queets

SHOCKING RESTORATION IN THE QUEETS RIVER BASIN

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Electrofishing helps protect salmon

Written and photographed by Kyle Smith, Washington Forest Manager

The Nature Conservancy is partnering with the Quinault Indian Nation to install six engineered logjams on a tributary of the Clearwater River. Engineered logjams simultaneously enhance riparian habitat and manage erosion by introducing large woody debris to stabilize banks.

Last week, I worked with Quinault staff to prepare the site by removing fish from the stream and installing temporary exclusion barriers to keep fish out of the channel during construction.

In the photo above, Dwayne Bighead (right) of the Quinault Indian Nation is sending electric currents underwater to momentarily stun Coho salmon and bring them to the water surface, a technique called electrofishing. William Armstrong (left) and Adam Rehfeld (center) assist with collecting fish.

The logjam installation, which began this week, is part of a larger long-term restoration plan for our conserved land in Jefferson County to improve aquatic and terrestrial habitat. The Nature Conservancy depends on invaluable partnerships with indigenous communities like the Quinault to maximize our efficacy.

Queets Forestland Future Secured

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Nature Conservancy Sells 1,720 Acres to DNR

Photograph by Bridget Besaw

WASHINGTON COAST – The Nature Conservancy has sold 1,720 acres of forestlands above the Queets River to the state Department of Natural Resources for management within the Olympic Experimental State Forest as wildlife habitat and working forest.

“This sale assures our conservation goals for this property, and supports the Conservancy’s long-term goals of a sustainable Olympic rainforest that supports wildlife and the local economy,” said David Rolph, Washington’s Director of Forest Conservation and Management for the Conservancy.

The property was part of 2,321 acres the Conservancy purchased from Rayonier in 2014. Conservancy analysis showed that the 600 acres closest to the river is most important for salmon and the health of the river system. The remaining 1,720 acres, while important upland habitat, could be managed in ways that includes sustainable forestry and some logging.

By selling to the Department of Natural Resources, the Conservancy is ensuring good long term management of the land, Rolph said. DNR owns most of the surrounding land, and their management in the Experimental Forest is governed by a 70-year federal conservation plan. It ensures strong protection of wetlands and the development of older stands of trees in the forest rotation. It also allows for continued public access and recreation, and revenue to the state school trust

“Analysis from our scientists confirms that DNR’s management under their federal conservation plan can be a good match in supporting the Conservancy’s habitat restoration goals along the Queets River system,” Rolph said.

“We’re grateful for the partnership with The Nature Conservancy in purchasing this land,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, who chairs the Board of Natural Resources, which authorized the purchase. “It will benefit future trust beneficiaries and DNR’s conservation commitments on the Olympic Peninsula.” 

The sales agreement was announced in April, when the Board of Natural Resources authorized the $5.2 million purchase. The sale closed June 12. The Conservancy will use the money generated by the sale, for further forest conservation work.

The Queets is one of four major rivers flowing from the summit of the mountains in Olympic National Park to the Olympic National Marine Sanctuary in the Pacific Ocean. The Conservancy has also purchased and is restoring forest lands on the Clearwater, a tributary to the Queets, and on the Hoh River farther north. The Conservancy is also working with the Quinault Indian Nation for restoration of forests on the Quinault River.

Together with the acquisitions on the Clearwater and Hoh rivers, the Conservancy is now managing 9,410 acres of forest lands in Jefferson County. Conservancy foresters and ecologists have developed long-term plans that include planting trees, restoring important salmon and wildlife habitat, and sustainable long-rotation timber harvest where it makes sense.

Nature Conservancy Buys 3,184 Acres on Hoh River

Hoh River acquisition will help protect Olympic Peninsula

FORKS, WA- The Nature Conservancy has purchased 3,184 acres along the Hoh River near the Washington coast from Rayonier, the two organizations announced today.

The purchase is part of a Nature Conservancy initiative to increase salmon populations, promote sustainable economies and restore temperate rainforest on the Washington coast.

This $7,004,800 acquisition, which closed Monday, March 30, builds on work by the Hoh River Trust, which owns 6,800 acres along the Hoh River, to create a 32-mile conservation corridor extending from Olympic National Park to the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Home to old-growth and temperate rain forest, the Hoh River corridor provides critical habitat for marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, bald eagle, and bull trout. It also supports some of the healthiest native salmon and steelhead runs in the lower 48 states.

