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 project is located on the west side of Lummi Mountain on Lummi Island. WDFW seeks to complete protection of the Lummi Island Natural Area Preserve (NAP) and to leverage protection of 355 additional acres by private partner organizations. This two-phase project would leverage more than $2 million in private funds and create one of the largest contiguous protected areas in the San Juan islands. The project area contains seven WDFW priority habitats (mature Douglas fir forest, snag-rich areas, cliffs, caves, talus, wetlands, and vegetated marine shoreline), nesting habitat for several species of concern, and the best example of the Douglas-fir/baldhip rose-oceanspray native plant community in the Puget Trough. Phase I of the project would protect an 80-acre parcel that is likely to be logged and developed within the next two years if protection is not secured. The landowners have been contacted and are willing sellers. Phase II would protect an additional 235 acres, completing protection of the Lummi Island NAP. WDFW would ensure long-term protection of the acquired land interests through cooperative agreements with Lummi Island Heritage Trust (LIHT), a local land conservancy. LIHT is broadly supported by the local community, would monitor access at no cost, and would facilitate research and educational opportunities.