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 proposal is for the acquisition of high priority properties within three Puget Trough estuarine wetland natural area preserves (NAPs). These NAPs contain the highest quality estuarine wetlands and associated uplands remaining in the Puget Trough. Dabob Bay contains one of the two highest quality coastal spits with native vegetation remaining in the Puget Trough region. This site contains two types of very high quality intertidal salt marsh communities and associated native vegetation, and is also a very important natural oyster spawning ground, and provides important habitat for shorebirds and salmon. Kennedy Creek includes three diverse tidal river and salt marsh communities, and is one of the three highest quality coastal marshes remaining in the southern Puget Trough. This site supports a distinct population of native salmon and is a critical over wintering area for Dunlin, Greater Yellow Legs, Black-Bellied Plovers, Migratory Sandpipers and other shorebirds. The preserve is highly visible to Highway 101 travellers and is a popular bird-watching area. The coastal salt marsh at Skookum Inlet is in excellent condition. The native marsh is intact and bounded along its upland margin by a mixed old second growth forest community. Three types of saltwater marsh occur here, all of which are listed as priorities for protection in the Washington State Natural Heritage Plan. This proposed development at Kennedy Creek NAP will include an educational interpretive site with signs, parking area, a boardwalk out to the wetland, benches, and bird blinds. The other two sites will have site information signs developed and installed.