Bike Ride on Steamboat Peninsula – July 16

Beach at Schmidt Conservation Easement.

Beach at Schmidt Conservation Easement.

Join us on Saturday, July 16, for a bike ride around the Steamboat Peninsula.

“Don your bike shorts,” reads a web page for the Capitol Land Trust, “grab your bike and head out to the Steamboat Peninsula for a short (15.5 miles) or long ride (21 miles) with Capitol Land Trust and the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.”

Saturday, July 16, 2016
10 AM
Steamboat Peninsula, Olympia

The ride will start at the Wynne Tree Farm, a 530-acre working tree farm at the base of the Steamboat Peninsula. If you haven’t seen this property, you’re in for a real treat. It’s located up Whittaker Road NW, which is what Steamboat Island Road turns in to, south of the US-101 overpass. Schneider Creek flows through the parcel, then alongside US-101, and on to Oyster Bay.

Riders will travel along Whittaker Road, and will be able to see the beautiful, and vast, forest and fresh water areas that comprise the Wynne Tree Farm, and that are permanently conserved by Capitol Land Trust and the Wynne family.

The short ride travels up the Peninsula and will stop at Frye Cove Park. Riders can take a short (approximately 1/3 mile) walk to the beach, and will enjoy the scenery while having a snack at the picnic tables. Riders will learn about conservation on the Steamboat Peninsula, especially about a hopeful addition to CLT’s conserved areas which is next to Frye Cove and is home to a half mile of Frye Cove Creek, the stream that drains to Frye Cove and that contains important salmon spawning habitat. After this stop, riders will ride back to the Wynne Tree Farm.

The long ride travels up the Peninsula, and will take a short stop at the entrance to Frye Cove, but will then continue to ride to the Schmidt Conservation Easement towards the tip of the Peninsula. Riders can then stop and will learn about this beautiful 35-acre property along with a walk (approximately 1/3 mile) to the beach. Also enjoy a snack and learn about conservation on the Steamboat Peninsula. As an optional addition, riders can choose to continue their ride out to Steamboat Island, approximately 5 miles more to the overall ride. Or riders will ride back to the Wynne Tree Farm.

This is a free event. However, registration is required, so event organizers can prepare to host the event. When you register, you’ll be asked for your email address. You will receive event directions and other event details to this email address.

To register, click here to visit the Capitol Land Trust’s web page. Scroll down to the bottom and fill out their form.

Click here to read a reprint of an article about Tom and Charlene Wynne’s rescue of Schneider Creek. This article was published in the January 1998 issue of the Griffin Neighborhood Association’s “Neighbors” newsletter.


Steamboat Conservation Partnership Update

Steamboat Conservation Partnership logoThe Steamboat Conservation Partnership recently released an update to supporters.

“We want to wish you a happy holiday season,” wrote Partnership members Steve Lundin and Peter Reid, “and to remind you of some of the important work supported by your donations to the Capitol Land Trust and the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.”

Our fundraising efforts for Capitol Land Trust have been a huge success. During the first five years of the Partnership, with your help, we raised $81,647. Since the beginning of our second five-year program year on July 1, 2015, we have raised an additional $19,865. Total collections now exceed $100,000!!! Congratulations everyone.

As you know, Capitol Land Trust uses our donations for operating expenses to conserve critical properties in the drainage basins of Eld Inlet and Totten Inlet. This includes expansion of Stewardship funding for the Wynne properties guarantying Capital Land Trust will have the finances to protect this property in perpetuity. In July of this year, we held a very successful gathering of donors at the Randall Preserve, in Mud Bay across the road from Buzz’s Tavern, and toured that property as well as the nearby Allison Springs property. You can view both properties in a recent video that Capitol Land Trust just posted.

Allison Springs Transformed from Kathy Strauss on Vimeo.

