We Work -
Bryan and Beard Wetland Refuges
(Private - GPC lands)
66 acre Klingel Wetland on the North Shore of Hood Canal
near Belfair is protected in perpetuity by Great Peninsula
Conservancy (GPC). This rich wetland is home to bald eagles,
waterfowl, songbirds, river otters, coyotes, beaver, and
deer. Rarer species such as trumpeter swans, white pelicans,
and the elusive Virginia rail sometimes reward patient observers.
The property was donated to Great Peninsula Conservancy
in 1985 by Elizabeth Klingel. Subsequent land donations
by Judge Robert and Cathy Bryan, and Oda Beard bring the
total conserved acreage to 90 acres.
the early 1950s, a 13-acre piece of the property was diked
to create pasture and hayfields. The land ceased to be farmed
35 years ago and much of the pasture became a freshwater
wetland. The dike continued to exclude saltwater from reaching
into the wetland.
August 2011, a restoration project removed the dike allowing
the tides of Hood Canal to begin reclaiming the land. As
the land reverts to tidal saltmarsh, marine animals and
salt-tolerant plants will find a home here. Eventually,
the restored saltmarsh will provide prime habitat for immature
salmon and cutthroat, as well as countless shellfish and
other marine organisms.
Historical maps, aerial photos and surveys show that several
tidal channels were severed when the 1450-foot farm dike
was constructed in the 1950s. These channels were reestablished
in their historical locations during the 2011 restoration
to optimize habitat diversity.
part of the restoration, a new dike was built closer to
State Route 300 to protect the road and adjoining properties
from possible flooding.
restoration project was overseen by the Natural Resources
Conservation Service as part of USDA's Wetland Reserve Program.
will the refuge look like after restoration ?
will take several years before the freshwater species are
replaced by salt-tolerant species typical of a high saltmarsh
community. In the process, many invasive, non-native species
will be eliminated. Eventually, it will look like much of
the land at the nearby Theler Wetland and at GPC's adjoining
Jimmy Bryan Wetland – 21.5 acres directly opposite the Theler
saltwater will kill the freshwater vegetation rather quickly,
but the saltwater species will take several years to get
established. During this interim period, the 13 acres will
look a little muddy and desolate. The transformation will
be interesting to watch. A similar, but much larger, restoration
project at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge near Olympia,
completed in October 2009, provides a sneak peak at what
we might expect.
Peninsula Conservancy will monitor the slow restoration
of the saltwater environment at the Klingel Wetland and
will plant native plant species to speed recovery.
There will be much to see during the restoration process.
Great Peninsula Conservancy would like to share this outdoor
classroom with the community. Where appropriate, educational
signs, displays and trails to bring visitors up close to
the natural forces at work are being considered. GPC looks
forward to involving the community in some of the restoration
work and monitoring as the project progresses.
Since the turn of the last century, man has nibbled away
at the vast salt marshes which once spread throughout Washington's
Puget Sound. Diking, draining, and bulkheading have all
taken shorelines away from Hood Canal, diminishing its health
and productivity. Great Peninsula Conservancy and our partners
are excited to restore a small section of the Hood Canal
Great Peninsula Conservancy is the landowner, the USDA Natural
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) holds a conservation
easement on the restored land. NRCS oversaw development
of the restoration plan and provided significant project
funding. Additional project funding was provided by Washington
Recreation and Conservation Office and Washington Department
of Fish and Wildlife through the Salmon Recovery Program
and Estuary & Salmon Restoration Program. Other project
partners include Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group (project
consultant for the restoration design work), ESA Inc. (consulting
engineer for the restoration design), Hood Canal Coordinating
Council, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ducks
Unlimited, Mason County, and Zephyr's Inc. (restoration