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 Bainbridge Island Land Trust will use this grant to buy more than 61 acres of privately held forest to expand the Gazzam Nature Preserve area, creating 545 acres of protected and contiguous forest, wetland, lake, and shoreline habitats. These lands host the highest quality habitat on the island for sustaining common species such woodpeckers, Douglas squirrel, and northern flying squirrel as well as providing habitat for now-rare species such as northern saw-whet owls, northern pygmy owls, and ruffed grouse. The forest will be allowed to develop into true old-growth conditions, which are absent from Bainbridge Island. The area is a birding hot spot and is used for outdoor education. Upon purchase, there is an opportunity to add 2.2 miles of public trails to an existing 6-mile trail network. Bainbridge Island Land Trust will contribute more than $2.4 million in staff labor, a private grant, and donations of cash and labor.