The Steamboat Conservation Partnership now has two committees. A planning committee, consisting of 10 residents of our area, who generally meet every other month. This group organizes activities for the Partnership, including providing tours and soliciting contributions. There is also a technical committee, which meets on every other month when the planning committee does not meet. This group studies critical properties in our area and advises the Capitol Land Trust on these properties. Each of the members of the technical committee also serves on the planning committee. Meetings usually last about two hours. Capitol Land Trust staff attend meetings of both groups.

If you are interested in becoming a member of either group, please let us know. You will find participation in these groups to be a very rewarding experience and very valuable for the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.

Set aside Tuesday, February 9, 2016, for the Capitol Land Trust’s 12th Annual Conservation Breakfast at St. Martin’s Marcus Pavilion. Peter and Steve will again be table captains for folks associated with the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. Doors open at 7 a.m. This is a great event, with interesting speakers and an opportunity to hear about the work of Capitol Land Trust and its plans for the future.

Also, remember that time still remains to make a contribution to Capitol Land Trust for the Steamboat Conservation Partnership this tax year. You may make a secure contribution online by clicking this link. Enter your contribution amount as a “Steamboat Conservation Partner.” Please contribute whatever amount you feel appropriate. If you would prefer to contribute by mail, be sure that in the lower left hand side of your check to insert “SCP” in the memo section.  Your contribution should be mailed to the Capitol Land Trust, 209 Fourth Avenue E., Suite 205, Olympia, WA 98501.

–Peter Reid and Steve Lundin

Successful Steamboat Conservation Partnership Extended for Another Five Years

The Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association joined this last month with the Board of the Capitol Land Trust to extend the term of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership for another five years.

The Steamboat Conservation Partnership is a unique agreement between a neighborhood association and a land trust.

We are happy to report the SCP has generated more than $80,000 during the first five years of the Partnership. This sum exceeds their five-year, $75,000 goal. All contributions are tax exempt, because they are made directly to Capitol Land Trust, which is a 501(c)(3) organization.

jamie_glasgow_lower_eldea61a327598cFunds collected by the SCP are used by Capitol Land Trust to pay for staff time related to properties in the Steamboat Peninsula Region. This work in the Steamboat Peninsula Region includes developing agreements with owners of significant natural areas and working lands to conserve their property, maintaining relationships with property owners who already have given or sold their property or development rights to Capitol Land Trust, periodically meeting with a committee from our area on potential areas to conserve, and leading tours of protected areas.

Since 2009, Capitol Land Trust has conserved the following important or significant natural areas within the Steamboat Peninsula region:

In addition, an agreement will soon be signed conserving an additional 175 acres as part of the Wynne Conservation Easement, located in the Schneider Creek Valley with the headwaters of the creek. This will add to the existing 355 acres that are part of the Wynne Conservation Easement.

How does the Steamboat Conservation Partnership work? Capitol Land Trust places contributions to the SCP into a segregated trust account and uses the funds to finance a portion of its efforts to develop relationships with property owners in the Steamboat Peninsula Region, write habitat acquisition grants, negotiate agreements with property owners, and manage properties or easements within the Steamboat Peninsula Region. Defined as the watersheds of both Eld Inlet and Totten Inlet, the Steamboat Peninsula Region includes the Steamboat Island/ Griffin Peninsula, western Cooper Point draining into Eld Inlet, the eastern part of Mason County draining into Totten Inlet, and areas draining into Kennedy Creek or McLane Creek. A priority focus is made on lands located within the boundaries of the Griffin School District.

The Land Trust has a proven record of success, and has permanently conserved more than 5,000 acres in four southwest Washington counties, including more than 14 miles of south Puget Sound shoreline.

The map below shows the natural areas and working lands conserved by Capitol Land Trust within the Steamboat Conservation Region. Discussions are underway with other property owners to conserve additional lands within our Region.

Click here for a complete description of all conserved lands.

If you would like to learn more about how you can support the Steamboat Conservation Partnership, click here to read their web page.

The Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association is proud of its partnership with the Capitol Land Trust and we hope you will join us in actively supporting the efforts of the SCP.

