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The organization has bought property on the west shore of Dabob Bay on Hood Canal, near Quilcene, for fish-habitat management and conservation as part of the resource area.
The privately owned property was being marketed for residential development but now will be added to the mosaic of protected lands around the shoreline of Dabob Bay, also known as Tarboo-Dabob Bay, for the important salmon-spawning stream at the bay's head, the organization said.
"To restore Puget Sound, we need clean water and healthy beaches," said Karen Anderson, the group's Washington state director.
"By buying this property, we're able to protect shorelines, bluffs and forests that are essential to the water quality in this natural nursery for shellfish and ultimately in Puget Sound."
The purchase price of the land was not available.
The Nature Conservancy focuses on reconnecting coastal forests and freshwater systems to the marine waters of Hood Canal and Puget Sound, the group said in a statement.
Protecting and restoring natural shorelines in Dabob Bay is key to the overall restoration of Hood Canal and Puget Sound, the group said.
The bay is one of the largest and highest-quality salt-marsh estuaries in Puget Sound and is a vital resource for orcas, chinook and chum salmon; forage fish such as sand lance and surf smelt; many species of shorebirds; and shellfish such as the native Olympia oyster -- as well as commercial species.
In addition, there are six family-owned shellfish companies on the bay that support about 25 jobs, and protecting the shorelines supports those jobs, the group said.
The conservancy has a history of conserving the natural resources in Dabob Bay.
In 1986, the group established a conservation easement on one of the three coastal spits.
The state Department of Natural Resources established the original boundary of the Dabob Bay Natural Area to protect the other two coastal spits and surrounding salt marsh and forests, but in 2009, the natural-area boundary was expanded.
That allowed DNR to work with willing landowners to acquire land or conservation easements to add to the area.
The conservancy also recently bought and restored 30 acres of coastal forest one mile north of the recently acquired property and dedicated Jefferson County's Broad Spit Park, located just south of Hopkins, for shoreline habitat conservation.