Summer Expansions: Two New GPC Properties

A large cedar in the Grovers Creek Expansion (left) and an aerial view of part of the Tahuya River Preserve (right).

Great Peninsula Conservancy’s conservation team has been busy in 2023 and have already had two big wins for land conservation this summer. The purchase of the 147-acre Tahuya River Preserve, jumpstarting restoration of this important river, and the 38-acre Grovers Creek Expansion, adding protected wetlands and mature forest to existing conservation lands. Both projects strengthen bonds and partnerships spanning GPC’s working region and relied on community input and support to be successful.

Tahuya River Preserve

The Tahuya River Preserve spans a mile of riverfront, protecting important salmon habitat, floodplain hardwood forests, and towering firs that overlook 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 the Federally Endangered Hood Canal summer chum and chinook salmon use the Tahuya River watershed and protecting lower portions of the river will support both staging areas for adults traveling upstream and provide habitat for juvenile fish to grow strong in.

In collaboration with the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, this former horse farm will be restored to a natural floodplain. Reconnecting the river to this wide floodplain is not only critical for habitat, but will abate downstream flooding, and remove tons of sediment that bury salmon redds (nests for salmon eggs). Great Peninsula Conservancy acquired the Tahuya River Preserve with funding from the Washington Department of Ecology Streamflow grant and the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

Grovers Creek Expansion

The Grovers Creek Expansion contains wetland habitat, mixed forest, and a tributary of Grovers Creek. Prioritizing the connectivity of undeveloped parcels like this is increasingly important for climate resiliency in addition to providing benefits to wildlife. This project was a rare opportunity to expand a forested corridor in an area of the northern Kitsap Peninsula under increasing development pressure.

Towered by hemlock, alder, spruce, and cedar, a peaceful mossy oasis lies at the heart of nearly 40 acres of undeveloped land next to one of Great Peninsula Conservancy’s most treasured conservation properties, the 279-acre Grovers Creek Preserve. This North Kitsap forest, which includes a rare grove of 200-year-old Sitka spruce, supports a wide array of wildlife, including black bears, deer, bobcats, beavers, and birds. Streams and wetland pools release a year-round flow of clean cold water, making this a critical habitat for threatened steelhead. Grovers Creek Preserve is at the center of a forest corridor spanning nearly 1,700 acres in northern Kitsap Peninsula. This corridor serves as an important wildlife habitat but also a treasured place for people to explore the natural wonders of this special area.