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 Department of Natural Resources will use this grant to buy 71.8 acres at the south end of Merrill Lake, in Cowlitz County. The land includes old growth forest and expands on 2,170 acres of forest, wetland, riverbank, and lakeshore habitat already protected. These lands provide important habitat for deer, elk, waterfowl, migratory songbirds, amphibians, raptors, and bobcats. Other species living there include coastal tailed frog, pileated woodpecker, Vaux’s swift, western toad, cascade torrent salamander, and bald eagle. Cherished by community fly-fishing groups, Merrill Lake is one of the few fly-fishing-only lakes in the state. Campers and visitors also visit the lake and the campground and picnic area nearby.