The State Lands Restoration and Enhancement category provides funding to two state agencies to help repair damaged plant and animal habitat. These grants focus on resource preservation and protection of public lands. Projects in this category help bring important natural areas and resources back to their original functions by improving the self sustaining and ecological functionality of sites.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources will use this grant to restore approximately 800 acres of Pacific Northwest coastal forest located in the Bone River NAP, Niawiakum River NAP, Elk River NRCA, and Ellsworth Creek NRCA. These sites are located in Pacific and Grays Harbor Counties. These Natural Areas include rare salt marsh habitats and extensive forested uplands, including significant pockets of mature and old-growth forest. These Natural Areas represent a large portion of a quickly disappearing mature/old-growth forest landscape in Southwest Washington. Restoration will focus primarily on the thinning of densely planted commercial forest stands post 1960. In their current condition, these forests provide little habitat for diverse plant and animal communities and are not representative of a natural coastal forest ecosystem. Goals for the restoration include reducing stand density, increasing understory vegetation and plant diversity, increasing the amount of large woody debris on the forest floor, and creating wildlife snags. Doing so will dramatically improve the quality of habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, including the marbled murelet, spotted owl, populations of cavity dwelling bird species, amphibians, and the resident herds of Roosevelt Elk.