Monday, February 2, 2015

Celebrating conservation this World Wetlands Day!

By Jessica Payne, communications manager, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance program

Happy World Wetlands Day! 

Here at Ecology, we love wetlands and work hard to help conserve and manage them. With 938,000 acres of wetlands in Washington state, you probably have some near where you live, work, or play.

Do you know what that wetland is doing for you and your community? Your neighborhood wetland:

  • Helps control flooding
  • Recharges ground water
  • Filters and purifies water
  • Controls erosion
  • Provides habitat for wildlife
  • Provides recreation opportunities
  • Is a location for research and environmental education
  • Is important to economic vitality

Reasons to rejoice

Today we're celebrating our recent accomplishments in wetland stewardship for World Wetlands Day. Every year, we apply for grants to help acquire, restore, and enhance wetlands through the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. This year, we were awarded money for four wetlands projects totaling almost $4 million! These grant funds will go toward the conservation of wetlands in coastal and Puget Sound counties.

Restoring Kilisut Harbor

Partnering with the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, we were awarded $1,000,000 to restore the tidal connection between southern Kilisut Harbor and Oak Bay. The project removes a land bridge and constructs an over-water bridge that will allow the tide to flow between the open water and the bay. 

This project will restore the natural tide process to 27 acres of marine intertidal wetlands and saltwater marsh. It will also create four acres of wetlands that were filled as a result of the land bridge preventing the tide from entering the harbor over the years.

Kilisut Harbor is part of Puget Sound’s large, complex system of estuaries and salt marshes that support tremendous biological productivity and diversity.

By restoring natural tidal flows at one end of the bay, the project will improve water circulation throughout the 2,285 acre bay and provide significant benefits to fish, shellfish and migratory birds.

Conserving Long Beach Peninsula wetlands

Partnering with the Columbia Land Trust, we were awarded $914,375 to acquire and protect 400 acres of declining coastal wetlands, riparian areas and conifer forest on the Long Beach Peninsula. This land is located between the Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay and includes wetlands in the Chinook River estuary in southwest Washington. 

The project will conserve freshwater wetlands that form between the sand dunes, open water, forested wetlands, and a significant amount of land on the Pacific Ocean and the Chinook River. The properties will neighbor over 44,000 acres of federal, state and private conserved lands, including Willapa Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

The conservation lands are highly interconnected and are home to many federal and state listed endangered species, and other rare wildlife and plant species.

New restoration at Tarboo-Dabob Bay

Partnering with the Northwest Watershed Institute, we were awarded $1,000,000 to acquire and restore three properties totaling 31 acres. These lands are made up of intertidal estuary wetlands, beach lands, and steep, forested bluffs along Tarboo-Dabob Bay. 

The project will restore important shoreline, streams and wetlands by removing a 400-foot-long shoreline bulkhead.

It will also restore the natural meandering shape of a channelized stream and restore contouring and plant life to six acres of adjacent wetland and stream valley.

The project will protect the most threatened and biologically significant private land parcels within the boundaries of the Dabob Bay Natural Area. This will conserve vital habitat for several species of salmon, forage fish, and many types of birds.

Protecting Waterman coastal wetlands

Partnering with the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, we were awarded $1,000,000 to acquire and protect 59 acres wetlands. This land is made up of intertidal estuaries and upland habitat on the southeast side of Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. 

The property includes 2,813 feet of important bluff along Possession Sound and coastal forest. 

The project will remove a 434-foot creosote timbered bulkhead at the base of the bluff that is blocking the travel of sediment from the bluff to the beach and leaching creosote into the environment. 

These intertidal wetlands also have shellfish beds and an abundance of eelgrass beds, which provide spawning grounds for herring and sand lance as well as feeding areas for waterbirds.

Our work with wetlands

For more details on the projects listed above, visit our wetlands coastal grant program webpage. Learn more about our role in protecting, restoring, and managing wetlands by visiting our website.

1 comment:

NANOOS PNW said...

Congratulations on the award and keep up the good work! We're excited to watch these projects progress.