Burke Bay Preserve
A group of Brownsville residents have been keeping tabs on the vacant properties surrounding the Burke Bay estuary for years. When the tide is high, members of the group can be found in Burke Bay in their kayaks, checking on their favorite trees, searching for signs of a new heron rookery, and watching the baby Canada geese that hatch each spring. They want to protect the shoreline and forest for the fish and wildlife that call the bay home and maintain it as a quiet oasis and greenspace for people to connect to nature.
Meanwhile, the landowners of a pristine 27-acre property on the southern border of the bay had similar hopes for the protection of the estuary and decided to donate their property to Great Peninsula Conservancy. In 2020, Great Peninsula Conservancy worked with the local community to raise the additional funds needed to close on the property to conserve it as a nature preserve for the benefit of people and wildlife.
The 27-acre undeveloped shoreline property in Brownsville is adjacent to the estuary in Burke Bay, a small coastal inlet of Puget Sound. This property provides important nesting and foraging habitat for birds, feeding grounds and refuge for young salmon, and habitat for mammals such as river otter and black bear. The property will protect nearly 1,300 feet of shoreline on the estuary, which is used by five different species of salmon and trout, including two species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act: chinook salmon and steelhead trout.
The protection of this estuary property will help advance regional recovery goals for chinook salmon and southern resident killer whales. It will also serve as a catalyst for other land conservation efforts in the region.
Burke Bay Campaign
At the end of 2020, the former owners generously donated the property to Great Peninsula Conservancy providing an upfront value of over $135,000. In order to cover project expenses beyond the cost of land, including closing costs, title insurance, a property boundary survey, and stewardship funds, an additional $40,000 was raised by GPC members!
An adjacent 1.4 acre parcel was also donated at the end of 2020, increasing the protected shoreline by over 400 feet.
The protection of the Burke Bay estuary was entirely possible thanks to community support!