Conservation of Pocket Estuary Identified by Gayle Broadbent-Ferris, Acquired with Assist from Steamboat Conservation Partnership

In early June 2011, Capitol Land Trust acquired a 34- acre property on the northeastern shore of Totten Inlet on the Steamboat Island Peninsula. The site has a small pocket estuary with critical salmon habitat, 1,400 feet of waterfront, steep bluffs that replenish natural gravel beaches, and small streams flowing from mature forests that cover most of the property.

Major grants from US Fish and Wildlife/WA Dept. of Ecology’s Coastal Wetlands Grant program and the state’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board helped finance the project. Other funds came from Taylor Shellfish, the Squaxin Island Tribe and the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.

“This is a relatively small piece of shoreline, but it has enormous biological value that will now be preserved and enhanced,” said Capitol Land Trust’s conservation projects manager Laurence Reeves.

According to Laurence, the project was originally championed by local resident and south Sound conservationist Gayle Broadbent-Ferris who died in an accident in 2009. She introduced the property to the Trust and helped keep interest in its preservation alive during a period when development was contemplated. “Gayle, more than anyone, would have been thrilled to know the property is now under conservancy,” Laurence said.

Dave and Joanne Schuett-Hames, local residents who provided marine habitat expertise for the project, also mentioned Broadbent-Ferris’s dedication to conservancy of the Adams Cove area. “She lived near the property,” Dave said, “and felt it was not suitable for intensive development. She had great appreciation for the natural values of the wetlands and the estuary.”

“This was a very complex project,” said Laurence, “but eventually, through a lot of hard work on the part of many organizations and individuals, it all came together. We have skilled and dedicated staff, but we can’t do it all. As with many of our projects, we relied on contributions of time and expertise from many members and volunteers. Their involvement was absolutely critical.”

Near the start of the project, Laurence visited the site with Dave and Joanne to assess its potential. What they found was a pocket estuary in relatively pristine condition, with many acres of neighboring forest and wetlands that provide clean fresh water. The property, known locally as Adams Cove, includes a protective sand spit at the estuary entrance, a beach used by spawning forage fish, an intertidal salt marsh, and mudflats providing habitat for Puget Sound coho, winter steelhead, chinook, summer chum, and coastal sea-run cutthroat.

“This is a pretty special piece of the south Puget Sound ecosystem,” said Dave. “Our job was to capture the nature of the place in language that biologists would understand, to provide heft for the technical and scientific aspects of the grant applications. We helped explain why this particular place, in its current state, is so beneficial to fish and other marine populations.”

Dave and Joanne do this kind of work professionally, but they did it as volunteers for this project. They have helped Capitol Land Trust with several other projects as well.

The threat of commercial development above the shoreline bluffs accentuated the sense that the property should be conserved in its entirety. According to Dave, “The upland area is a forested wetland system that provides habitat for birds and plants, and is the main source of cool, clean fresh water for the estuary. Anything built on the bluffs would more than likely degrade water quality and the entire system’s ability to sustain plant and animal life.”

The estuary is also the mixing zone for fresh and salt water, and it’s especially important for the very large native chum run that spawns each year in Kennedy Creek at the southern end of Totten Inlet. According to Dave, “The fry come out of the freshwater creek in the spring as very small fish, only a couple inches long. The open water of Totten Inlet can be dangerous for them. The salinity presents a huge physiological adjustment, and it helps to have places like Adams Cove where they can find relatively fresh water to reduce that shock. The estuary, with its protective spit, shallow water, and overhanging trees, is a refuge from wave action and from predatory birds and fish. It’s also a source of small organisms for them to eat.”

There is also evidence that young Chinook salmon from central and even northern Puget Sound forage in Totten Inlet and its estuaries before migrating out to the ocean.

One other important feature of the Adams Cove habitat, Dave said, is its undeveloped shoreline, with intact forest. “You have well-developed shoreline vegetation to feed the nutrient food chain,” he said. “Some of the trees will fall into the estuary, providing good cover habitat in the water. And trees hanging over the water provide shade and help keep the water cool.”

