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 restored 807 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 focused primarily on the thinning of densely planted commercial forest stands post 1960. This project will improve habitat for diverse plant and animal communities. Restoration work in this project included tree thinning to reduce stand density, increasing understory vegetation and plant diversity, increasing the amount of large woody debris on the forest floor, and creating wildlife snags. Over time this work will 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. All thinning work was done by hand using chainsaws, draw knives, hatchets and herbicide. We had initially planned to thin 4 units using heavy equipment (and had a cultural resource surveys done on these units) but this work was not completed by the grant expiration date. We plan to complete this work in late 2019 or early 2020 using proceeds from the sale of timber from one of the units. The 123 acres from these four units will be above and beyond the 807 acres that were thinned using grant funds. The project also included treatment of weeds and planting of cedar.