In late December 2013, the San Juan Preservation Trust purchased a 61-acre conservation easement on Stuart Island. With 4,400 feet of undeveloped rocky shoreline, pocket beaches, old growth forest and an extensive network of nearby conserved lands, this scenic property on Reid Harbor provides vital marine riparian habitat for salmon and forage fish.
“We’ve been discussing conservation options with the Cooley-Gilliom-Cooley family, which owns this property, for 10 years,” said Debby Clausen, the Preservation Trust’s Director of Conservation. “Its importance to salmon recovery efforts allowed us to complete this project.”
This acquisition protects natural shoreline processes and vegetation (including eelgrass), water quality and native habitat for salmon, surf smelt, Pacific sand lance and Pacific herring. Washington State’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board contributed $795,000 through its Puget Sound Acquisition & Restoration Fund, while the landowners significantly reduced the price of the easement to make the deal come together.
The Preservation Trust has been working with the Stuart Island community for 15 years to protect the area around Reid Harbor. This conservation easement, which expands protection to more than 400 acres and two miles (60%) of Reid Harbor’s shoreline, represents a key milestone in this neighborhood effort.