Conserving land along our waterways protects important habitat and helps keep our rivers healthy, clean, and more resilient to drought. Riparian Protection projects conserve and restore fresh and saltwater habitat while protecting fish habitat. In doing so, the grants help provide our families, farms, and fisheries with clean water across the state.
The Nature Conservancy will use this grant to buy 640 acres, the third phase of a project that is creating a corridor of protected shoreline forest habitat from the headwaters of the Clearwater River to its confluence with the Queets River. The land in this purchase mostly is along the Clearwater River and its important tributaries – Shale, Miller, and Christmas Creeks. The Queets and Clearwater Rivers of the Olympic Peninsula support some of the healthiest, most viable, and genetically diverse salmon populations in the lower 48 states, making these rivers an essential anchor for the conservation of salmon habitat and critical areas for biodiversity conservation on the Washington coast. The rivers drain an area of more than 287,383 acres and are home to wild populations of Chinook, Coho, Chum, Pink and Sockeye salmon, steelhead, and Cutthroat and Bull Trout. The rivers and associated shoreline forests also support numerous other important species, such as the Pacific lamprey, Olympic mudminnow, and marbled murrelet. The project will address the two most significant habitat threats to these river systems: ongoing logging and rural development. The Nature Conservancy will contribute $879,300 in donations of cash.