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Merrill Lake Riparian
- Pending Legislative Action
If this WWRP grant is funded, the Department of Fish and Wildlife will acquire 1400 acres in Cowlitz County lying between Merrill Lake and the Kalama River. The property has many incredibly unique features including lava beds with tree casts, high volume springs feeding the Kalama river, small old growth stands, waterfalls, and high quality native plant communities. Objectives include long-term protection of habitat and providing secure public access, particularly along the shorelines of the lake and river. The site connects with National Forest to the North and a DNR Natural Resource Conservation Area to the South. The primary access is via the USFS 81 road. Merrill Lake is managed as a high quality catch and release water and much of the Kalama bordering this site represents potential Bull Trout recovery habitat. A diverse suite of species will benefit from the overall project including Steelhead, Coho, Elk, Martin, Chinook, Western Toad, Spotted Owls, and Osprey. This proposal focuses on two blocks of Riparian habitat on the property including approximately 437 acres along the Kalama River and Dry Creek which flows into the Lake. Portions of both of these areas support large old growth cedar or fir and include river front at the site of the 40 foot waterfall on the Kalama River. Impending threats to these sites include subdivision for recreational lots or resort type development.
What is the WWRP?
The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) is a state grant program that creates and conserves local and state parks, wildlife habitat and working farms. The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office administers WWRP grants, and the legislature funds the program.