The other benefit of conserving this piece of land is the preservation of natural “feeder” bluffs, which help maintain the viability of beaches that are the spawning ground for sand lance, pacific anchovy, herring, and other “forage” fish on which salmon feed.

According to Dave, “When this kind of shoreline becomes highly developed, people often build bulkheads because they don’t want the erosion. Eventually, over time, as that erosion is eliminated or controlled, the gravel can get scoured out, leaving nothing but clay. It’s important to have unarmored bluffs with some erosion to provide gravel and sediment to replenish the beaches.”

The Totten Inlet coastal shoreline is a permanent or migratory home to more than 100 bird species, including eagles, owls, ospreys, plovers, sandpipers, woodpeckers and loons, and the property has potential as a possible restoration area for the native Olympia oyster, Laurence said.

Both Laurence and Dave emphasized that Adams Cove is a particularly unspoiled pocket estuary. Many similar estuaries, especially those with spits, have been dammed up in the past to create freshwater ponds.

Dave stressed that each pocket estuary is part of a larger ecosystem that is important to newly hatched fish. “They don’t just function in isolation,” he said. “You get more benefit if there are a series of them along the shoreline that the fish can move into. Maintaining a network of them would be much better than just preserving one.”

The main purpose of this project was to conserve the estuarine habitat. A corollary to that is recognition that human visits to the property, especially on land, are not necessarily beneficial to that purpose. “As with many of our projects,” Laurence said, “we encourage thoughtful and respectful visitation for educational and scientific purposes. We want people to remember that hands-off is probably the best policy. Our five-year management plan for Adams Cove is to just let it do its own thing. And that’s in keeping with the intent of the funding agencies.”

Steve Kelso is an Olympia writer, photographer, and painter who appreciates the work of Capitol Land Trust.

Capitol Land Trust Would Like to Thank These Project Partners:

WA Department of Ecology
US Fish and Wildlife Service
WA State Salmon Recovery Funding Board
Squaxin Island Tribe
Taylor Shellfish Farms
Steamboat Conservation Partnership
Dave and Joanne Schuett-Hames
ADESA Environmental Services
Michael and Lorrie Asker, William and Bonita Asker, Michael and Tracy Evans.

Article reprinted with permission from Capitol Land Trust. This article and accompanying photographs was originally printed as “Pocket Estuary on Totten Inlet Conserved” in the Summer 2011 issue of the Capitol Land Trust Newsletter.
The Griffin Neighborhood Association formed the Steamboat Conservation Partnership with Capitol Land Trust “to conserve the rich and diverse natural landscapes of the Steamboat Peninsula region.” Help us to preserve habitat, now and forever, right here in our neighborhood. Click here to learn how you can support the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.

Pocket Estuary on Totten Inlet Conserved

Capitol Land Trust’s collaboration with the Steamboat Conservation Partnership has resulted in the conservation of 34 acres on Totten Inlet, one of the most significant shorebird habitats in Washington’s inland marine waters. The purchase includes a small pocket estuary and 1400 feet of undeveloped shoreline on the Steamboat Island Peninsula known locally as Adams Cove. Most of the new preserve is covered by mature forest, about half of which is forested wetland. Several small freshwater streams flow into the estuary.

The tireless dedication of Gayle Broadbent-Ferris directly resulted in Capital Land Trust’s efforts to acquire this spectacular property. We are forever indebted to her encouragement.

The Capitol Land Trust thanks their partners who made this project possible: Washington Department of Ecology, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, Taylor Shellfish Farms, Squaxin Island Tribe, Steamboat Conservation Partnership, Dave & Joanne Schuett-Hames, WRIA 13-14 Lead Entity Coordinator, ADESA Environmental Services, Michael & Lorrie Asker, William & Bonita Asker, Michael & Tracy Evans.

Click here to read The Olympian’s coverage of the purchase.

Click here to learn more about the Steamboat Conservation Partnership and how your support will help to identify and conserve habitat right here, in our own neighborhood.

