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The $701,250 grant from the National Wetland Conservation Program will go toward restoring almost one mile of stream habitat and 15 acres of streamside habitat, and acquiring 43 acres of coastal wetland, streamside and upland habitat through conservation agreements.
The Jefferson County Land Trust is adding another $318,750 to the project.
The grant was one of five, totaling nearly $4 million, that Ecology secured to help return 1,100 acres of coastal wetlands and connected freshwater and upland habitat areas in Jefferson, Pacific, Thurston and Whatcom counties back to natural conditions.
In addition to Jefferson Land Trust, Ecology also is working with the Lummi tribe, Columbia Land Trust, Capitol Land Trust, Cascade Land Conservancy and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Wetlands naturally help control floods, filter drinking water and keep erosion in check, Ecology said in a statement issued Tuesday.
They also provide habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds and other wildlife species, and serve as nurseries for salmon and other marine life, the agency said, adding that coastal wetlands help sustain clam, oyster and mussel beds as well as other shellfish species, an industry worth more than $80 million annually to the state economy.
Other awards are:
• $1 million to acquire 125 acres on the Long Beach Peninsula in Pacific County. Columbia Land Trust is adding an additional $476,000 in cash and other land to provide conservation easement protection of 890 acres.
• $1 million to protect 705 acres for the Stanley Point/South Willapa Bay conservation project in Pacific County. Cascade Land Conservancy is adding $559,000. Five miles of shoreline in south Willapa Bay will be permanently protected.
• $700,500 to permanently protect 160 acres of Nooksack River estuary wetlands near Smuggler's Slough in Whatcom County. The Lummi tribe is adding another $467,000.
• $531,745 to acquire 20 acres of forested and coastal wetland habitat along the eastern shore of Totten Inlet in Thurston County. Capitol Land Trust will add $286,440 to protect the 1,400 feet of undeveloped coastal shoreline and connected forested and estuary wetlands.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service established the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program in 1990.
For information, see tinyurl.com/yk3uwvs.