By Senators Oke, Swecker and Rossi


     WHEREAS, The marine lands and shorelands of the State of Washington are among the most valuable of its natural resources and should be administered in the public interest to maximize their benefits for navigation, commerce, and recreational purposes, while at the same time preserving these lands for enjoyment by future generations; and


     WHEREAS, The aquatic laws governing the beds, tidelands, and shorelands of the navigable waters of the state have been amended in a piecemeal fashion since 1981 resulting in a statutory framework for management of this public trust that is overly complicated and unclear in its intent, and recognizing that studies previously commissioned to rewrite these laws have not resulted in a comprehensive revision of these laws; and


     WHEREAS, The recent administration of leases of these lands by the Department of Natural Resources has been accompanied by considerable debate concerning the propriety of the appraisal methods, rental rate amounts, and lease conditions applied by the Department in leasing these lands;


     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, By the Senate of the State of Washington, That the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Parks review the laws governing the management of state-owned marine lands, shorelands, and harbor areas and the manner in which the Department of Natural Resources has interpreted and administered these laws in the fulfillment of their management responsibilities, with the purpose of proposing legislation that will clarify legislative intent and provide a context for sound management of these lands consistent with present and future public needs.  The Committee shall employ such staff as may be necessary for the tasks set forth.  The Committee shall report its findings and recommendations for legislation revising the aquatic land leasing laws to the full Senate not later than the commencement of the January 1998 session of the legislature.