Tahuya River Preserve

Walking through Tahuya River Preserve in eastern Mason County, bear tracks and salmon carcasses line the riverbanks. This area is home to an abundance of local wildlife that depend on a flourishing ecosystem. In a paramount acquisition, Great Peninsula Conservancy (GPC) protected 183 acres along the Tahuya River in 2023. Preservation of this land is essential to restore wildlife habitat after the southern portion of the property was maintained as pasture and infrastructure for horses for decades.

Spanning more than a mile of riverfront, the Tahuya River Preserve now protects salmon habitat, floodplain hardwood forests, and towering firs overlooking the valley. Only a few miles from the mouth of the river — the largest in eastern Hood Canal — this property was a high priority for its significance to salmon runs and restoration potential. Both Hood Canal summer chum and Chinook salmon use the Tahuya River watershed and are listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

“This project exemplifies Great Peninsula Conservancy’s work to protect and steward the most ecologically valuable lands in west Puget Sound. Salmon populations continue to decline and the best way to combat that problem is to conserve vital habitat like we’ve done here,” said GPC’s Executive Director, Nathan Daniel.

GPC acquired 145 acres of this property in July 2023 with funding from the Washington Department of Ecology Streamflow grant and the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board. Our staff worked diligently with landowners throughout 2023 to close on the property, and in December acquired another 38 acres directly adjacent to the existing 145 acres. Both properties will be managed jointly as one larger 183-acre Tahuya River Preserve.

Phase I and Phase II of the Tahuya River Preserve Acquisition in 2023.

These acquisitions kicked off a larger phased project to protect the lower four miles of the Tahuya River, which is a highly significant watershed. The restoration work on this project will be in partnership with the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group (HCSEG), who will lead restoration, planting, and invasive species removal — essentially the “active” part of property management for the 183-acre preserve.

GPC staff visiting the property in February 2023.
A section of the river protected by the property.

Project Partners

Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group
Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office: Salmon Recovery Funding Board
Washington Department of Ecology Streamflow Grant

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