- Forterra conserves 23-acre property in Chehalis River Basin
- The basin is Washington’s second-largest intact watershed
- The conservation effort is part of a larger Chehalis Basin multi-stakeholder strategy to restore habitat and mitigate floods
GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY, WA —Forterra, a Washington-based nonprofit land trust, purchased a 23-acre property along the East Fork of the Satsop River near Schafer State Park as part of a larger strategy to conserve and restore salmon and other aquatic species’ habitat in the Chehalis River Basin. Restoration on the property will begin this summer.
The 23-acre of floodplain land is in the East Fork Satsop River Valley in Grays Harbor County, north of Montesano and close to Schafer State Park. The property has 1,500 feet of riverfront habitat and sits adjacent to a 39-acre property conserved by Forterra in 2019.
“Climate change is warming waters and increasing flooding,” said Forterra president and CEO Michelle Connor. “By conserving and restoring floodplains, we’re ensuring better salmon habitat and protecting homes.”
At nearly two million acres, the Chehalis River Basin is the second-largest intact watershed in the state, with hundreds of miles of tributaries feeding the main stem of the Chehalis River. The basin, second only to the Columbia River watershed, stretches from the foothills of Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier to the Pacific Coast, on the ancestral lands of The Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation and the Quinault Indian Nation.
Climate change has worsened flooding within the basin and diminished habitat for aquatic life. In 2007, a 500-year flood spread throughout the basin and cut off Interstate 5 for several days. In 2016, the Chehalis Basin Board was created to oversee a two-pronged remediation plan: habitat restoration and flood mitigation. Soon after, work began on an Aquatic Species Restoration Plan (ASRP).
As part of the ASRP, Forterra and its partner Capitol Land Trust work with landowners to enact conservation easements on properties that restrict development or to purchase the property outright to aid in restoration efforts. The Washington State Legislature provides funding for this effort through the Office of Chehalis Basin. Crews will help restore natural floodplains, plant native species, create habitats such as engineered logjams that stabilize stream banks and restore stream and alcoves to help provide salmon and other aquatic species habitat.
Forterra has been working in the Chehalis Basin for more than 20 years to conserve wetlands, critical shorelines and river floodplains. In addition to Capitol Land Trust, Forterra has partnered with the Chehalis River Basin Land Trust and the Quinault Indian Nation to protect hundreds of acres. These efforts ensure that habitat restoration and flooding serve residents and wildlife alike.
The goal of these efforts is to restore 550 miles of riverfront over the next 50 years, the majority of which are privately owned. To learn more about Forterra’s work in the Chehalis River Basin, visit www. forterra.org/subpage/chehalis-river-basin.
Managing Director of Media Relations and Storytelling, Forterra
Forterra is a Washington-based nonprofit that enhances, supports, and stewards the region’s most precious resources — its communities and its ecosystems. Forterra conserves and stewards land, develops innovative policies, and supports sustainable rural and urban development. In its 30-year history, Forterra has helped conserve more than 250,000 acres. Its work stretches from the farmlands and river canyons of Yakima to the estuaries and forests of Washington’s coastline, reaching more than 100 counties, cities, and towns. Visit www.forterra.org.