Activities on Our Protected Areas

Connecting Students with Conservation in the Ohop Valley
In November, the Land Trust partnered with the Nisqually River Education Project to bring over 300 elementary and middle-school students to the Ohop Valley to plant trees on one of our properties. The site had long ago been cleared for pasture, and the restoration project was designed to reforest the Ohop Creek floodplain, which meanders through the 30-acre property. Over the course of a week, 18 classes of students helped to plant 1,500 native trees and shrubs on about 2.5 acres!

The Nisqually River Education Project connects local students with conservation work in the Nisqually Watershed. The Land Trust really enjoys partnering on these projects. Not only does it help restore our native habitats, but we also get to watch young people learn about their environment. The kids love getting muddy, finding worms, and getting out of the classroom. We are already looking forward to our planned events next fall!

Exploring New Ideas with Microsoft
How can Microsoft technology be leveraged to maximize conservation in the Nisqually Watershed? That’s the question the company’s Environmental Sustainability team explored with Land Trust Executive Director Joe Kane when it visited our Mount Rainier Gateway Forest Reserve in mid-October.

Over the past two years, Microsoft and the Land Trust partnered to complete the first carbon-credit transaction in the Pacific Northwest. The project helped protect habitat for at least fifteen “at risk” species in the Reserve and was the equivalent of taking 6,600 carbon-emitting cars off the road.

Jump-Starting Restoration on the Mashel River
Engineered logjams, or ELJs, jump-start habitat restoration in salmon-producing rivers where the natural supply of timber has been depleted: Logs are piled up to change the river’s hydraulics, which immediately increases the complexity of pools and riffles and provides sheltered alcoves for juvenile fish until replanted forests mature.

Four ELJs were installed this summer on Land Trust property near the confluence of the Mashel and Little Mashel rivers. Next summer, five more ELJs will be installed on adjoining properties owned by the Land Trust and the Town of Eatonville.

With the early start to the fall rains, river flows increased and returning Chinook were already being spotted nearby.