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Washington State Department of Natural Resources Acquires 320 Acres of Land in the Stavis Natural Resources Conservation Area
October 18, 2006

OLYMPIA - The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announces the recent purchase of 320 acres of land in Kitsap County that is the highest priority for conservation in the Stavis Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA). The upper reaches of West Fork Stavis Creek and an unnamed tributary cross the property; and both contain chains of lakes and wetlands along the stream corridors. Inclusion of this property in the Stavis NRCA will protect high-quality fish, riparian and wetland habitat.

The property was purchased with grant funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund and Washington States Wildlife and Recreation Program. DNR has remaining funds in both grants to purchase other properties at Stavis NRCA.

NRCAs in Washington State are lands designated to maintain, enhance or restore ecological systems and habitat for threatened, endangered and sensitive plants and animals, while providing opportunities for education and low-impact public use.

In cooperation with tribes, interested citizens and other partners, DNR identified the area surrounding Stavis Creek as ecologically significant, featuring patches of natural-origin forests, important fish and wildlife habitat, open space, and wetlands. DNR hosted two public meetings to solicit feedback on the proposed Stavis NRCA designation. The meetings were well attended and participants strongly supported the proposal.

In 2004 Public Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland signed a Commissioners Order designating 3,698 acres within the Stavis Creek watershed as lands eligible for inclusion in the Stavis NRCA. Sutherland spoke of the rich diversity of natural resources available to the citizens of Washington: As stewards of this rich natural heritage, it is our responsibility to retain it for future generations, so that they, too, can learn from it and enjoy it.

The Stavis NRCA contains both public and private lands. DNR can only purchase land from willing sellers at market value if grant funds or other legislatively appropriated funds are available. DNR has no regulatory authority or right of condemnation associated with the Stavis NRCA.

DNR primarily relies on external funding sources for land acquisition in natural areas. Designating the Stavis NRCA boundary allows DNR to pursue grant funding to purchase land within that boundary; and DNR has applied to the US Fish and Wildlife Service Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund for additional funding.

Management of the public lands within the NRCA is guided by the State of Washington Natural Resources Conservation Areas Statewide Management Plan. In the future, DNR staff will work with citizens, tribes, local agencies, and other stakeholders to develop a management plan specifically for the Stavis NRCA.

Natural Resources Conservation Areas (NRCA)
Conservation areas protect outstanding examples of native ecosystems, habitat for endangered, threatened and sensitive plants and animals, and scenic landscapes. Environmental education and low impact public use are appropriate on conservation areas where they do not impair the resource values of the area protected.

Habitats protected in NRCAs include coastal and high elevation forests, alpine lakes, wetlands, scenic vistas, nesting birds of prey, rocky headlands, and unique plant communities. Critical habitat is provided for many plant and animal species, including rare species. Conservation areas also protect geologic, cultural, historic, and archeological sites. Thirty-one sites total approximately 89,000 acres of conservation areas in Washington. The NRCA program was established by the Legislature in 1987.

 

 


Stavis Bay lands preserved by the Conservancy.

 

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