According to Washington DNR head Hilary Franz, there are derelict structures like unused piers, unused pilings and decrepit marinas littering Washington’s waterways.  Legislation approved Monday by the state House would give DNR power to remove these structures.


“Washington’s waterfronts are littered with derelict structures that impede our efforts at salmon recovery while jeopardizing the health and safety of our communities.  For healthy salmon and healthy communities, it’s critical that we get rid of them,” said Commissioner Franz. “We do tremendous work removing polluting creosote pilings, restoring nearshore environments, and keeping derelict vessels from damaging our vital habitat.  This bill allows to take one step further in taking deleterious and forgotten maritime structures from our waterways by letting us do more of the work we already do so well.”


House Bill 1378, requested by Franz, was sponsored by Federal Way Democrat Kristine Reeves, and cleared the House on a 95-0 vote.  The legislation creates a formal program that will remove large derelict structures from state-owned aquatic lands.  It also allows local governments and non-profits to use DNR’s expertise to get broken-down and hazardous structures out of Washington’s waterways.


In addition to this bill granting DNR the authority to address derelict structures, the agency has funding requests to remove four large industrial sites, to fund staff to form a derelict aquatic structure program and more for removing tire reefs, accelerating habitat restoration, and removing nearshore debris.


The National Marine Fisheries Service last summer issued a biological opinion that emphasized the fundamental importance of nearshore habitat to salmon populations, and emphasized how much of that habitat has been lost from human-caused modifications to our shorelines. 


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