Marsh Marvels - Columbia Land Trust
Conservation efforts at the tip of Long Beach Peninsula protect endangered species within a fragile ecosystem.

We’re happy to announce the recent conservation of 19 acres near Leadbetter Point at the northern tip of Long Beach Peninsula.

The property is comprised of ocean dunes, interdunal lakes and freshwater wetlands, a relatively unique environment found between the parallel dune ridges that run along Long Beach Peninsula. These fragile wetland ecosystems supply the island’s aquifer with fresh drinking water while also providing wildlife habitat.

Interdunal wetlands near the tip of Long Beach Peninsula

Interdunal wetlands near the tip of Long Beach Peninsula

The conserved area builds on 100 nearby acres previously conserved by Columbia Land Trust and is adjacent to Leadbetter Point State Park and the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge-Leadbetter Unit. Together, these lands offer Washington’s largest and most significant nesting area for Endangered Species Act-listed western snowy plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus).

The newly acquired property features crucial habitat for two additional listed species, the streaked horned lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata) and a plant known as pink sand verbena (Abronia umbellata). Streaked horned larks, of which only 2,000 remain worldwide, nest in sparsely vegetated grasslands like those found on the dunes surrounding the new conservation property. Interdunal lakes and wetlands on the property are also valuable for priority migratory birds, including majestic trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator).

The Land Trust purchased half of the property from landowner Keith Sippola with funding from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service’ s National Coastal Wetlands grants program while landowner Ted Mitchell generously donated the remaining half for the expressed purpose of permanent conservation.

While the site currently features healthy habitat, Columbia Land Trust’s staff will work to control weeds and mitigate impacts from the use of two roads running through the property.  Moving forward, the Land Trust plans to conserve additional land in the Leadbetter Point area.