12 Months of WWRP: Forestland Preservation

February 28, 2018

This month’s WWRP category, Forestland Preservation, was added to the program in 2016. The first Forestland Preservation grant applications were submitted in 2017, and finally received their funding with the passage of the Capital Budget just last month. This category helps improve opportunities for forest management activity and improve the long-term growth and harvest of timber. Forestland Preservation projects help protect many different kinds of forests, including, but not limited to, large-scale industrial forests, small private landowner forests, community forests, and tribally – or publicly-owned and managed forests.

Our highlighted project of the month is the Little Skookum Inlet Forest in Mason County. The project sponsor Forterra will use the $350,000 WWRP Forestland Preservation grant to acquire a conservation easement on land on the southern shore of Little Skookum Inlet. The property is made up of 816 acres of working forests, wetlands, riparian habitat, and almost two miles of Puget Sound shoreline.

For over 150 years, this land has been actively managed as a working forest by Port Blakely Tree Farms, providing timber for local mills. Right now, the land is in danger of being residentially developed.

Forterra’s goal is to permanently protect this valuable land from being developed or converted to non-forest uses. They also wish to expand the no-cut buffers (regulatory ordinances) from the current 50′-90′ to 150′ on salmon-bearing streams and 100′ on marine shoreline. These actions will protect the property’s working forestland and benefit the ecosystem. It will also ensure water quality, keep cultural resources intact, and preserve habitat for salmon, and protect the productive and lucrative shellfish growing area in the inlet.