Protecting water quality for people and forest habitat for marbled murrelet
Conserving the forests and rivers in the Grays River watershed is a long-time priority for the Land Trust. With the conservation of these 1,000+ acres, we’ve secured an important parcel that works toward our vision of protecting connected landscapes in the coastal region to foster salmon recovery, improve forest health and water quality, and support community goals related to flood reduction, recreation, and public access.
This site protects 1,103 acres along 2.5 miles of the West Fork Grays River, helping to create a corridor of habitat lands connecting two large blocks of state-managed forest in Pacific and Wahkiakum counties.
Though it feels remote, this landscape is important to human communities who rely on forests as an economic driver and healthy rivers for water quality. It is also home to big, old trees that are critical for federally endangered marbled murrelet who depend on this type of older growth forest. As the forests grow under the Land Trust’s stewardship, we anticipate the development of new suitable marbled murrelet habitat over the next 20-40 years.
The Grays River watershed is a significant salmon habitat site within the lower Columbia River ecosystem. It supports several salmonid populations but stands out as the most important basin for chum salmon in the Columbia River basin. Our stewardship will prioritize maintaining and restoring fish populations through management of upland forests and implementation of in-stream restoration that collectively cool water, moderate floods, capture sediment, and create diverse habitat for fish and wildlife.
This land acquisition was funded by grants from the federal Endangered Species Act, Section 6 for marbled murrelet, the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program – Critical Habitat category.