Preserving salmon habitat, culture on Oakland Bay

April 25, 2014

Coalition members at the Capitol Land Trust recently completed a project restoring 76 acres of shoreline habitat vital to the fish and birds who call it home and for the nearby Squaxin Island Tribe who value it as a cultural site.

Chinook salmon, bald eagles, ospreys and many other species can be found on a previously disused golf course that was put up for sale and vulnerable to low-density development.

“We have systematically identified Oakland Bay’s top conservation priorities; established trusting relationships with landowners; built cooperation and support among dozens of project partners; secured nearly seven million dollars in grant funding; and successfully negotiated agreements that permanently conserve more than three miles of estuarine habitat in upper Oakland Bay,” wrote Capitol Land Trust executive director, Eric Erler, in an email earlier this month.

The Oakland Bay restoration project recently received a grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP), the state program the Coalition founded and remains the primary watchdog and advocate.

“Projects like this show how the WWRP can be used to fit unique community needs,” said Coalition executive director Joanna Grist. “The land trust was able to work with the Squaxin Island Tribe to protect a healthy environment and honor generations of natural history. It is a victory for all involved.”

Two thirds of WWRP projects either protect or restore the Puget Sound. The Oakland Bay project is one of many that will ensure Washington’s land and water are protected for the next generation.

Photos courtesy of Capitol Land Trust.