The North Olympic Land Trust and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe have signed an agreement with a local landowner to jointly purchase and conserve 104 acres along the Dungeness River, the organizations announced last week.
The property, dubbed “River’s Edge,” will cost the entities about $1.4 million, and the land trust is seeking to raise $425,000 to complete the purchase.
“The River’s Edge project gives our community an exciting opportunity to invest in a land purchase that will simultaneously conserve precious local farmland and restore valuable floodplain habitat,” Tom Sanford, North Olympic Land Trust Executive Director, said last week.
The River’s Edge property is bordered on the west by the Dungeness River and along the east by Towne Road. Directly to the north are 38 acres of active dairy farmland permanently conserved by the land trust and Clallam County in 2008.
Following the purchase, the land trust will conserve 64 acres of the River’s Edge property as farmland, a move they say will help “preserve the strong agricultural tradition of the Dungeness Valley.”
About 40 acres of land along the river will be reconnected with the Dungeness River floodplain after a planned levee setback, land trust officials said. This move will support salmon recovery and boost overall ecosystem health, they said.
Among the fish that utilize the river are Chinook salmon, summer chum, bull trout and steelhead — fish federally listed on the Endangered Species Act, they noted.
Public access will be maintained through a walking path along the relocated levee.
“We feel fortunate that the property owner is willing to work with the Tribe and Land Trust, giving the community a chance to purchase the property for farming and habitat before listing it on the public market,” Sanford said.
“This is a huge opportunity for the community to demonstrate their commitment to local land conservation.”
Funding already secured by the land trust and tribe amount to about $1 million. A local donor has committed to match all gifts to this campaign up to $200,000, North Olympic Land Trust officials said last week.
For more project information and to make a donation, see NorthOlympicLandTrust.org or call 360-417-1815 ext 4.