Whitewater Reach: High-Quality Shoreline Habitat

The Land Trust has purchased 13 acres of exceptionally high-quality shoreline habitat in the Whitewater Reach of the Nisqually River, near Yelm, which is rated highest priority for recovery of threatened Chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

The property is undeveloped and contains the most intact riparian forest in our 237-acre Yelm Shoreline Protected Area. The land was acquired from the estate of the late Barb Wood and Jim Park, who had long managed it to enhance its wildlife values.

About half of the property’s $125,000 acquisition cost was funded by a state Salmon Recovery Funding Board grant. The remainder had been proposed for funding in Thurston County’s 2017 Conservation Futures round, but the county has frozen the program while it negotiates with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over Mazama pocket gopher protection.

“This property’s a jewel,” said Executive Director Joe Kane. “We simply couldn’t lose it. We were able to divert other funding, and that might hurt us down the road. But you have to go for it.”

Permanently protecting the property also keeps alive the vision of a shoreline trail along the Whitewater Reach. “This property would be in the heart of that trail,” said Kane.