Hi, again. So ...
Hood Canal is actually a fjord. because of that, water from the Puget Sound spills over a "shelf" to come into the Hood Canal. This "shelf" is about at Bangor or Seabeck. This shelf is like 100 feet down but the canal is like 150 feet deep. So, the canal has a natural mixing problem. If no one lived, fished or cut trees down around it, there would usually not be a low oxygen problem but it is delicate. Since there are people doing things around it, nutrient gets into the canal but it does not have a good mixing connection with the rest of the Puget Sound.
Therefore, most of the problem I mentioned starts at the "shelf" and gets worse the farther south you go. By the time you get to the mouth of the Skokomish river (Skokomish Indian Reservation) water shed or the Union River (Belfair) watershed you have most of the problem. So, I would say this is mostly a Mason County problem (not a Kitsap county thing). However, there are a bunch of parties trying to fix it, The National Forest Service, National Parks Service, Skokomish Tribe, City of Belfair, City of Hoodsport and so on. To put it into perspective if I were a guessing man, I would say that this is 85% a problem for Mason county and 15% for Kitsap. I would guess it is about 60% a problem of Skokomish and Union river water sheds. Another 10% Finch Creek(Hoodsport) and the creeks at Lilliwap, Potlatch up to Eldon. Another 10% from the drainages between Skok and Union Rivers. On the east side of the canal, there is not much of a contribution to the dissolved oxygen problem and at Seabeck, I am guessing practically nothing.
Who is talking about this? Well The Kistap Sun
helps provide information. However, our local paper of choice was the Shelton paper The Mason County Journal
Who are the real people talking about this. Paul Hunter (Hunter Farms, Skokomish valley) has a farm and is effected by the stuff going on, I went through grade school to high school with him. Dr. Mike Pavel, a Skokomish Indian (he does not necessarily speak for the tribe), who may know the issues of the Indians better than I. Ron Gold, he was our scout leader and I worked with him in the Forest Service (Sivilculture). He brings most of the government/environmental perspective. Donna Simmons (Hoodsport), an environmentalist activist on the canal for the last 40 years.
I love the area. Some people think I am crazy for liking 90 inches of rain a year, but I loved to walk in it. I love the trees, I love the water, I love the mountains, I just love it. On the west side of the canal I lived in the ultimate sweet spot. The Sea at my front door and the Olympic Mountains out my back. A 10-15 minute drive and I would be at either.
If you like seclusion this area is great. Beach property is very expensive but just going back a little bit, it is relatively cheap, which you already know. East side is so much less developed than the west, if you are looking for seclusion, you might just find it on the east side of the canal. A lot of property are long rectangles to the canal and people will build the house right on the canal. I do not know what to tell you about that, but I think you will love the area.
Growing stuff. I think most people are convinced that you need to clear ground and force the ground to do annuals. I would say in areas higher than 70 in of rain, the soils will be more fungally dominated (a soil evolution thing). It might be better for trees and other items. Food if you can get it like mushrooms (truffle, Shantrell, chaga) and many other things from the natural forest. Actually, you may want to keep more trees on your property than you remove. Also, you have the sea in front of you with oysters, shrimp, crab and stuff. It is reasonably safe to eat, I think. You could also grow stuff that is not food but valuable, even artful.
Anyway. I hope that is a good introduction to my "homeland". I think you will love it there.
Edit: I am sorry, I was going to address the "art studio" element that you talked about. There is no good way to say this but ... Western Washington is more artsy and liberal than the East Side. East is conservative pragmatist wheat farmers. When we lived in Hoodsport, my Dad had many clients that saw him for some alternative medicine stuff (reflexology, Shiatsu, Acupressure and stuff). He move to Eastern Washington (Tri-cities) and could not get very many clients. In other words, I think you will probably find more people to buy your art work on the West side than the East side. I know, you are doing the internet thing, but if you do any shows locally, you will probably get more sales there (West Side)