US Navy Proposes to Limit Development on Hood Canal

In an effort to shutdown the possibility of future commercial development on the shores of Hood Canal. The Navy is proposing to enter an agreement with the Washington State  Department of Natural Resources. The Navy is requesting a construction easement on a strip of the seabed from 18 feet below low tide down to 70 feet.  The easement in Kitsap county would extend south from the Hood Canal Bridge to the County line south of Holly. (http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2013/oct/15/navy-proposes-new-easement-on-hood-canal). The proposed restrictive easement over the seabed would protect the Navy ranges from incompatible development that may limit the Navy’s ability to use the approved ranges and continue operations in the future.

The Kitsap County Easement is similar in extent to the proposed easement that the Navy is pursuing with the DNR  for  Jefferson County waters on the west side of Hood Canal  announced in May. (http://www.dnr.wa.gov/BusinessPermits/News/Pages/2013_05_15_dnr_navy_hoodcanal.aspx)

“The Department of Natural Resources is partnering with the Navy to protect military operating areas and ensure the long-term stability of their presence at Naval Base Kitsap and their operations in adjacent waterways,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “This partnership will also provide new protections for sensitive marine ecosystems, safeguard public access, and support the jobs that depend on the Navy’s continued presence in the region.”

“I have no doubt that this partnership will be a win-win for both the Navy and the Washington Department of Natural Resources.  It will enhance environmental conservation along a portion of the Hood Canal and prevent encroachment into Navy operating ranges that are so vital to our mission and our national security,” said Captain Peter M. Dawson, Commanding Officer of Naval Base Kitsap.”

“DNR and the Navy entered into an agreement in 2012 to partner on projects as part of the Navy’s Compatibility, Readiness, and Sustainment Program.  Under this agreement, the Navy has proposed to purchase an easement from DNR that will extend from the Hood Canal Bridge down to an area just south of the Jefferson County and Mason County border in the Eldon area.”

“The easement will not permit new construction by the Navy, nor will it affect public access, privately owned lands, recreational uses, or aquaculture or geoduck harvest. The practical effect of the agreement will be to preclude new, nearshore commercial or industrial construction along the areas of the Hood Canal and neighboring waterways managed by DNR where the Navy operates.”

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