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.
This acquisition proposal will add land (under threat of logging, and residential and commercial conversion) to the North Bay Natural Area Preserve, which contains a high quality and highly diverse array of salt water and freshwater wetland communities of plant and animal species. The project area is of outstanding ecological quality and lies on the north side of the vast Grays Harbor estuary. This unique coastal wetland is a mosaic of freshwater wetland, sphagnum bog and bog forest, and coastal marsh community. In addition, North Bay NAP contains a portion of a forested coastal berm, estuarine scrub-shrub habitat and a variety of upland second growth forest communities. It stands out as being the premier site of its kind in both the Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay estuary complexes. These habitats at North Bay NAP support a wide variety of common and rare wetland and upland wildlife species. The Olympic mudminnow, a State listed sensitive fish species, spends its life in the pools and channels of the freshwater wetland areas. The Makah copper, a butterfly that is a State candidate for listing, experiences its full life cycle in the quiet shrub habitat of the preserve. Tidelands associated with the preserve support a variety of shorebirds, waterfowl and the peregrine falcons that feed on them. The wetlands provide high quality habitats for several species of amphibians, including red-legged frogs.