Urban Wildlife Habitat projects fund close-to-home places to play and explore nature. As our urban areas are increasingly expanding and densifying, these grants protect important fish and wildlife habitat within five miles of densely populated areas, creating green refuges that help keep our ecosystems healthy and provide places to enjoy nature right in our backyards.
The Gazzam III purchase on Bainbridge Island in Kitsap County provides direct connection to salt water access on Port Orchard Bay and provides enlarged protection adjacent to the wildlife corridor. The addition of one parcel of 64 acres will provide public ownership totally 382 acres at Gazzam. This phase III purchase will enlarge protection for the freshwater category I wetland and related 26 wetland system, previously purchased in part with Urban Wildlife Habitat funding. The purchase now will benefit the site by providing land connection that link upland fresh water and salt water communities. On site vegetation is mixed coniferous and deciduous mature forest dominated by of Douglas-fir, western red cedar, western hemlock, red alder and big-leaf maple. The understory is thick and diverse with salal and huckleberry. Shoreline ownership here will benefit priority species including chinook, chum, steelhead, pink salmon and cutthroat. Purchase also affords area habitat for sandlance and surf smelt. Sediment and woody debris from the beach supports salmonid. In the upland area, site purchase protects priority species such as purple martin, bald eagle and pileated woodpecker. Numerous other song birds benefit from site purchase as well as neotropical migrant birds. The Gazzam III property enjoys support from the Suquamish Tribe, The Bainbridge Island Land Trust, Trout Unlimited, the Kitsap County Audubon Society and Washington Department of Wildlife, Region 6.