Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
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City Park Marine Reserves Rule


The “City Park Marine Reserve” protection builds upon years of work done by the Carkeek Watershed Community Action Project, King County Water and Land Resources, the Seattle Aquarium and Seattle Parks and recreation. Work to explore opportunities for further protecting marine habitat began in 1990 to address overharvesting of marine resources in our City parks. In addition to these efforts, the Washington Department of Natural Resources - Aquatics Land Division worked with the City of Seattle to extend our Marine Reserve areas into subtidal areas. We are now able to provide further protection for park sites along Puget Sound.

City Park Marine Reserves are located in the marine and intertidal areas within certain portions of Golden Gardens Park, Carkeek Park, Charles Richey, Sr. Viewpoint, Lincoln Park, Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook and Discovery Park.

Although many of the activities prohibited in a Marine Reserve are already unlawful in a City park, this rule specifically designates City of Seattle park sites along Puget Sound as Marine Reserves and in so doing prohibits taking of shellfish, capturing of any wildlife species and otherwise damaging or destroying submerged or intertidal lands within our parks. This rule gives us an opportunity to highlight the importance of our critical marine habitat and further educate people about activities that are prohibited in these designated areas.

If there is a legitimate public purpose for any of these activities, the Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation may grant permission, provided that it does not violate other applicable federal, state or local law.

Marine Reserves are open to the public, but the Superintendent has the authority to close all or part of a City Park Marine Reserve for a specific period of time.

If an individual witnesses a violation of the City Park Marine Reserve Rule, please call the police at 206-625-5011 or Seattle Animal Shelter at 206-386-7387, extension 7, to report the violation.

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Updated July 16, 2013
New State Marine Protected Areas in Seattle

On April 7, 2006, after two years of effort, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission formally adopted marine protected status of the intertidal at all six Seattle marine reserves. This commission decision came after two public hearings in 2004 and 2005, with strong support from People for Puget Sound, Seattle Aquarium staff and Beach Naturalist volunteers.

About 50% of each of the following beaches are now set aside by the city and the state as no-harvest reserves (except for hook and line fin-fishing): Golden Gardens Park, Carkeek Park, Charles Richey, Sr. Viewpoint, Lincoln Park, Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook and Discovery Park. Total amount of protected interidal is about 108 acres.

The benefits of the state adoption of these new "Marine Preserves" are threefold:

Education - Inclusion in the state fish/shellfish pamphlet so people know of the closures.

Consistency of messages – Potential harvesters were confused when collection was closed by the city but not by the state.

Enforcement – Now, harvesting from the reserves is a state misdemeanor and citizens can report violations to the state patrol for enforcement. Before this, city enforcement on reserves meant city police could only remove a person from the beach.

This rule is the result of 13 years of work to get city MPA status and another two for state action. Commissioners at both hearings had high praise for the role the Seattle Aquarium played in working with state government on securing these conservation areas, and educating people about them and the resources found here. This process - and its success - was held up as a model to be replicated elsewhere for resolving multi-jurisdictional natural resource management matters.

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