Photo by Steve Kelso


Elizabeth Hummel benefit concert for SCP

Elizabeth Hummel Leads Local Musicians in Successful Benefit Concert


Reva Wittenberg (left) and Elizabeth Hummel, onstage at Prosperity Grange

This last Friday night marked the second annual concert to benefit the Steamboat Conservation Partnership between the Capitol Land Trust and Griffin Neighborhood Association. Area residents gathered at the Prosperity Grange to hear a live concert by musician Elizabeth Hummel with John Nasan, Reva Wittenberg, Carl Dexter and Brian Castillo. It took about all the chairs the grange supplies, plus seating on benches along the walls, to contain the audience. They heard two sets of music and intermission comments from Eric Erler, Executive Director of the Capitol Land Trust.


Event poster by Brian Castillo

The event represented a collaboration between local musicians, business, and area residents. Elizabeth Hummel, who lives on Steamboat Island, approached the Griffin Neighborhood Association with an offer to play the benefit after she learned about existence of the Partnership. Local musician Brian Castillo, who plays with Hummel, produced a truly beautiful poster for the event. Pacific Stage donated the sound and lighting for the event. Music 6000 staffed the sound board during the concert. Beer was donated by Fish Brewing Company. The Costco Warehouse in Tumwater made a cash donation to help offset the purchase of snacks. Volunteers – GNA Board members, spouses and area residents – worked to set up and then kept the supply of snacks and beverages flowing to the audience who turned out to hear the concert and to support the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.

The goal of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership is to conserve land critical to the wildlife and natural beauty of this area.

Elizabeth Hummel made a special contribution, in the form of a song especially for the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.

Visit the GriffinNeighbors YouTube channel for this and other videos.

Last year, the Griffin Neighborhood Association joined with folk band Gaelica to present the first benefit concert for the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. At that time, the Association hoped to sponsor an annual event, but had no idea as to how to attract another musical guest. It was an unexpected pleasure to be contacted by Elizabeth Hummel, for this year’s benefit. The Board of the GNA is gratified by the effort undertaken by Elizabeth and her talented fellow musicians to make the second annual concert a reality.

Interested in hearing more of Elizabeth Hummel’s music? Elizabeth Hummel “The Cauldron” and Click here for more CDs by Elizabeth Hummel

For more coverage of this event, click here to visit our Facebook page. Do you have photos or video of Friday’s concert you would like to share? “Like” us on Facebook and post them on our wall. Or, email us at


Thank you, Pacific Stage, for your support!


Thank you, Fish Brewing, for your support!


Thank you, Music 6000, for staffing the sound board during the event.

Considering the cost benefits of conserving; Collaboration key to maintaining value of natural money makers

It’s not always better to do something rather than nothing at all – or at least that’s what proponents of land conservation are trying to teach businesses, government officials and the general public.

It can be a hard concept for some people to understand. But doing nothing to particular plots of land rather than developing them can sometimes save millions, if not billions, of dollars from being spent later on habitat restoration. And many plots of natural land are not just saving money, they are generating dollars.

“It’s easier for us to perceive value out of things we sell or do,” said Eric Erler, executive director of Capital Land Trust. “We are all responsible for the precarious state of the natural environment. Every square inch of land has a function.”

Groups like Capital Land Trust work with landowners who want to conserve, often in an effort to maintain an important function of their property or the overall environmental health of the area.

Examples can be seen around the South Sound. Land owners have signed easements to guarantee their properties will continue to provide things like clean water to the Puget Sound or a safe haven to an endangered species.

And while these deals generally do bode well for Mother Nature, land conservation is not just feel-good environmental work. Many businesses depend on the health of the South Sound’s natural environment, especially Puget Sound, for their success.

Economic impact

Erler and other specialists can cite why land conservation is needed in specific cases, but for those folks who are more interested in numbers, a report from Earth Economics shows that the natural systems of the Puget Sound Basin could be valued between $300 billion and $2.6 trillion.

“Valuing the Puget Sound Basin: Revealing Our Best Investments” shows that nature as an economic asset delivers a flow of benefits between $9.7 billion and $83 billion in economic value every year.

