51 acres of vital Steelhead habitat conserved along Rock Creek
The newly acquired property, which includes riparian forest and aquatic habitat, will be conserved and restored to support winter-run Steelhead.
Columbia Land Trust today announced the purchase of 51 acres of riparian forest along Rock Creek, a major tributary to the East Fork Lewis River in Clark County. The purchase will protect and restore vital Steelhead habitat in the creek.
The Land Trust purchased the property from Paula Larwick, who sought to sell a section of her 100-acre Dole Valley property for the expressed purpose of conservation. The project area includes 4,500 feet of shoreline along Rock Creek.
“We’re honored when our neighbors entrust us with the conservation and stewardship of their land, and we take that responsibility to heart,” says Columbia Land Trust Executive Director Glenn Lamb. “It seems fitting to start off our 25th year by conserving land in Clark County, where we began as an organization.”
The restoration project will entail forest thinning, weed control, and planting to help improve the site’s habitat conditions. These improvements will support crucial spawning habitat for federally-listed Steelhead.
Larwick, a longtime Dole Valley resident and local math and science teacher, recognizes the property’s ecological value and potential. “For a few days a year, you can see Steelhead lining up below our footbridge,” said Larwick, “I’m hopeful that I’ll get to see their numbers grow in coming years.”
This latest purchase builds on more than 15 years of the Land Trust’s conservation efforts targeted at the East Fork Lewis River Basin. Together with Clark County and other partners, the Land Trust has protected aquatic habitat, riversides and public access throughout the East Fork and its tributaries.
Nearly $200,000 in funding for the purchase and restoration was provided by a grant from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board along with $45,000 each from Clark County and the East Fork Lewis River Legacy Fund (a fund administered by the Community Foundation of Southwest Washington). The Firstenburg Foundation provided additional funding to complete the project.