The Chehalis River Surge Plain Natural Area Preserve (NAP) is incredibly unique and beautiful, as well as providing critical habitat hundreds of species.
The Chehalis River Surge Plain, located in Grays Harbor, is one of the most unique natural area preserves in Washington state. Five different Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) grants were used to help complete the preserve, which has been recognized as a national priority for protection because of the hundreds of species it supports. This large intact ecosystem includes critical waterways, marshes, and Sitka spruce-dominated wetlands.
Among the animal habitats protected, the surge plain supports nesting and foraging habitats for eagles, osprey, great blue heron, waterfowl, shorebirds, and neo-tropical migrant species. The area is also home to bears, river otters, beavers, and muskrats. A number of the WWRP grants went towards preserving large sections of Preacher’s Slough, a sinuous tidally-influenced waterway within the surge plain.
Restoration of the river bank included the removal of invasive species and planting of native species. Preacher’s Slough provides an important off-channel sanctuary for juvenile salmonids during their adjustment to marine conditions.
Projects like this one demonstrate the value of WWRP funding in protecting the animals of our diverse state.