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Agreement to protect Hood Canal affirmed

More than 4,800 acres of pristine Hood Canal tidelands and bedlands will be protected for the future after a Jefferson County gravel firm dropped its appeal of a conservation easement granted the U.S. Navy by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Hood Canal Sand & Gravel appealed a May 2015 ruling in Jefferson County Superior Court that DNR “had the authority to grant the easement to the United States Navy” and the easement “was not arbitrary, capricious or unlawful.”

That decision was affirmed by a three-member panel of the Washington State Court of Appeals in July. Hood Canal Sand & Gravel did not appeal that decision to the Washington State Supreme Court by the Aug. 26 deadline, according to court documents filed last week.

“The people of Washington benefit from this agreement, both environmentally and economically,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “The courts’ affirmations ensure our agreement will provide a legacy of protection for a vital marine ecosystem and of certainty for the Navy’s national security operations.”

A federal lawsuit challenging the easement was dismissed in September of last year.

In July 2014, the Navy paid DNR $720,000 for a 50-year restrictive easement on 4,804 tidelands and bedlands in Hood Canal.