Columbia Land Trust sneaks one more major conservation success into 2016 with the conservation of 374 acres on Willapa Bay.
On December 30th, the Land Trust acquired 374 acres of tidal wetland and upland forest along Seal Slough on East Willapa Bay, located just south of Lynn Point in Pacific County, Washington.
Willapa Bay salmon and steelhead, eulachon (smelt), migratory shorebirds and waterfowl, black bear, and Roosevelt elk all rely on the area for habitat. The conserved property will support fish stocks to the benefit of local commercial and recreational fishing communities.
“The conservation of Seal Slough is an achievement five years in the making,” said Nadia Gardner, Columbia Land Trust’s conservation manager for the Coast Range. “We’re very happy to permanently protect this remarkable landscape both for wildlife and for people who work and recreate on Willapa Bay.”
The newly acquired property builds on significant conservation lands already held around Willapa Bay by the Land Trust, along with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Washington Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, and Forterra. These conservation efforts are largely driven by the unique significance of the wetland habitat at Willapa Bay, which is the second-largest estuary on the Pacific coast of the United States. A key site for shorebirds traveling the Pacific Flyway migration corridor, the area is considered internationally important by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network.
Columbia Land Trust purchased the property from John Hancock Life & Health Insurance Company with funding from the USFWS Coastal Program through the Washington Department of Ecology, the Washington Recreation & Conservation Office, the Wildlife Forever Fund, and the Seattle Audubon Martin Miller Fund. The Land Trust is grateful to both the seller and its funding partners for making this significant conservation success possible.
The Land Trust plans to restore the upland areas to their historic, natural forest conditions, protecting tidal wetlands, sloughs, and creeks. In time, restored forested habitat could support old growth-reliant species, including the endangered marbled murrelet.