“On the Washington Coast, generations have drawn their livelihoods from a wealth of natural resources—abundant salmon and trees that grow faster than anywhere else in the world,” said Mike Stevens, Washington State Director for The Nature Conservancy. “We’re working with local communities to ensure that these wild salmon rivers and forests will continue to provide recreation and sustainable livelihoods for generations to come.”

“The Hoh River Trust is pleased to welcome The Nature Conservancy to the Hoh Valley,” said Randy Messenbrink of Forks, president of the Hoh River Trust. “Just as we have endeavored to create a restored and open land corridor we are confident The Nature Conservancy holds these shared values and bring a great synergy to the Hoh River, the Forks community and the greater West End.”

“We’re pleased to again partner with The Nature Conservancy to preserve, for future generations, this important regional forest landscape and the fish and wildlife habitat it will protect,” said David Nunes, Rayonier president and CEO.  “In addition to safeguarding salmon habitat, this project connects a large forested landscape from the mountains to the sea.  The responsible stewardship provided by generations of Rayonier foresters since the 1940s makes this partnership possible.  I would like to thank and acknowledge the collaborative work between the Conservancy and our team for their creative and innovative approach to this transaction resulting in an economically viable agreement that will not only keep the land ecologically healthy, but also in a forestland cover.”

This acquisition is made possible with support from the Wyss Foundation, the Norcliffe Foundation, and other private donors and supporters.

“Everyone should have the chance to gaze up at the towering cedars of the Olympic Peninsula and experience the wild steelhead runs of the Hoh River,” said Hansjörg Wyss, who started the Wyss Foundation in 1998. “Thanks to the foresight and leadership of local communities, future generations will be able to hike, hunt, and explore the remarkable rainforests of the Hoh River from its source in Olympic National Park all the way to the Pacific Ocean.”

The Hoh is one of four major river systems flowing from summit to sea in the Olympic rainforest. It is expected to offer Pacific salmon and steelhead some refuge from the impacts of climate change.

The Conservancy has also purchased and is restoring forest lands on the Queets and Clearwater rivers, and is working with the Quinault Indian Nation for restoration of forests on the Quinault River. Together with the earlier acquisitions on the Queets and Clearwater rivers, the Conservancy is now managing 11,130 acres of forest lands in Jefferson County. Conservancy foresters and ecologists have developed long-term plans that include planting trees, restoring important salmon and wildlife habitat, and sustainable long-rotation timber harvest where it makes sense, said Stevens. All these activities generate jobs in coastal communities.

The Conservancy plans to maintain a forest designation and pay property taxes on this land.

Farther south on the Washington Coast, the Conservancy owns and manages nearly 8,000 acres at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve adjoining Willapa National Wildlife Refuge on Willapa Bay. The Conservancy also owns 47,921 acres of forest land in the Central Cascades east of Snoqualmie Pass.

All the Conservancy’s land on the Washington Coast continues to be open to public and tribal use for hunting, fishing, traditional gathering of plants and medicines, boating, birding, hiking, and other coastal outdoor activities.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working in Washington and around the world to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy’s Washington Program on the web at washingtonnature.org.

Rayonier is a leading international land resources company primarily engaged in timberland management and the sale of real estate. Rayonier owns, leases or manages approximately 2.7 million acres of timberlands located in the U.S. and New Zealand. Rayonier is structured as a real estate investment trust. To date, Rayonier has joined with conservation experts to ensure more than 200,000 acres of forestland will remain in conservation for future generations. More information is available at www.rayonier.com.


Contact information

Robin Stanton
Media Relations/ The Nature Conservancy
(206) 436-6274
rstanton@tnc.org

Mike Bell
Public Affairs Director/ Rayonier
(904) 321-5537
mike.bell@rayonier.com

2,500 forest acres purchased above Clearwater River

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2,500 Acres for a Sustainable Future!

The Conservancy has just bought 2,538 acres of forest above the Clearwater River on the Washington Coast!

This new acquisition adds momentum to our work with coastal communities and tribes to promote sustainable economies, restore the Olympic rainforest and support a healthy ocean.

It adds to the Conservancy Clearwater Forest Reserve and connects to the state’s Natural Resources Conservation Area to create a nearly complete 38-mile conservation corridor along the river.

The Clearwater River runs cool and clear out of the Olympic Mountains, flowing into the Queets River, which is one of the Washington Coast’s most important salmon rivers. Restoration in this forest is an important step to increasing the abundance of salmon in coastal rivers.

