Black River Riparian and Wetland Conservation Intitiative Phase II

Project Description

"This Programmatic Project Proposal represents Phase 2 of an extensive, landscape-scale conservation strategy that will protect and restore more than 5000 acres of significant floodplain wetland habitats and associated uplands located within the Black River watershed. The Black River is a tributary of the Chehalis River, the second largest watershed in Washington. The wetland habitats make up one of the largest undisturbed freshwater wetland systems remaining in all of Puget Sound. The river's diverse habitats include prairie oak woodlands, sphagnum bogs, wet prairies, alder bottoms, and w...

Project Map

Publicly Accessible: Yes
County: Grays Harbor County, WA; Thurston County, WA
Project Size:
  • 822.0 acres

Project Sites

  • Tract A: Black River II NAWCA
  • Tract B: Black River II NAWCA
  • Tract C: Black River II NAWCA
  • Tract D: Black River II NAWCA
  • Tract E: Black River II NAWCA
  • Tract F: Black River II NAWCA
  • Tract G: Black River II NAWCA
  • Tract H: Black River II NAWCA

Goals and Targets

Primary Motivations:

  • Conservation Mission
    The Capitol Land Trust. Capitol Land Trust seeks to maintain the coexistence of people, wildlife and the natural habitats that sustain us all, by working with groups and individuals at the local level to protect and conserve important lands. The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.

Primary Goals:

  • Improve wildlife habitat. The Black River watershed has extensive value for waterfowl and is identified as a target area within the Pacific Coast Joint Venture Strategic Plan Washington State Component. The PCJV plan recommends that 3000 acres of additional habitat be secured within the Black River. This project directly contributes to that goal by protecting river channel and floodplain habitats that will benefit a broad range of waterfowl and other wetland and riparian associated species. The project area supports a winter population of at least 15,000 ducks and geese, including nine priority species. The parcels included in this proposal are threatened by real estate development. Development has the potential to reduce or eliminate waterfowl use. Protecting these critical habitats will significantly benefit waterfowl by removing the threat of development and introducing management for long-term waterfowl productivity... As many as 3,000-5,000 American wigeon and 2,000-3,000 Ring-necked Ducks use the Black River floodplain for resting and feeding during fall migration. Wood ducks are rare in winter but are one of the most common species of nesting found in forested wetlands, sloughs and riparian areas. The wood duck utilizes these types of habitat on the project site for nesting. Up to 200 Canvasback ducks utilize the project area during migration and wintering periods. All of the “other priority species” listed will benefit greatly from protected and restored wetlands throughout the proposal areas. The majority of wetland restoration efforts will be focused on re-establishing a riparian buffer along sections of the Black River and its associated tributaries. This will greatly enhance habitat for neo-tropical bird populations, salmon, and other priority species. Other restoration activities include the control of invasive species, such as Scotch broom and reed canary grass. Finally ponds will be created over portions of Tract A using the natural hydrology of the site.
  • Public benefit: Multiple partners will manage approximately 822 acres of the new acquisition as permanently protected conservation areas. The protected areas will provide opportunities for environmental education, hiking, bird watching, biking, photography, sustainable agriculture, and a variety of other activities. One of the properties will also contain a portion of a future “Rails to Trails” project which will connect with the current trail system to form close to fifty miles of trails in Thurston County. Finally, more than 250 acres of Tract A that is permanently protected though this project will have explicit public access for hunting and fishing in cooperation with WDFW, and will provide a new public access point on the Black River.
    Progress: Public access is allowed on more than 1,000 acres of public property that is part of this project. Additional properties that are being acquired will remain in private ownership and will have different levels of access. Properties with donated conservation easements will not be required to have public access. Properties owned by The Nature Conservancy will have public access, which will involve use of trails and wildlife viewing. The future Thurston County Gate to Belmore trail will dissect Tract A of the project and will provide public access on the property along a paved rail road grade. The acreage protected by USFWS in the Black River refuge will be maintained and managed by USFWS. Finally, more than 250 acres of Tract A that is permanently protected though this project will have explicit public access for hunting and fishing in cooperation with WDFW, and will provide a new public access point on the Black River.
  • Engage new partners. Phase II of this project includes two new partners that have never participated in a Standard NAWCA project before: The South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust (SSCFLT)), which is also contributing more than 10% of the grant request as non-federal match for fee title purchase of 50 acres as a match contribution to this project. Ft. Lewis is contributing $100,000 in enhancement funding for tracts associated with this project. Finally, two of the private landowners who participated in Phase I of the project are providing additional match for Phase II of the project by protecting and restoring their lands with conservation easements.
  • Implement a landscape-scale conservation strategy that will protect and restore more than 5000 acres of significant floodplain wetland habitats and associated uplands located within the Black River watershed.
    Progress: The project succeeded in protecting 608 acres of property in perpetuity. Acquisition Summary Details (Tracts A, B, D, E, I, M): Black River Farm (Tract A, 211 acres) was purchased in fee by The Capitol Land Trust in 2012 with a yellow book appraisal of $530,000. Tract B (21 acres) was purchased in 2008 by Washington State Parks with state funding. A yellow book update on Tract B confirmed value of $1,700,000 and was completed in 2011. Tract D (220 acres) was protected by the Chehalis Tribe in 2009 with tribal funding for $670,000 and a yellow book appraisal update was completed in 2011. Tract E (35 acres) is a non-match property protected by USFWS as part of the Black River Wildlife Refuge in 2008 for $86,000. A yellow book updated appraisal is currently being conducted to ensure this value. Tract I (56 acres) was purchased in 2010 by The Capitol Land Trust with Thurston County funding for $300,000 and a yellow book appraisal update was completed in 2012. Tract M (65 acres) was the final property to be protected by The Capitol Land Trust in 2012 for $271,000. See Appendix [in Final Programmatic Report, attached] for Technical question #4 and #5 for planned versus actual table for details."

