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.
This project will allow permanent protection and management of a 33-acre Whidbey Island property that is integral to the recovery of the golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta), a plant listed as federally Threatened and state Endangered. The proposed NAP is located on the west side of Whidbey Island. The site supports one of only 11 populations of golden paintbrush remaining in the world. The Recovery Plan for golden paintbrush specifies that the protection of all existing populations is critical to the recovery of the species. The owner of this site has divided the property into five waterfront view lots with the intention to sell them for residential development. If not acquired now, one of the largest properties available for recovery of golden paintbrush will be permanently lost. Through acquisition and management, this site has a high potential for meeting or exceeding federal recovery goals for the species, and will be ideal for testing restoration techniques for both golden paintbrush and the coastal prairie on which it depends. This is a collaborative project between DNR and the Whidbey Camano Land Trust (WCLT). The purchase price for the property is $2 million. DNR and WCLT have already raised $1.5 million in federal funding. The intent of this project is to acquire a conservation easement on the 33 acre site. The site will be jointly owned by WCLT and DNR and managed specifically to benefit the golden paintbrush population.