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Island County shoreline protected by Nature Conservancy

A map provided by The Nature Conservancy shows Livingston Bay nearshore acquisition.  - Image courtesy of The Nature Conservancy.
A map provided by The Nature Conservancy shows Livingston Bay nearshore acquisition.
— image credit: Image courtesy of The Nature Conservancy.

The Nature Conservancy has acquired about 43 acres on Livingston Bay off Camano Island, adding what it describes in a news release issued today as "a rare pocket estuary and mature shoreline forest to the more than 7,000 acres of tidelands already protected by the Whidbey Camano Land Trust and the Conservancy in Port Susan Bay."

This acquisition, directly across from the Conservancy’s Port Susan Bay Preserve, is an important one for efforts to restore Puget Sound. Shoreline development is a tremendous challenge for conservation in Puget Sound, because it often means competing with the private sector for top-dollar views. The pocket estuary, upland forests and bluffs preserved by this acquisition are all essential for a healthy Puget Sound.

A pocket estuary is a small sub-estuary that forms behind a spit or barrier within a larger estuary system. They provide important habitat for juvenile chinook salmon.

This is seen as another key acquisition in the Conservancy’s efforts with the Alliance for Puget Sound Shorelines; a collaborative effort between the Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land and People For Puget Sound to protect and restore vital habitat around Puget Sound.

“The project is a showcase for how the conservation community can effectively collaborate to restore the health of Puget Sound,” said Karen Anderson, Washington director for the Conservancy, in the news release. “This acquisition would not have been possible without the work of many partners, particularly Whidbey Camano Land Trust, which laid the groundwork for the project by establishing the connection with the landowner and submitting the first grant applications.”

“We’re delighted with the Conservancy’s addition of this important Camano Island property to the larger protection effort occurring in the biologically rich Greater Skagit-Stillaguamish Delta,” said Pat Powell, executive director of the Whidbey Camano Land Trust.

In addition to the Land Trust, Livingston Bay neighbors, particularly Ron and Shelia Pera, Island County Commissioner John Dean, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife offered important support in developing the project. Skagit Audubon and Island County Beach Watchers are also volunteering their time to assist with restoration monitoring. Funds for this project were provided by a variety of sources, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grant program, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, and private funds from Boeing, the Doris Duke Northwest Wildlife Conservation Initiative and individual donors. Private donors Ann and Jim Nicholson, who own a home on Port Susan Bay, have donated $300,000 to this project to serve as a matching fund for private donations to the Conservancy’s work in Puget Sound.

Visit The Nature Conservancy at www.nature.org/washington for more information.

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