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Land | Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Feds grant $5.6 million for Northwest wetlands

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar just announced more than $19 million in grants for 24 conservation projects on more than 5,900 acres of coastal habitats through the 2011 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program.

In the Pacific Region, grants totaling nearly $5.6 million will support the acquisition and restoration of 2,478 acres at seven locations ranging from Willapa Bay, Drayton Harbor and Tarboo-Dabob Bay in Washington to Tillamook Bay and the Coquille River Valley in Oregon.

They include $2 million for acquisition of 1,080 acres of land in north and central Willapa Bay in southwest Washington, $1 million for acquisition of 100 acres in the Tillamook Bay estuary on Oregon’s north coast, and $317,000 for acquisition of 76 acres in the Miami River Basin, which empties into Tillamook Bay. A grant of $1 million will go toward acquisition of 622 acres of land in the Coquille Valley on Oregon’s south coast.

The grants were awarded to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Washington departments of ecology and fish and wildlife, and they require matching funds.

From the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:


Coquille Valley Wetland Conservation and Restoration – The Oregon

Watershed Enhancement Board was awarded $1 million to help acquire and

restore approximately 622 acres of coastal wetlands in the Coquille Valley

on the southern Oregon coast for permanent conservation, protection and

restoration by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).  This

project is the first phase of a larger initiative by ODFW to conserve and

restore approximately 3,000 acres in the lowlands along the lower Coquille

River encompassing some of the most productive wetland habitats on the

Oregon Coast.  The total cost of the first phase is $2,506,000. Protection

and restoration of freshwater wetlands would complement downstream

estuarine restoration efforts on Bandon National Wildlife Refuge.  This

project would protect nesting, feeding, and nursery areas for a diversity

of at-risk fish and wildlife species, including Oregon Coast coho salmon,

coastal cutthroat trout, bald eagle, purple martin, willow flycatcher,

western meadowlark, and Townsend’s big-eared bat.  The Nature Conservancy

is providing technical and financial support for this effort through the

Northwest Wildlife Conservation Initiative.

Miami Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Project – The Oregon Watershed

Enhancement Board was awarded $317,700 to help acquire and restore

approximately 76.2 acres in the Miami River Basin in Tillamook Bay, on the

northern coast of Oregon, including 56.7 acres of nationally declining

wetlands.  This proposal is the second phase of a two-phase project to

improve aquatic habitat by enhancing the tidal channel connection,

restoring the historic character of the site vegetation by reducing

invasive species and planting native vegetation, enhancing riparian

corridors to reduce the water temperature, and permanently protecting the

project area.  The total cost of the second phase is $567,700.  The Miami

River watershed is one of five watersheds that drain into Tillamook Bay on

the north coast of Oregon.  The Miami River watershed has lost much of its

original estuarine, emergent, scrub-shrub, and forested wetland areas to

diking, draining, and the conversion of land to agriculture.  The Miami

River wetlands support a wide variety of plants and wildlife, including

all five species of Tillamook Bay salmonids: coho), Chinook, chum,

steelhead, and cutthroat trout.

Tillamook Bay Wetlands Acquisition and Restoration – Oregon Watershed

Enhancement Board was awarded $1 million to help acquire four parcels

totaling 100 acres of declining wetlands in Tillamook Bay on the northern

Oregon Coast.  This project also includes the restoration of 484 acres of

intertidal marsh that includes 377 acres of land acquired through a 1999

National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant.  The total project cost is

$3,350,000.  Numerous studies have identified the Tillamook Bay Estuary as

a high priority for wetland conservation and restoration.  This project is

the largest wetland restoration effort proposed to date in Oregon.  This

project will provide nesting, feeding, and nursery areas for a diverse

array of at-risk fish and wildlife species such as the northern red-legged

frog, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, Pacific lamprey and Chinook, chum and

coho salmon.  Tillamook Bay represents the southernmost boundary and the

largest remaining population of chum salmon.  Restoration of these tidal

habitats is crucial to protecting this population.


Central Willapa Bay Conservation Project – The Washington State Department

of Ecology, in partnership with the Columbia Land Trust, was awarded $1

million to help acquire and permanently protect four parcels totaling 575

acres of highly threatened, pristine, declining coastal wetlands, riparian

areas and associated mature and old growth conifer forest on Willapa Bay

in southwest Washington.  The total project cost is $1,405,000.  Willapa

Bay is the second largest estuary on North America’s west coast and is one

of the most pristine estuaries in the United States.  The unique habitats

of Willapa Bay include a variety of estuarine wetlands, freshwater

wetlands, lakes, old growth and mature conifer forest, sand dunes,

beaches, and grasslands that support a diversity of wildlife and plants.

The project area is home to threatened salmon, green sturgeon, marbled

murrelet, brown pelican and bald eagle.  The four parcels are located near

the 15,000-acre Willapa Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Drayton Harbor Estuary:  Coastal Wetland Protection and Restoration – The

Washington State Department of Ecology, in partnership with the Whatcom

Land Trust and the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, was awarded

$340,000 to help acquire, restore and protect in perpetuity eight acres of

estuarine habitat at the confluence of California Creek and Drayton Harbor

in northwestern Washington.  The total project cost is $496,000.  The

project area includes 1,700 feet of freshwater and saltwater frontage and

contains both estuarine and palustrine wetlands, of which six acres are

nationally declining wetlands.  The project will also restore the wetland

hydrology; remove noxious weeds and establish native plants; and remove a

dilapidated house, outbuildings, driveway and culverts.  The property is

adjacent to state-owned tidally inundated mud flats and is within the

100-year floodplain of California Creek.  Upon completion of the project,

public access for passive recreation will be accommodated, including a

parking lot and educational signage.

North River/Willapa Bay Conservation – The Washington State Department of

Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) was awarded $1 million to help acquire and

restore 505 acres of estuarine and freshwater marsh, and forested riparian

and shoreline in northern Willapa Bay in southwest Washington.  The total

project cost is $1,460,000.  Willapa Bay is regarded as one of the most

pristine estuaries in the United States and is the second largest estuary

on the west coast.  This project will protect an assemblage of high

quality wetlands, including estuarine, emergent salt marsh, marsh

scrub/shrub and freshwater forested wetlands.  The project area is

adjacent to 1,300 acres of coastal habitat already protected by WDFW and

the Cascade Land Conservancy, thus consolidating nearly 2,000 acres of

protected lands in north Willapa Bay, including property that otherwise

would be at risk of residential and commercial development.  The project

has wide support from a variety of partners, including the Cascade Land

Conservancy, the State Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Forever Fund,

and the USFWS Coastal Program.

Tarboo-Dabob Bay Acquisition and Restoration, Phase II – Washington State

Department of Ecology was awarded $1 million to help acquire and protect

in perpetuity eight properties making up approximately 108 acres within

the state-designated Dabob Bay Natural Area.  The total project cost is

$1,500,000.  This acquisition would complete a continuous nature preserve

surrounding Tarboo-Dabob Bay, one of the least developed coastal

embayments remaining in Puget Sound.  Four previous National Coastal

Wetland Conservation Grants have helped protect a total of 875 acres

fronting on the Bay.  This project will help protect highly productive

salmonid habitats and benefit a diversity of at-risk freshwater and

estuarine species, including five salmon stocks, forage fish species,

numerous shorebird, waterfowl, and land bird species.  This project is

essential for the continued success of the larger effort by 34 project

partners, including federal, state, tribal, shellfish grower and landowner

interests to protect wetlands of state and national significance.

Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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