2019 was a huge year for Great Peninsula Conservancy. Two capital campaigns, multiple partners and grantors, massive community support, and a dedicated conservation team protected five projects covering 238 acres!
Hahobas Shoreline Preserve
The Hahobas Shoreline Preserve project was a fast and furious, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to partner with the Trust for Public Land, DNR, Boy Scouts, and the Navy REPI program to conserve 162 acres of Hood Canal waterfront and forested upland, including half a mile of shoreline used as spawning ground for forage fish. The project received statewide recognition by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board as a noteworthy project that makes significant contributions to implementing regional salmon recovery plans.
Thanks entirely to GPC members, a capital campaign in March 2019 raised over $300,000 to purchase the 60-acre upland parcel. GPC took out a loan with The Conservation Fund to purchase the 100-acre shoreline parcel, which will be paid off this year through grants, including funding from RCO’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
Great Peninsula Conservancy is now moving to the stewardship and management phase on the Hahobas Shoreline Preserve and has plans to include the property in a Spring 2020 Walk & Talk!
Miller Bay Preserve
While the spring focused our attention to lower Hood Canal, the summer raced up to North Kitsap to a small but significant property on Miller Bay. Over the years, Great Peninsula Conservancy has protected over 300 acres in the Grovers Creek Watershed, working to create a contiguous wildlife corridor from Miller Bay up Grovers Creek. The Miller Bay Preserve added another piece to the puzzle. Combined, the conservation work in the area supports habitat for endangered salmon, black bears, and birds. Miller Bay has provided recreational opportunities and a scenic viewscape to the local community for decades.
GPC members, the Friends of Miller Bay, and local residents worked together over the summer to raise money to close the $150,000 funding gap needed to purchase the property. This campaign, combined with a grant from the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program and a contribution from Great Peninsula Conservancy’s Grovers Creek campaign, made it possible for GPC to close on the property in November and protect another 13 acres on this beloved bay.
Parker Forest Conservation Easement “La La Land”
Not far from the North Kitsap Heritage Park, Great Peninsula Conservancy worked with Kim Parker, a landowner who made the generous decision to donate a 17-acre conservation easement on his forested property that he and his wife had dubbed “La La Land”. The mature, diverse forest is magical in Kim’s eyes and he knew that he never wanted it to be destroyed. The easement will protect the land forever, making sure the trees and understory continue to provide habitat for the birds and wildlife that call La La Land home.
Big Beef Shoreline Preserve
A popular spot to watch the eagles and great blue herons that descend on the tidelands each summer, 12 acres on the outlet of Big Beef Creek are now protected by Great Peninsula Conservancy thanks to a partnership with the Hood Canal Coordinating Council’s In-lieu Fee Mitigation Program. The program is funded by the Navy to mitigate their projects that cause environmental damage. While the spot is a great lookout on Hood Canal, the property is conserved exclusively to protect wildlife and public access is not allowed. But it will still be easy to view the activity of the birds from the thruway.
The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, in partnership with Forterra, will be preserving the adjacent 297 acres, ensuring that the entirety of the Lower Big Beef Creek will permanently conserved.
East Rocky Creek Preserve
A project four years in the making came to fruition in the final week of 2019, the 34-acre salmon preserve on Key Peninsula’s East Rocky Creek. This forested property has two salmon streams running through it, which have been carefully managed by the former owner, Roy Lampson, and the Pierce Conservation District (PCD). Roy worked with PCD to remove fish passage barriers, install a culvert, and perform water quality tests. Roy knew that his beloved property could be logged or developed in the future, so he reached out to Great Peninsula Conservancy to make sure that the salmon sanctuary he had spent decades caring for would be protected forever!