Consistent With Plans:

  • Other
    Pacific Coast Joint Venture Strategic Plan (1996 Update), Washington Partners in Flight Conservation Strategy (2000), U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan, North American Waterbird Conservation Plan
  • Watershed Plan
    The Chehalis Basin Salmon Habitat Restoration and Preservation Plan, The Chehalis Basin Watershed Management Plan
  • Conservation Plan
    Nisqually Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan, The Nature Conservancy Black River Conservation Action Plan,

Targeted Habitats:

  • Aquatic
  • Forests and Woodlands
    • Deciduous Forests and Woodlands
  • Wetlands and Riparian Habitats

Targeted Species:

  • American Wigeon Anas americana
  • Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  • Brant Branta bernicla
  • Canvasback Aythya valisineria
  • Common Eider Somateria mollissima
  • Dusky Canada Goose Branta canadensis occidentalis
  • Greater Scaup Aythya marila
  • Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons
  • Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
  • Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
  • Northern Pintail Anas acuta
  • Northern Red-legged Frog Rana aurora
  • Oregon Spotted Frog Rana pretiosa
  • Oregon Vesper Sparrow Pooecetes gramineus affinis
  • Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
  • Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus
  • Redhead Aythya americana
  • Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
  • Streaked Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris strigata
  • Trumpeter Swan Cygnus buccinator
  • Western Gray Squirrel Sciurus griseus
  • White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
  • Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii
  • Wood Duck Aix sponsa

Conservation Actions

Action Status Start Year End Year
Conservation easement ---- -- --
Land acquisition for conservation (fee simple, etc.) ---- -- --
Plant native riparian, wetland or aquatic vegetation ---- -- --
Plant native trees and/or shrubs, herbs, forbs, grasses ---- -- --
Control invasive plants ---- -- --
Restore or re-establish wetland hydrology ---- -- --

Outcomes

Is the success of this project's actions being monitored? Yes

Monitoring Activities
Easement restrictions will ensure that wetland habitat health and integrity are maintained. The easements will be monitored annually by The Capitol Land Trust.

Quick Facts

Owning Organization

Pacific Coast Joint Venture

Managing Organization

The Nature Conservancy
(Non-Governmental Organization)

Contact Information

Lora Leschner

General Information

Project #: 100835
Last Updated: May 31, 2013

Project Relations

Partners

Capitol Land Trust
Chehalis Tribe
Fort Lewis
Natural Resource Conservation Service
Pacific Coast Joint Venture
South of the South Community Farmland Trust
Thurston County
Thurston County
US Fish and Wildlife Service
WA Dept of Fish and Widlife
Washington State Parks

Links

The Nature Conservancy, Washington

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