The Riparian Protection category provides funding to help acquire and restore vital fresh and saltwater shorelines. Conservation also reduces surface run-off and helps aquifers recharge. As Washington’s population grows along with the scope of urban development, these grants are key in protecting the long-term health of Puget Sound, the Columbia River Basin and even our drinking water.
This month’s featured project is Skookum Creek Acquisition, located on the ancestral land of the Stillaguamish and Coast Salish people. The primary benefit of acquiring the subject property is to protect forested riparian habitat in the Skookum Creek & Hutchinson Watersheds. The 990-acre project area contains over 2.4 miles of Upper Skookum Creek, a tributary to the South Fork of the Nooksack River in Whatcom County, Washington. The Upper Skookum project is directly upstream of a previous 1,132-acre acquisition, creating a truly significant landscape-level project that connects the South Fork Nooksack River to the base of the Twin Sisters mountains. Conserving the land will allow the growth of mature creekbank forests that will shade and cool the water for salmon. Finally, the land provides vital habitat for a range of wildlife including golden eagle, Nooksack elk, Townsend’s big eared bat, and the state-endangered marbled murrelet. In addition to the environmental benefits of this acquisition, the project will also expand public recreation opportunities along Skookum Creek.