Urban Wildlife Habitat projects fund close-to-home places to play and explore nature. As our urban areas are increasingly expanding and densifying, these grants protect important fish and wildlife habitat within five miles of densely populated areas, creating green refuges that help keep our ecosystems healthy and provide places to enjoy nature right in our backyards.
The Washington Department of Natural Resources used this grant to buy 11 individual properties for a total of 53.77 acres in the Stavis Natural Resources Conservation Area and Kitsap Forest Natural Area Preserve near Bremerton. Development threatened these properties, which are a crucial part of an area that contains the highest quality occurrence of a rare forest community type and a variety of high quality wildlife habitats. More than 98 percent of similar forests more than 100 years old in the Puget Trough ecoregion have been lost since European settlement. The project area is one part of a much larger area of managed forestlands on the western Kitsap Peninsula that form one of the most important landscapes for biodiversity conservation in the Puget Trough. Stavis Creek, which runs through the site, is one of the best remaining Hood Canal salmon spawning habitats and is a designated recovery area for Hood Canal summer chum, which are threatened with extinction. The site also hosts an active bald eagle nest, a small great blue heron rookery, breeding mountain quail, Chinook salmon, cougar, and black bear.