The goods and services provided include drinking water production, storage and filtration, flood protection, pharmaceuticals, food, building materials, recreation, waste treatment, climate stability, habitat, biodiversity, nutrient cycling and aesthetic value.


Capital Land Trust has conserved about 55 properties in Thurston, Mason, Lewis and Grays Harbor counties. But Erler said it’s the educational side of the business that is challenging.

“What we do is extremely complex,” he said. “It doesn’t lend itself to a sound bite.”

When a business or property owner signs a land conservation contract, they are generally promising that nothing will ever change as far as how that land is maintained. That differs substantially from a company or group promising to “fix” a piece of land.

“It is much more efficient to identify (lands) and conserve them in that state,” said Erler, adding that being reactive rather than proactive can be costly.

Erler said an example of people responding too late can be seen at Chesapeake Bay, where money continues to be spent to restore habitat and water quality.


Land use is often a divisive issue, but Erler said part of Capital Land Trust’s strategy is to work in collaboration with all interested parties, whether they be shellfish companies, the state Department of Ecology, endangered species groups, large farming corporations or a private land owner.

“Collaboration across the various sectors is the only conceivable way we can all manage the great gift we have in front of us which is the natural resources,” said Mike Mosman, senior vice president of land and resources at Port Blakely Tree Farms. “Land trusts provide that central brokerage for making the whole thing work.”

Port Blakely Tree Farms is a family business that actively participates in conservation.

“If we were to manage with a short-term view we wouldn’t last very long,” he said. “We are far better off to address the resource needs with responsibility so that among other things it makes sense and our social license to operate continues.”

Forever and ever

Perhaps one of the most intimidating factors for people considering a land conservation agreement is that there is no expiration date. The contracts last forever.

Charlene and Tom Wynne of Wynne Farm said it’s nice not to worry about what will happen to their land when they are no longer in control of it. But the couple admits the three-year process was a “huge undertaking.”

Wynne Farm will celebrate its 100th anniversary during 2016 and Tom said the easement on the property has not affected using the property as a working agricultural and timberland farm.

Even though the Gordon family’s dairy farm has been a long time haven for trumpeter swans, when owner Jay Gordon was approached to conserve about 55 acres for the species, he was hesitant.

Gordon’s family has owned the farm for 140 years and he said this type of easement made him feel like in some ways he would be adding another partner to the farm – or at least part of it.

However, Gordon worked with Capital Land Trust, a local trumpeter swan group and U.S. Fish and Wildlife to reach an agreeable land easement contract.

“Part of it was a business decision, part was an ethics decision and part was it didn’t really take any skin off our backs,” he said.

While some property owners do not receive any financial consideration for conserving their land, Gordon was paid for what his property lost in its estimated sale value and he used the money to help pay for construction of a new barn.

Because Gordon Dairy and Wynne Farm are operating businesses, it was important to both owners that the land easements not interfere with their livelihoods.

Erler said whenever a contract is being negotiated, the trust tries to determine what the owner’s goals are for the property.

Typically there is room in a contract for landowners to set their own rules. For example, some like to leave some breathing room for new houses to be built. Others like to prohibit any new building.

“When we conserve a place we do it in a number of ways,” Erler said. “It’s all (about) what’s appropriate for the land.”

– Breanne Coats

Reprinted with permission from South Sound Business Examiner
Originally published August 23, 2010
Writer Breanne Coats can be reached at

Steamboat Conservation Partnership Reception, December 6

Please join us at a reception on Sunday, December 6th, from 3 – 5 PM, in the Prosperity Grange (3701 Steamboat Island Road), to learn about the Steamboat Conservation Partnership and the Capitol Land Trust’s activities to protect land in our area. Wine, soft drinks, coffee and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

The Steamboat Conservation Partnership is a unique relationship between the Griffin Neighborhood Association and the Capitol Land Trust. The Partnership is designed to finance a portion of the Land Trust’s operating expenses in the Eld Inlet and Totten Inlet watersheds. These activities encourage the voluntary action of land owners to set aside rural tracts of farmland, forests, wetlands and coastal areas as conservation parcels left in their natural state.

