We received a nice shot in the arm in August that had nothing to do with COVID. Rather, it was a powerful booster in the form of final approval of a grant from the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board Program (aka the SRF Board). The $308,602 grant (all that’s available for this year’s funding cycle) will partially fund the bargain-sale purchase of a conservation easement to protect a strategic shoreline property on McArdle Bay, near the southeastern tip of Lopez Island.

(Photos courtesy of Cathleen J. Wilson, Aaron Vliet, and SJPT staff)

Next year, we will receive another healthy injection from the SRF Board of $107,648, thus fully covering the $416,250 needed to complete the project.

The funds will go toward permanent protection of an 11.77-acre property that includes 346 feet of shoreline on McArdle Bay. Protection of the forested upland portion of the property provides wildlife habitat with close connection to hundreds of acres of other protected lands in the area.

The upland vegetation also serves as a filtration buffer for the large amount of freshwater that drains via this property into the bay. The beach (with a naturally eroding feeder bluff) and eelgrass beds just offshore contribute to the high-quality habitat for juvenile salmon and forage fish (such as Pacific herring) that thrive throughout McArdle Bay.

We are grateful to the four owners of the subject parcel, who came together to purchase the land last year so it could be protected from residential development. They are making a generous donation to help offset the cost of the conservation easement and its future stewardship.

Watch our virtual visit to this remote, beguiling bay.