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.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife used this grant to buy approximately 180 acres on the Kitsap Peninsula near Belfair to protect and, plans in the future to enhance estuarine and riparian habitat. With adjacent land owned by the department and land trusts, the project will protect more than 280 acres of quality habitat, nearly the entire lower Union River estuary. Permanently preserving this land will protect the habitat functions for the entire area and facilitate estuarine habitat restoration. Salt marsh habitat is a high priority for protection and restoration. Hood Canal and the Union River support federally protected Hood Canal summer chum and Puget Sound Chinook salmon. Young chum and salmon depend upon estuaries and shallow, nearshore waters for food and refuge from predators. Existing trails along the dike will remain, allowing the public an opportunity to view a salt marsh habitat restoration project in action.