Great Peninsula Conservancy

Why We're Here

Where We Work

. Phyllis Ellis Forest

. Homestead Park

. Indianola Waterfront and Woodland Preserve

. Banner Forest

. Klingel Refuge

. Johnson South Sound Preserve

How We Conserve Lands

Our Partners



Get Involved
Who We Are
Contact Us


County Mason
Date Acquired 1986
Acreage 85.5
Conservation Method Conservancy Ownership
Conservation Values


Open Space



Address Private


   Project Map


Mouth of Union River and toe of Hood Canal looking southwest. Klingel Wetland is located center right.

Red line in this aerial view of the Klingel Wetland identifies 13 acres that will be restored.










Where We Work -

Serving Communities


Klingel, Bryan and Beard Wetland Refuges
(Private - GPC lands)



The 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.

In 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.



In 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.


As part of the restoration, a new dike was built closer to State Route 300 to protect the road and adjoining properties from possible flooding.


The restoration project was overseen by the Natural Resources Conservation Service as part of USDA's Wetland Reserve Program.


What will the refuge look like after restoration ?

It 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 Center.

The 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.


Great Peninsula Conservancy will monitor the slow restoration of the saltwater environment at the Klingel Wetland and will plant native plant species to speed recovery.

Future Plans
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 shoreline.

Project Partners

While 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 contractor).


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