To implement the Hood Canal Coordination Council’s In Lieu Fee Mitigation Program, Great Peninsula Conservancy and Hood Canal Coordinating Council have teamed up to conserve, restore and protect marine shoreline and tideland habitats. Fees paid by developers as compensation for impacts to marine shoreline and tidelands are used to purchase, restore and permanently protect other marine shoreline habitats.
This unique partnership has protected 51 acres of high bluff marine shoreline and 17 acres of tidelands on Hood Canal in Mason and Kitsap counties. These new preserves will provide protection for marine shoreline and intertidal habitats and sanctuary for fish and wildlife.
The Hood Canal Coordinating Council is a council of governments formed in 1985 in response to community concerns about water quality problems and related natural resource issues in the Hood Canal watershed. Member governments include Jefferson, Kitsap and Mason counties, and the Port Gamble S’Klallam and Skokomish tribes.
The HCCC In-Lieu Fee Program provides an alternate mitigation option for authorized, unavoidable impacts to freshwater and marine aquatic resources and may offer some permit applicants an option to purchase mitigation credits from HCCC to fully satisfy mitigation obligations for their proposed projects.
As a team, the Hood Canal Coordinating Council and Great Peninsula Conservancy search for marine shoreline acquisition and restoration opportunities. The Coordinating Council’s mitigation program funds the acquisition and restoration of the properties and GPC becomes the owner of the newly acquired land and ensures its permanent protection.
In April the groups protected 31 acres near Little Dewatto Bay at the southern end of Hood Canal. The new Dewatto Shoreline Preserve includes 1,700 feet of high bluff shoreline, as well as tidelands, streams and forest. The shoreline is an important spawning area for surf smelt which lay their eggs at night in the upper intertidal zone. Surf smelt are an important food for salmon and halibut.
The Dewatto Preserve is located adjacent to state forestland and lies within an area currently pending designation as a Natural Resource Conservation Area by the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
In January, the groups protected 20 acres, now known as the Bob and Melissa Olson Shoreline Preserve, between Vinland and Lofall at the northern end of Hood Canal. The property includes 490 feet of Hood Canal shoreline, as well as 6 acres of tidelands, a salmon stream (with fall chum) running through a steep ravine, and mature forest. The acquisition of this property allowed for the protection of one of the few remaining larger marine shoreline parcels north of Bangor.
For both properties, Hood Canal Coordinating Council will conduct restoration actions including removing small structures, controlling invasive plants and planting native shrubs and trees.
Conservation of these properties will contribute to mitigation for development activities at Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor and for mitigation of the construction of private bulkheads in Mason County.