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Protection Island designated aquatic reserve

Protection Island designated aquatic reserve

by AMANDA WINTERS

Sequim Gazette

Protection Island is a little more protected after Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark officially designated it an aquatic reserve Nov. 3.

The island already was a federally-protected wildlife reserve, but with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources designation of aquatic reserve, the tidelands and surrounding water is protected from the possibility of leasing activity for 90 years, Goldmark said during a presentation at the Gardiner Community Center.

Leasing activity would include things such as placing a buoy, establishing a marina or building a dock in the tidelands surrounding the island.

"It is a guarantee it will remain open," he said.

The designation doesn't change already existing rules on swimming, fishing or anything else, he said.

The aquatic reserve is 23,000 acres and serves as a nesting site for 75 percent of the birds in the Puget Sound, Goldmark said.

A management plan also was approved at the Nov. 3 event, which outlines research and monitoring activities to collect data and study the relationship between the species and habitats that inhabit the island.

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