Hood Canal – The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and U.S. Navy entered into an agreement that creates a “restrictive easement” along 32 miles of Hood Canal’s eastern shore.
The easement, which covers 2,481 acres of aquatic bedlands, prohibits new construction such as wharfs, piers, platforms, and structures for industrial use.
The Navy will pay DNR $342,000 for the easement, which is fair market value.
“This partnership strengthens our military preparedness and strengthens our waterways by protecting critical habitat in Hood Canal,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “This is truly an example of mutual benefit for our navy, communities, and public waters.”
Supporting Our Navy
Hood Canal is a “Military Operating Area” for Naval Base Kitsap. Limiting disruption in this area is critical for Navy operations, including research, testing, and training.
“The Navy’s ability to use Hood Canal for military operations depends on reducing incompatible development and noise,” said Alan Schrader, Commanding Officer, Naval Base Kitsap. “Through this agreement, the Navy will be able to continue training and testing at Naval Base Kitsap for decades to come.”
In 2014, DNR and the Navy entered into a similar agreement to create an easement on 4,800 acres of Hood Canal’s western shore (along Jefferson County and portions of Mason County). With both easements now in place, Hood Canal is protected from further development and noise pollution that may have interfered with Navy uses.
Protecting Marine Ecosystems
The easement also benefits Washingtonians by providing new protections for sensitive marine ecosystems. All 2,4810 acres covered by the easement are designated critical habitat, including eelgrass communities and geoduck tracts.
“The Hood Canal Coalition has been involved in protecting Hood Canal for nearly 20 years. We applaud the Navy and the Department of Natural Resources for this latest collaborative effort to ensure the long-term health of this magnificent and biologically vital waterway,” said John Fabian, a retired Air Force Colonel and NASA astronaut who heads the Hood Canal Coalition.
- The easement begins 18 feet from the shore and extends out 70 feet, covering 2,800 acres. It stretches along eastern Hood Canal from The Hood Canal Bridge to south of Chinom
- The easement if for 55-years.
- The Navy is paying DNR $342,000, which is the appraised fair market value.
- The easement does not apply to:
- Existing structures or authorized uses, such as marinas and cable lines.
- Recreational uses, including fishing, boating, and public access.
- The easement does not limit the installation of private recreational docks.
- This is a non-possessory easement. DNR will continue to manage these aquatic lands under its aquatic lands program.
- The Navy uses Hood Canal to test unmanned vehicles, submarine readiness, diver training, and similar activities related to undersea warfare. Explosives are not tested or placed on test units.
Manager of state aquatic lands
As steward of 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 ensure protection of aquatic habitat and facilitate navigation, commerce, and public access.
MEDIA NOTE: Photos, videos and other materials from today’s event are available for media use in this Google Drive.