Getting creative in Kitsap

- Land Trusts at Work

Source: Great Peninsula Conservancy

Great Peninsula Conservancy and Hood Canal Coordinating Council partner to conserve and restore Big Beef tidelands

Great Peninsula Conservancy and Hood Canal Coordinating Council partner to conserve and restore Big Beef tidelands.

A conservation partnership has protected 12 acres of tidelands and uplands on Hood Canal near Seabeck. Great Peninsula Conservancy (GPC), the regional land trust operating in Kitsap, north Mason, and west Pierce counties, worked with the Hood Canal Coordinating Council (HCCC), which sponsors the Hood Canal In-Lieu Fee Mitigation Program, to secure the property.

The new preserve protects 1,083 feet of shoreline, intertidal habitat, and the outlet of Big Beef Creek. It will help ensure the health of the endangered salmon and trout in Big Beef Creek as well as habitat that supports shellfish, forage fish, and birds.

HCCC’s In-Lieu Fee Program is designed to mitigate ecological damage done in one area by protecting and restoring already degraded habitat elsewhere. In this case, conservation of the 12-acre property will contribute to mitigation for development activities at Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor. Through the partnership, GPC will take ownership of the property and will be responsible for stewardship of the preserve. HCCC will work to restore the habitat to its natural condition.

A big part of the restoration work will be the removal of the structures on the property.

“We are working towards off-site relocation for several of the structures. Other restoration work will include the removal of a remnant creosote pile pier and a concrete vault box. Removing invasive plant species and reintroducing native plant species will be a multi-year challenge as well, but we are committed to restoring the health and balance of this important ecosystem,” said GPC’s Executive Director Nathan Daniel.

The area is an important feeding spot for eagles. In the summer at low tide, large numbers of bald eagles, great blue herons, and kingfishers can be found on the tidelands feeding off the fish and shellfish that dwell in the intertidal habitat. Preservation of this habitat is critical and through the In-Lieu Fee Program the tidelands will be protected in perpetuity.

“When we heard the property was for sale, GPC jumped at the opportunity to protect this shoreline. We feel that this is the best outcome for the property, and we know that many of our fellow community members feel the same,” said Daniel.

As with many of GPC’s preserves, and with all In-Lieu Fee mitigation sites, public access is not allowed in order to successfully execute restoration and permanently preserve and protect the sensitive habitats that occur on these properties.