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 objective of the project is to acquire conservation easements to protect in perpetuity the entire Riparian Protection habitat corridor of Martha John Creek, about 2 miles from the headwaters at Miller Lake to the estuary in Port Gamble Bay. The Creek is important to fish and wildlife, including coho salmon (SASSI depressed stock) and chum salmon, sea-run cutthroat trout, bear, otter, pileated woodpecker, great blue heron, osprey and bald eagle. The stream corridor is unique because it contains a wide diversity of critical habitat types in good condition, including Miller Lake, large open-water wetlands, stream and estuary lagoon. A portion of Port Gamble Bay at the mouth of the creek was decertified for shellfish harvest in 1996 due to fecal coliform pollution. Subsequently, the creek was identified as a high priority for protection and restoration in the S. Port Gamble Bay Shellfish Closure Response Plan (part of the 1997 Upper Hood Canal Watershed Action Plan). Major livestock fencing projects have been completed at several strategic locations. Long term protection of Riparian Protection zones along the creek is now the goal. Community outreach to obtain conservation easements on the creek is included in the scope of work for the 1998 CCWF “Port Gamble Bay Watershed Restoration Project.” Project partners are the Kitsap Conservation District, Kitsap Land Trust, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and Kitsap County. An endowment will be established for monitoring and stewardship.