A 159-acre patch of forested slopes along Tarboo Bay recently acquired by the state Department of Natural Resources as an addition to the Dabob Bay Natural Area. (Lowell Jons)

A 159-acre patch of forested slopes along Tarboo Bay recently acquired by the state Department of Natural Resources as an addition to the Dabob Bay Natural Area. (Lowell Jons)

DNR buys forested slopes above Tarboo Bay for long-term conservation

QUILCENE — The Dabob Bay Natural Area has been expanded by 159 acres.

Pope Resources sold 159 acres to the state Department of Natural Resources for $899,000 on Dec. 29. The area is now part of a state-managed conservation area above Tarboo Bay.

“This parcel is an important addition to the natural area and will help provide long-term protection to Dabob Bay’s water quality, shellfish beds and wildlife habitat,” said Peter Bahls, a biologist and director of the Northwest Watershed Institute, a conservation group that helped with the acquisition.

As part of the negotiations for purchase, Pope Resources agreed to hold off on a proposed timber sale that was of concern to neighbors and a shellfish farm located downstream, Bahls said.

“We really appreciate Pope Resources’ cooperation in this conservation effort,” said Dave Steele, manager of Rock Point Oyster Company.

“Although we do not have a problem with timber harvest in general, over the years, we have experienced a number of flooding and siltation events that have damaged shellfish production.”

Rock Point Oyster Co. Inc., incorporated in 1921, is a multigenerational family shellfish business that farms 200 acres of private tidelands in Tarboo Bay. It operates in the bay year-round and harvests about 2 million pounds of clams and oysters a year.

Pope Resources is the largest private landowner in East Jefferson County, managing nearly 47,000 acres in Jefferson County and over 200,000 acres in Washington, Oregon and California, according to Mike Mackelwich, director of timberland operations.

“Pope Resources is pleased to work with the local community, Northwest Watershed Institute and the Department of Natural Resources to facilitate conservation sales that provide private landowners fair compensation for properties that are better suited for other resource protection goals,” Mackelwich said.

“Pope Resources remains committed to growing its ownership in Jefferson County and is actively looking to acquire additional timber lands well suited for long-term timber production.”

In 2009, the proposed boundary of the natural area was expanded to nearly 6,200 acres by DNR to better protect the long-term health of Dabob Bay.

Last December, Peter Goldmark, then-commissioner of public lands, approved a further expansion of the boundary to include more slopes along Dabob Bay, some upland forest on the Coyle Peninsula and the shorelines of Thorndyke Bay.

Since 2009, DNR, the Northwest Watershed Institute, the Jefferson Land Trust, the Navy, The Nature Conservancy and other conservation partners have been working with willing landowners to acquire land within the Dabob Bay Natural Area boundaries, Bahls said.

Approximately 3,000 acres have been conserved to date, he said.

Funding for the most recent acquisition was provided by a DNR grant award for Dabob Bay from the state Wildlife and Recreation Program.

In addition, the Navy contributed half of the purchase price through its encroachment protection agreement with DNR, which allows the Navy to partner on real estate transactions that protect lands from development around the Navy’s Dabob Bay training area.

After purchase, DNR and the Navy recorded deed restrictions on the property that prevent development and permanently protect it as part of the Dabob Bay Natural Area.

“Tarboo-Dabob Bay is one of the largest and least impacted salt marsh estuaries remaining in Puget Sound, and supports shellfish, fish and wildlife resources of statewide importance,” Bahls said.

More in News

Andre the harbor seal was released back into the wild Wednesday afternoon on the beach at Fort Flagler State Park after being rehabilitated by the Sealife Response, Rehabilitation & Research (SR3) team. Patrick Hutchins, community engagement coordinator for SR3, and Holly Weinstein, marine stewardship educator and AmeriCorps member for the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, helped guide Andre into the water. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)
Rehabilitated harbor seal returned to the sea

Injured, emaciated pup healed before Fort Flagler release

Duane Miles
Search for missing hiker continues

Beaver man intended a day hike last week

Crews keep surrounding containers and the hull of the MV Zim Kingston cool while fires continue to smoulder aboard the ship. (Canadian Coast Guard/Twitter)
More than 100 containers fell from ship near entrance to Strait of Juan de Fuca

Now, 109 thought to be lost at sea; 40 was original report

Man hangs himself outside hospital

Man found hanging from tree behind Jefferson Healthcare

Rachel Hill, the e-commerce lead for the Port Townsend Safeway, cuts the ribbon during the store's "Grand Reopening" on Wednesday while surrounded by current and retired employees of the store. Hill has worked for the Port Townsend grocery store for 32 years. 
The reopening is celebrating the completion of a four-month remodel for the store that began after the Fourth of July. The remodel brought in new refrigeration units, display windows for the departments like the deli and meat/seafood, new paint and a new "Ready? Go" section of pre-cooked meals. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Townsend Safeway celebrates remodel

Rachel Hill, the e-commerce lead for the Port Townsend Safeway, cuts the… Continue reading

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 growing on Peninsula

A growing number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 on the North Olympic Peninsula… Continue reading

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Clallam County Fire District 2 firefighters work to extinguish a blaze in a single-wide house trailer at 2413 E. Pioneer Road in the Gales Addition east of Port Angeles on Tuesday.
No one injured in Gales Addition fire

A man and his dog safely evacuated from a… Continue reading

Officials brace for sixth wave of COVID-19

Effects could be mitigated with proper precautions

Most Read