds, who has lived on Dabob Bay for 42 years, told NWI that he is relieved the 80 acres of state lands along Lemonds Creek will be preserved as part of the transfer.

“The last time some private land on these steep slopes was logged it flooded my house and buried the property in mud,” the institute quoted Lemonds as saying.

“The neighbors and I are thrilled to see this beautiful old forest along the creek protected.”

The newly approved trust land transfer funding means that DNR will be able to protect state lands within the Natural Area boundary and compensate the trusts for the lands that had previously been managed for potential timber harvest, NWI said.

DNR is also seeking to purchase private lands within the boundary from willing landowners.

“Trust land transfer is a critical tool for DNR, allowing us to permanently protect land while still supporting schools and critical services across Washington,” said Brock Milliern, DNR division manager for Conservation, Recreation, and Transactions.

“This transfer preserves the unique characteristics of the land around Dabob Bay, protecting that habitat for future generations.”

“The Dabob Bay protection is good news for water quality and the long-term viability of our shellfish operations,” said Bill Taylor, vice-president of Taylor Shellfish Company, which operates one of the largest shellfish hatcheries in the world on Dabob Bay.

Shorelines of Dabob Bay within the state’s Dabob Bay Natural Area. (Northwest Watershed Institute)

Shorelines of Dabob Bay within the state’s Dabob Bay Natural Area. (Northwest Watershed Institute)

Lemonds Forest, a rare example of a globally imperiled type of old forest, will be preserved as part of the Dabob Bay Natural Area. (Keith Lazelle Nature Photography)

Lemonds Forest, a rare example of a globally imperiled type of old forest, will be preserved as part of the Dabob Bay Natural Area. (Keith Lazelle Nature Photography)

More in News

Carole Scholl of Port Angeles shows her support for women’s rights during a rally Saturday following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. For more on the rallies in Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend, see Monday’s print and online editions. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Supporting women’s rights

Carole Scholl of Port Angeles shows her support for women’s rights during… Continue reading

Pat Woolman
Project Lifesaver client found after search

Project Lifesaver equipment helped deputies find a man who… Continue reading

Large response seen to Center Road fire

No one was hurt during a fire that burned down… Continue reading

Burn planned on Protection Island

A prescribed burn is planned on Protection Island National Wildlife… Continue reading

Myron Teterud, a longtime Sequim schools and community supporter, gives the crowd a salute after being honored as “Fan of the Century” at Sequim High School’s centennial celebration in January 2011. Sequim School Board directors agreed to name the SHS athletic field in honor of Teterud, along with naming the stadium stáʔčəŋ, a S’Klallam word meaning “wolf." (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group file)
Names OK’d for Sequim stadium, field

Tribe, Teterud honored at athletic facility

Ammonia leak reported at paper mill

An ammonia leak from a tank at McKinley Paper… Continue reading

Matthew Nash/ Olympic Peninsula News Grup

The Sequim Police Department continues to investigate an early morning burglary on Friday at Coastal Farm Ranch.
Sequim business burglarized, police investigating

Coastal Farm & Ranch was burglarized early Friday morning. How… Continue reading

Abortion ruling leaves access unaffected in state

Peninsula healthcare providers respond

OMC vows full ER staff on July 1

PESI to dissolve as new group takes over

Most Read