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 Whidbey Camano Land Trust used this grant to purchase 326 acres along Crockett Lake. Crockett Lake is located on Whidbey Island in Ebey’s Landing Reserve, a unit of the National Park Service, and is nationally recognized as a critically important coastal wetland system. Approximately 95 percent of the property acquired is Riparian Protection habitat, resulting in nearly the entire wetland system being protected. All of the protected properties were surveyed and property lines marked. A comprehensive management plan was completed for the project area. This plan took into account the known invasive plant issue on the site and included a variety of techniques and schedule for moving forward with the restoration. Invasive plant removal included manual, mechanical, and chemical treatments on hairy willow-herb, Himalayan blackberry, and poison hemlock. Invasive plant removal work was done by volunteers, contractors, and Land Trust staff. Partnership with the Washington Department of Natural Resources allowed for the use of a MarshMaster to brush cut blackberry and apply herbicide to the hairy willow-herb infestation, following approval of all appropriate permits. This equipment allowed for minimal impact to the surrounding wetland and achieved almost 100% treatment on a close to 100 acre treatment area. Native shrubs and trees were planted on site in the mowed blackberry areas after multiple rounds on invasive species removal. Native species included Nootka rose, red osier dogwood, salmonberry, black twinberry, black hawthorn, crabapple, snowberry, pea-fruited rose, and Sitka willow. Plantings were protected with mulch and tube protectors to help with the beginning growth. Over 3,000 plants were planted in the project area. Split-rail fencing was installed on a portion of the site to protect the wetlands from vehicles and trespassing issues. Care was taken to make the fencing wildlife friendly and to preserve the scenic nature of the site. Signage on the site includes property signs visible from the road on the perimeter of the Preserve and kiosks placed at two locations where the public can view the wildlife and wetlands while not impacting conservation values of the site. Kiosks include acknowledgement of the funding agencies and interpretive material about the Crockett Lake wetland system.