OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that it is initiating a small pilot program to allow geoduck aquaculture on a limited number of state-owned aquatic lands.
DNR anticipates entering into lease agreements with existing applicants once all environmental review and permitting processes are complete. This effort is a follow-up to commitments made by the agency in 2007. Numerous steps remain before active aquaculture would begin on public lands including potential site assessment; State Environmental Policy Act review; issuance of local government conditional use permits; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Title 401 permitting; and Washington Department of Health Certification.
In 2007, the Legislature established a geoduck aquaculture research program under Washington Sea Grant and established a regulatory advisory committee with participation from government, Treaty Tribes, and citizen representatives to help guide related research. DNR plans to require monitoring at geoduck cultivation sites on state-owned aquatic land to provide further opportunity to study the effects of geoduck aquaculture on the aquatic environment.
DNR—Steward of state aquatic lands As steward of the 2.6 million acres of state aquatic lands, DNR manages the bedlands under Puget Sound and the coast, many of Washington’s beaches, and natural lakes and navigable rivers. DNR manages these lands to facilitate navigation, commerce, and public access and to ensure protection of aquatic habitat.