Acquisition of inholding adds to big conservation project near Willapa Bay
Written by Robin Stanton, Media Relations Manager
Photograph by Bridget Besaw
The Nature Conservancy has purchased 79 acres of timberlands that are completely surrounded by the Conservancy’s existing Ellsworth Creek Preserve, filling in an important piece of the puzzle in restoring this watershed that feeds into Willapa Bay.
The property has big timber and is visible from Highway 101. Stands of old-growth rainforest are nearby, and endangered marbled murrelets have been identified in the area. All these factors make it an important piece of land for conservation.
“This acquisition is a milestone in our work to restore rainforests on the Washington coast,” said Mike Stevens, Washington director for The Nature Conservancy. “At Ellsworth Creek we’re advancing the science of forest restoration in an entire watershed. I look forward to seeing the forest filled with towering moss-laden hemlocks, spruce and cedars, and streams alive with salmon.”
The Conservancy began buying land in the Ellsworth Creek watershed in 1998. With this latest acquisition, the Conservancy now owns and manages more than 8,000 acres adjacent to the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. The Conservancy also partners with the Refuge for restoration on refuge lands.
The preserve includes pockets of real old-growth forest as well has forests that have been harvested for timber. The Conservancy is modeling different methods of restoration to discover what will most quickly put the forest on the path toward old-growth conditions. Read more here.
The property was sold to the Conservancy by Vic and Debbie Boekelman. “We bought this land 26 years ago as an investment for our retirement,” said Vic Boekelman. “Over the years the Conservancy has bought the land around us, and we’ve been really impressed with the work they’ve been doing to manage and restore the forest. This is a win-win for us, to know that the forest will be here and we can bring our grandchildren out to see it.”
The Boekelmans have always permitted hunting on their property, and it will continue to be open for hunting in compliance with state fish and wildlife regulations, as is the rest of Ellsworth Creek Preserve.
Funding for the acquisition and ongoing stewardship of the property was provided by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grant and a generous private donor.
Our Membership Trip to Yellow Island Preserve - Day 2
Photography by Cameron Karsten, Northwest Photographer
Set amidst Washington’s scenic San Juan Islands, Yellow Island is a one-of-a kind location. Owned by The Nature Conservancy, the island offers unique beauty, an example of conservation in action and an escape from everyday life. Each spring it is bathed in fields of wildflowers, tumbling down hillsides towards the water.
We traveled by charter boat from Anacortes to the island, while learning about the ecology of the region from Nature Conservancy scientists. Members were able to roam the island, take photos and ask questions.
Yellow Island may be a crown jewel in the work we do in Washington, as evidenced by this mesmerizing slideshow! It’s certainly a spectacular example of the beauty of nature and an inspiration to keep up our hard work around the state.
See the slideshow from Day one of the trip!
Not yet a member? Join the Nature Conservancy today!
Cameron Karsten is a coldwater surfer, cultural traveler, professional photographer/videographer, amateur craft brewer. Looking for the new, the unique and the challenging, having been raised in the Pacific Northwest, where cold water and wet mountains converge. Began a career as a travel writer, from the age of 19 to 25 backpacking around the world, beginning in SE Asia, thru Europe, down East Africa, into the Creeks of Nigeria, and along the beaches of Central America. View more of Cameron Karsten’s work: CameronKarsten.com
Washington snowpack smallest in 35 years
This year our state is facing a big water challenge
Inforgraphics and Written by Erica Simek Sloniker, GIS and Visual Communications & James Robertson, Spatial Analyst
Photograph by Karl Johnson
In Washington, the majority of our water supply arrives in the form of snow. Snowpack provides a reliable water supply for the needs most of us enjoy as well as the habitats we explore in. Looking back over the last 35 years, Washington is experiencing its lowest snowpack.
Water levels this year give us a window into the future, of what we can expect and plan for with a changing climate. The drought affects everything we do in conserving Washington from increasing wildfire risk, to low stream flows which can dramatically affect salmon survival. The drought also increases wildfire risk, which is already severely high on the east side of the Cascades, but also makes potential for wildfire on the west side of the Cascades a reality as well.
This year’s drought presents an opportunity to teach us how to be more resilient when our natural resources become stressed. The Nature Conservancy is committed to finding long-term solutions to weather the impacts of climate change. Across the organization, The Nature Conservancy is conserving forests which store carbon, hold water, and cool streams, is working to protect communities from storms and floods, and is helping landscapes and people become better adapted to fire risks.
Orting Honored for Puyallup River Project
City receives the 2015 Municipal Excellence Award
Written by Tom Burgert, Government Relations Associate
Photography by Keith Lazelle
The Association of Washington Cities announced that the Town of Orting is a recipient of a 2015 Municipal Excellence Award. Orting is being honored in the Small City Success category for their groundbreaking work on the Calistoga Setback Levee through new, innovative Floodplains by Design grant program.
The new 1.6-mile Calistoga Setback Levee protects the City of Orting from flooding, widens the Puyallup River channel, restores natural habitat, and promotes salmon recovery.
You may remember that Orting was featured in the Seattle Times last fall. Orting Mayor Joe Pestinger wrote:
“We broke ground on the $17 million project in March 2014. On Nov. 25, the new infrastructure was tested as the Puyallup rose to the same flow that flooded our town in 2009. But this time, the new levee held. It was tested again in December and in January. It worked. The benefits to people are obvious and immediate: safety, community well-being, economic security.”
In the same breath of commending the town of Orting, it is also critical to note that this successful project would not have been possible without the Floodplains by Design program, which funds local projects that substantively reduce flood risks and restore habitat, and that may also improve agricultural viability, water quality and recreational access.
Funding for Floodplains by Design is being considered by the state Legislature right now. The State House proposed $43 million for 12 top ranked projects around the state. The State Senate proposed not funding the program.
Visit our take action page to learn more about how you can get involved in restoring funding for this important program so that more towns like Orting can celebrate successes for public safety.