The State Lands Restoration and Enhancement category provides funding to two state agencies to help repair damaged plant and animal habitat. These grants focus on resource preservation and protection of public lands. Projects in this category help bring important natural areas and resources back to their original functions by improving the self sustaining and ecological functionality of sites.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will use this grant to restore imperiled grassland balds and rare and high-quality forests on Hope Island Natural Area Preserve, located in Skagit County. The focus of this phase of restoration will be removal of invasive annual grasses and encroaching native conifers, and seeding and planting of native forbs and grasses. This project will build on past restoration efforts, with a goal of increasing the cover and resilience of native plant communities to a point where only continued spot treatments of invasives will be needed. The grassland balds support over 50 native plant species, including Washington’s largest population of Indian Valley brodiaea, a species thought to extirpated from the state until re-discovered in 2021. The majority of Hope Island is dominated by two Douglas-fir-western hemlock forest communities matrixed with a rare Pacific madrone forest community, in a mosaic of old growth and maturing second growth arising from past fires and wind events; these forests have been recognized as some of the best examples of lowland old growth forest in the Puget Trough ecoregion. Past restoration projects have significantly reduced the abundance of invasive forest weeds, including English holly and spurge laurel. This phase of the project will focus on removing new germinants and a newly discovered population of bur chervil, ensuring that regular management efforts will be sufficient to maintain the integrity of these communities in the long term.