Submitted by Capitol Land Trust

Capitol Land Trust has announced the permanent conservation of 37.5 acres in the Boistfort Valley, about 13 miles southwest of Chehalis, WA. The property, now known as Stillman Creek Riparian Preserve, includes 6,800 feet of creek shoreline along Lost and Stillman creeks. CLT identified the parcel as a high priority for conservation because of its potential to benefit fish, primarily spring and fall Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, and winter steelhead.

One unique feature of the property is that it includes the confluence of Lost and Stillman creeks and is just above the confluence of Stillman Creek and South Fork Chehalis River. Confluences are the point where two bodies of water merge and the volume of water flow increases and are known as biodiversity hotspots.

As part of the property acquisition, CLT also acquired a senior instream water right equivalent to covering 55.5 acre-feet water a year. (An acre-foot is one acre covered to a depth of one foot deep of water.) CLT is partnering with Washington Water Trust to convert the water right to instream flow and ensure that water stays instream forever by putting the water right into trust.

“Purchasing a water right and protecting it instream with a donation to the Department of Ecology Trust Water Rights Program, yields multiple benefits,” explains Jason Hatch, Program Director at Washington Water Trust. “It addresses temperature concerns by leaving more water instream, improves upstream fish passage, and improves access to instream habitats that salmon depend on to rest for upstream passage.”

Providing fish a place to rest is also a goal of Lewis Conservation District and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) as they design the salmon habitat enhancement project that they will implement on this stretch of Stillman Creek. The project will include placing large pieces of wood in the creek, increasing channel complexity by excavating side channels that will be active during periods of high flow, and adding to previous restoration plantings.

“Conservation projects are known for their reliance on partnerships because we all have a vested interest in the health of our land and water. In a lot of ways, seeing this project come together is like many streams coming together in a confluence,” says CLT’s Executive Director Dave Winter, “Washington Water Trust, Lewis Conservation District, and WDFW bring together their unique areas of expertise, and Office of the Chehalis Basin, Forterra, WA State Recreation & Conservation Office, and the Aquatic Species Restoration Plan bring the necessary funding to the table. And, of course, we could not have done this without the support of the Aust Family, whose connection to this land goes back generations.”

For more information about Capitol Land Trust:  https://capitollandtrust.org/.

About Capitol Land Trust:

Capitol Land Trust’s mission is to strategically conserve vital natural areas and working lands in the South Puget Sound and Chehalis Basin watersheds, for their ecological and community benefits.

We envision a future for our region in which nature and community thrive because CLT and our partners have invested in conservation of and education about our natural places and resources.

Through our conservation work and against the backdrop of climate change, we help ensure that our quickly growing region is a place with clean water to drink and clean air to breathe, healthy populations of native fish and wildlife, and natural open spaces that help define our communities.

For more information, please contact:

Thom Woodruff, Land Protection Manager
Capitol Land Trust
4405 7th Ave. S.E., Ste. 306
Lacey, WA 98503
360.943.3012 x 4

About Washington Water Trust:

Founded in 1998, Washington Water Trust is a nonprofit organization with offices in Seattle and Ellensburg working to secure abundant, clean freshwater for Washington’s people and the environment. Washington Water Trust partners with individuals, tribes, non-profits, government, and other organizations to help direct water back into our tributaries when and where it is needed most for restoring healthy rivers and streams and for anchoring the long-term security of Washington’s water supply. Washington Water Trust’s work has resulted in healthier flows in thousands of river miles across more than 50 rivers and streams throughout the state. For more information: www.washingtonwatertrust.org.

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