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 objective of this project is to acquire three priority parcels (approximately 45 acres), for inclusion in the Kennedy Creek NAP. Parcels include the remaining privately owned salt marsh vegetation in the Kennedy Creek estuary, Riparian Protection and tidally influenced portions of Schneider Creek and upland forest habitat. Kennedy Creek NAP protects three high quality intertidal salt marsh ecosystems; two are listed as Priority 3 and one is listed as Priority 2 in the 2003 DNR Natural Heritage Plan. High quality estuaries with saltmarsh vegetation dominated by native species are now relatively rare in the Puget Trough ecoregion. This estuary, protected by the Kennedy Creek NAP, provides critical resting, feeding and overwintering habitat for migrating and resident shorebirds and waterfowl including dunlin, greater yellowlegs, black-bellied plovers and sandpipers. The site also supports a healthy population of native salmon, bald eagles and marbled murrelets (both listed as Federally Threatened species), and peregrine falcon (listed as a Federal Species of Concern). In partnership with the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group and Kennedy Creek Advisory Committee, the Kennedy Creek NAP estuary has been incorporated into the interpretive salmon trail tour during the chum-spawning season.