As Washington continues to grow, many of our most beautiful areas are threatened with development. In addition, native ecosystems are receding, and important wildlife habitat and migratory pathways are being cut off. The Natural Areas category helps combat this by funding projects that protect wildlife habitat and rare geological features while also preserving public access for back-country recreation.
Department of Natural Resources used this grant to purchase one of the most ecologically significant privately owned parcels on Cypress Island, which is comprised of 22.28 acres and included ineligible structures. Because of the complexities due to the ecological nature of the property and the challenges of removing structures from an island, DNR is not able to complete demolition within the grant period and needs to seek additional funding for these activities. Although assessment, design and permit work is currently underway, it is not expected to be complete before the end of June, 2023, and therefore DNR plans to seek funding for demolition and potential restoration of the property to commence in the 25-27 biennium. In addition to the sole purchase, DNR progressed relationships with other private landowners and appraised two other priority parcels but both offers were rejected.