Protecting Climate-Resilient Lands Through a New Initiative

The upper estuary on Rocky Bay. Photo by Claire Voris.

The Pacific Northwest Resilient Landscapes Initiative is a partnership between community foundations in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, that the Land Trust Alliance launched with lead support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to conserve essential climate-resilient lands.

Great Peninsula Conservancy received a technical assistance grant of $14,000 from the initiative to use the latest science and tools to identify climate-resilient lands to protect. These designated funds will also help GPC’s conservation team prioritize climate strategies in the new 2021-2025 conservation plan.

Along with 14 other projects across the region, Great Peninsula Conservancy’s Rocky Creek project was selected to receive funding to support the acquisition of three parcels of land, totaling 163 acres, adjacent to GPC’s 34-acre East Fork Rocky Creek Preserve in unincorporated Gig Harbor along Rocky Bay on northern Key Peninsula.

Open space corridors in the project area. Map by Brenna Thompson

Combined, the 197 contiguous acres of undeveloped forest and wetlands will protect nearly two miles of streams that provide critical habitat for endangered salmon. 75 acres of riparian, estuarine, and wetland habitat will support a wide variety of wildlife, and the open space corridors will sustain the landscape connectivity, which is critical for climate resilience. GPC also plans to explore opportunities to use the project area as a future demonstration site for climate-adaptive forest management.

In addition to funding provided by the new initiative, GPC is in the process of securing additional county and state grants to acquire the preserve by the end of 2020.

Learn more about the initiative and all the projects in the Oregon Community Foundation announcement: 15 Projects Will Help Region Withstand Climate Change

Salmon in Rocky Creek
GPC staff on Rocky Creek (Fall 2019)
Rocky Creek running under highway 302.
Aerial view of Rocky Bay from the Department of Ecology.
Upper estuary facing Rocky Bay.