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 used this grant to buy 1,114 acres, including more than 648 acres of riparian forest and wetland habitat along the Queets and Clearwater Rivers on the Olympic peninsula. These two rivers support some of the healthiest, most viable, and genetically diverse salmon populations in the lower 48 states, making them an essential anchor for the conservation of salmon ecosystems to include Chinook, coho, chum, pink, and sockeye salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat and bull trout species. The habitat also supports other species such as Pacific lampreys, Olympic mudminnows, marbled murrelets, and bald eagles. This purchase was the first phase of a multi-year project to create a system of protected riparian forest habitat from the headwaters of the Clearwater to its confluence with the Queets.