Wash., Navy sign Hood Canal conservation easement

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Navy and Washington state’s public lands commissioner have signed a conservation easement that’s designed to block future industrial development on Hood Canal.

The Kitsap Sun reports (http://is.gd/xvCb1F ) that the easement covers about 4,800 acres, from the Hood Canal bridge to just south of the Jefferson-Mason County line. The easement covers a strip of land below the low-tide mark, specifically from 18 feet below the average low tide to 70 feet down. The Navy is paying $720,000 for the easement, which precludes commercial projects that extend out into the water.

A similar Hood Canal easement has been proposed to prevent industrial development on Kitsap County’s shoreline.

In a statement, Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark said Monday that the agreement “will buffer important military operating areas in Hood Canal and ensure the long-term stability of the Navy’s presence at Naval Base Kitsap.” Goldmark says the agreement “will also provide new protections for sensitive marine ecosystems and safeguard public access to Hood Canal.”

Capt. Tom Zwolfer is the commanding officer of Naval Base Kitsap. He says the agreement will help protect the Navy’s operating areas for the next 55 years.



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