Forterra has purchased 128 acres of high-quality estuarine and forest land on Willapa Bay in Pacific County for permanent conservation.
The property, known as Sunshine Coast, includes one mile of shoreline and is located near the point where the Naselle River feeds into southern Willapa Bay. The property contains forested uplands which provide valuable forest habitat for elk, deer and other wildlife, as well as picturesque views of the Bay to the south and west.
The land purchase announced on Feb. 18, 2014, was part of a larger effort to protect critical habitat in and around southern Willapa Bay. Sunshine Coast is close to other protected forest and estuarine properties including the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, The Nature Conservancy’s Ellsworth Creek Preserve, and other conserved properties along the lower Naselle River and Chetlo Harbor.
“For the past 10 years, Forterra has worked to conserve and protect estuarine, coastal wetland, and coastal forest properties in and around Willapa Bay, which is one of the most pristine estuaries in the U.S.,” said Mark Johnsen, Forterra Estuary Program Director. “The successful conservation of the Sunshine Coast property helps tie together a mosaic of conserved properties in the Willapa watershed, furthering benefits for wildlife and the ecosystem.”
Since 2010, Forterra has conserved more than 500 acres land in the south Willapa Bay area. The nearby Willapa National Wildlife Refuge contains 15,000 acres of federal protected wildlife habitat, home to elk, bear, many bird species, salmon, and more. Contiguous land conservation amplifies the beneficial impacts on the environment and wildlife.
In addition, this conservation will help improve water quality by protecting the Sunshine Coast shoreline and upland buffer. This helps keep the Willapa Bay ecosystem clean, which in turn, helps protect the largest commercial shellfish beds in Washington. Willapa is one of the five most productive areas in the world for oyster cultivation.
Forterra is an unconventional land trust that works across Washington’s communities and landscapes, from the ranches and shrub-steppe of the Yakima basin, to the estuaries, farms and forests of Washington’s coast, reaching more than 100 counties, cities, towns and rural communities. Working cooperatively with people and nature, Forterra drives land stewardship, management and planning; innovative programs and policies; farming and forestry approaches; community ownership opportunities; and development solutions. Visit www.forterra.org.