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.
The Department of Natural Resources will use this grant to acquire a life estate on 2.66 acres of forested wetland buffer for inclusion in the Schumacher Creek Natural Area Preserve (NAP). The Natural Area preserves a rare example of Puget Lowland wetland and forested bog, along with the southern headwaters of Schumacher Creek, a fish-bearing stream. This project will acquire one property at Schumacher Creek NAP in Mason County. Property A is immediately adjacent to a protected low elevation freshwater wetland and also includes forest with snags and logs, which WDFW classify as Priority Habitat features. Acquisition of this property will protect water quality in the wetland system from stormwater runoff and wastewater leaching.Schumacher Creek NAP preserves three rare plant communities. One of the plant communities, the Sitka alder/skunk cabbage – water parsley community, has a very restricted geographic range, it is only found in the Puget Lowlands, and is critically imperiled globally. Sitka alder is not generally found in the Puget Lowlands but is usually a higher-elevation species. The second community, the shore pine/bog Labrador tea/Sphagnum community, is ranked as globally vulnerable. The third community is the red alder/salmonberry/slough sedge/skunk cabbage community. The primary conservation opportunity provided by this project is increased protection for the forested bog, as well as opportunities for scientific research and environmental education.