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.
The Department of Natural Resources will use this grant to purchase approximately 80 acres in the Kennedy Creek Natural Area Preserve. The project area will increase protection for one of the few remaining high-quality salt marsh communities in Puget Sound, including vital habitat for migrating shorebirds and salmon. It includes the protection of a segment of Schneider Creek which supports the health of the salt marsh ecosystems. The site is located off Highway 101 near the Mason-Thurston County line, approximately 12 miles west of Olympia.