Urban Wildlife Habitat projects fund close-to-home places to play and explore nature. As our urban areas are increasingly expanding and densifying, these grants protect important fish and wildlife habitat within five miles of densely populated areas, creating green refuges that help keep our ecosystems healthy and provide places to enjoy nature right in our backyards.
The Whatcom Land Trust will use this grant to buy 355 acres of forest and creek bank, on Stewart Mountain in Whatcom County. The land is about 4 miles from Bellingham, the county’s largest city. Rapid growth is pushing development further into outlying areas and dramatically impacting wildlife habitat. The land contains the headwaters of Carpenter Creek, which feeds directly into Lake Whatcom, the source of drinking water for about half of the county residents. The land also is bordered by Anderson Creek, which is between the north Cascade Mountains and the Chuckanut Mountains, and is an important wildlife corridor for fish and large mammals moving through developed areas to high quality habitat areas. Anderson Creek is used by coho salmon, bull trout, steelhead, and cutthroat trout, as well as gray wolves, all of which are listed as priority species by state Department of Fish and Wildlife. The land trust’s goal is to conserve a large swath of Stewart Mountain, which is an important midpoint refuge along the county’s only officially designated wildlife corridor–the Cascades to Chuckanuts corridor. Whatcom Land Trust will contribute $622,250 in donations of cash and taxes from a Local Improvement District.