Forestland Preservation grants help improve opportunities for forest management activity and improve the long-term growth and harvest of timber. These 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.
The Nisqually Land Trust will use this grant to buy a voluntary land preservation agreement to conserve 320 acres of commercial timberlands near and along Busy Wild Creek, in the Mashel River sub-basin of the Nisqually River watershed. The land includes .7 mile of Busy Wild Creek and 1.4 miles of its feeder streams. Busy Wild Creek forms the headwaters of the Mashel River, which is the main tributary to the Nisqually River. The land has steep, unstable slopes and has been managed within a larger industrial timberland ownership for at least 70 years. The easement will maintain the land as working forest forever but requires management designed to increase stream flow and water quality to levels significantly above those achieved by forest practices regulations. In particular, the easement will enhance habitat values for steelhead trout, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Nisqually Steelhead Recovery Plan identifies Busy Wild Creek protection as a highest freshwater priority. In 2016, it was declared federal critical habitat for steelhead. The easement also will enhance habitat protection already in place on 2.4 miles of Busy Wild Creek immediately below the target property and extend and buffer federal, state, and local protected habitat for northern spotted owls and marbled murrelets. Finally, it will secure, for permanent public use, about 1 mile of the most popular section of the Mount Tahoma Trails hut-to-hut cross-country ski trail, which is used by more than 3,000 visitors annually and is an economic driver in the Ashford area. The Nisqually Land Trust will contribute $360,400 in a private grant.