Together with the earlier acquisitions on the Queets and Clearwater, the Conservancy is now managing nearly 8,000 acres of forest lands in Jefferson County. Conservancy foresters and ecologists have developed long-term plans that include planting trees, restoring important salmon and wildlife habitat, and sustainable long-rotation timber harvest where it makes sense.

We hire local contractors for much of this work, providing sustainable jobs for the surrounding communities.

Farther south on the Washington Coast, the Conservancy owns and manages nearly 8,000 acres at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve adjoining Willapa National Wildlife Refuge on Willapa Bay.

All our land in the region continues to be open to public and tribal use for hunting, fishing, traditional gathering of plants and medicines, boating, birding, hiking, and other coastal outdoor activities.

Photo Credit © Keith Lazelle

MILESTONES IN FOREST CONSERVATION

Land transactions are critical steps in future for Washington forests

SEATTLE: Washington’s forests are iconic, revered and evolving. While our forests have always offered beauty, habitat and raw materials, how we manage and benefit from them has changed over time. The Nature Conservancy is in the center of innovative, science-based approaches that allow us to enjoy and enhance our forests’ aesthetic, environmental and economic value across the state.

Two recent land transactions involving two very different forests are important milestones in realizing this vision.

On the Washington coast, the Conservancy has purchased 2,300 acres of timberlands from Rayonier along the Queets River, adjacent to the Olympic National Park.

In the East Cascades, the Conservancy has purchased 3,511 acres of timberland from Plum Creek in the Manastash area west of Ellensburg, and transferred it to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to be managed as part of the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area.

“These transactions are critical pieces in our efforts to solve crucial issues in our state’s forests,” said Michael S. Stevens, Washington state director for The Nature Conservancy. “Using science and on-the-ground experience, we are working with a wide variety of partners to create sustainable management, assure resiliency and ensure the communities that depend on these lands are thriving.”

The Conservancy has demonstrated success on the Washington coast, working with partners including the Quinault Indian Nation and the Hoh River Trust to enhance habitat on key salmon rivers including the Clearwater and Quinault. The acquisition of new land comes as part of a partnership with Rayonier, and opens the door to a future full of salmon and timber.

“Rayonier has been part of the Washington community since 1926 when we first began operations near Mount Rainier,” said Lynn Wilson, Senior Vice President of Forest Resources at Rayonier. “We’ve been stewards of this land since the 1940s and are pleased that the Nature Conservancy and Rayonier’s conservation program team, led by its manager Callie DeHaven, have developed a partnership that will ensure that this land will remain an integral part of the forest landscape of the region in perpetuity.”

The Queets acquisition was made possible through generous private donors, including a $500,000 challenge grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation that inspired an additional $1 million in donations.

The challenges in Eastern Washington are quite different and there The Nature Conservancy has already done important work in restoration, fire prevention and preservation of clean water. This latest acquisition is the most recent in a decade-long project to weave together a checkerboard of public and private land in the east Cascades. Plum Creek has played an important role in keeping these important conservation lands intact while the Conservancy assembled financing so they can be brought into public ownership. Working with partners, including the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Conservancy has brought nearly 25,000 acres of private timberlands into public ownership managed under the Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative, securing public access and protecting this vital resource for our communities.

“Plum Creek recognizes the public benefits of this project and is pleased to participate in the partnership that achieved this important outcome,” said Jerry Sorenson, senior director of land management for Plum Creek.

“This project was a high priority for the state because it provides critical habitat both for protected species and game animals,” said Mike Livingston, Southcentral Region director for WDFW. “This diverse habitat supports threatened and endangered species such as spotted owls, bull trout and steelhead, as well as big-game such as mule deer and elk.”

The Manastash transfer was kick-started by private donors and ultimately funded by a grant through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program as well as by federal funding to protect habitat for endangered species.

These projects on the Queets River and at Manastash are much more than just acquisitions. They represent an evolved and innovative approach to our state’s forests that assures clean water for agriculture, fish and people, creates local jobs, and nurtures communities for generations to come.

Contact information

Robin Stanton
The Nature Conservancy
(206) 436-6274
rstanton@tnc.org

Russell Schweiss
Rayonier
(904) 357-9158
russell.schweiss@rayonier.com

Kathy Budinick
Plum Creek
(206) 467-3620
Kathy.budinick@plumcreek.com

Mike Livingston
Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
(509) 457-9325
Michael.livingston@dfw.wa.gov