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.
This project aims to conserve 151 acres of land in the Hoko River watershed that is identified as a high priority in The Western Strait of Juan de Fuca Salmonid Habitat Conservation Plan, through acquisition of land fee-simple. Research of Water Resource Inventory Area 19 in 2011 resulted in that Habitat Conservation Plan, which provided the data to prioritize conservation of specific parcels most important for fish productivity. All properties are located in Water Resource Inventory Area 19, and are within the Hoko River watershed, including the mainstem of the Hoko River, the Lower Hoko wetland complex, and Talbot Creek. The primary types of habitat to be protected include grazing habitat, mature forests, one of the largest wetland complexes in WRIA 19, and riparian habitat. The primary species supported are Chinook, chum, coho, steelhead, and cutthroat. This area is also used by river otter, small mammals (mice, chipmunks, squirrels,etc.), small mustelids (weasels, skunks, etc.), birds (hawks, eagles, waterfowl, heron, corvids, songbirds, migratory birds, etc.), deer, elk, coyote, bobcat, bear, and pollinators (bees, butterflies, and moths). There will likely be access for passive recreational activities such as bird watching and fishing. Multiple benefits include the flexibility to allow research on the property, including monitoring of fish and wildlife populations; climate resilience is enhanced; and restoration and enhancement is possible in the future.