The Steamboat Conservation Partnership provides us with an incredible opportunity to preserve some of the special lands right here in our own neighborhoods.

The Capitol Land Trust has a number of exciting projects in our area. Our contributions have helped fund the Capitol Land Trust’s efforts to encourage the voluntary action of land owners to set aside rural tracts of farmland, forests, wetlands and coastal areas as conservation parcels left in their natural state.

Eric Erler, Executive Director of the Capitol Land Trust, will review the progress they have made to date. There will also be a slide show, maps and literature on the properties set aside by the Trust.

Visit the Griffin Neighborhood Association website at to learn more about the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. Visit the Capitol Land Trust website at to learn more about the Land Trust.

If you can attend the reception, please RSVP by phone at 866-1214 or by email at

Feel free to bring friends who are interested in the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.

We hope you will be able to attend the reception, celebrate what our donations have accomplished, and socialize with our neighbors.

Capital Land Trust Preserves 530 Acres Near Matlock

Capital Land Trust has announced it will be protecting more than 530 acres of forested wetlands near Matlock through a purchase agreement with the previous owner, Green Diamond Resource Company.

“This project is the culmination of five years of work and results in protection of some of the region’s most intact salmon and wildlife habitat,” Capitol Land Trust executive director Eric Erler said. This from an article by John Dodge in The Olympian.

The property includes 2 miles of Decker Creek, a tributary to the East Fork Satsop River.

The mosaic of wetlands, streams and forests provides habitat for river otter, black bear and elk, as well as spawning and rearing habitat for coho, summer and fall chinook, chum, winter steelhead and cutthroat trout.

The Griffin Neighborhood Association congratulates Capital Land Trust on this important acquisition and holds this as an example of the kind of preservation work which compelled the Association to form the Steamboat Conservation Partnership with CLT.

For more information on how you can support the Steamboat Conservation Partnership, click here.

Summer Picnic Features Good Food, Good Neighbors, and Good News

2009summerpicnicLocal residents filled Prosperity Grange this last Saturday to attend the Griffin Neighborhood Association’s annual Summer Potluck Picnic. Many brought salads, desserts, and snacks to add to the burgers and hot dogs cooked up by GNA Board member Beau Altman. Board member and past GNA President, Gary Goodwin, acted as Master of Ceremonies for a program that included comments by County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela, Representative Fred Finn and Capitol Land Trust Executive Director Eric Erler. Around the perimeter of the dining room were arranged displays from the GNA, the newly-formed Steamboat Conservation Partnership, the GNA’s emergency preparedness project, and the Puget Sound Restoration Fund.

Karen Valenzuela described her principal goals as a County Commissioner. Of particular interest to many in attendance is her interest in determining whether it is appropriate to assess impact fees on development in unincorporated portions of Thurston County. Impact fees are typically assessed in order to offset the costs of building out infrastructure required to support higher population densities. Presently, the County does not assess impact fees. Although the Growth Management Act and other regulations seek to focus development in urban areas, the absence of impact fees could make it cheaper for developers to build outside the Urban Growth Areas. By assessing impact fees, the County could take an important step to “level the playing field,” Valenzuela said, and remove an incentive to creating urban sprawl in our region.

Valenzuela, who was appointed by the Governor to fill out the term of Commissioner Bob Macleod, is running for election this November. Ballots for the primary election will be in the mail within weeks. Click here to read a piece regarding her candidacy. She has both a Democratic and a Republican opponent, who we’ve profiled previously on this blog.

Invoking a quote by Otto von Bismarck (“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”), local resident, GNA Board Member and 35th Legislative District Representative Fred Finn described the last legislative session. The focus of the next legislative session is likely to continue to be the budget, Finn said.

Among the bills Finn successfully shepherded to passage, this last year, was a bill which re-emphasizes the use of reliable, high-quality science in Puget Sound cleanup. Another bill authorized the use of safe, alternative refrigerants in a motor vehicle’s air-conditioning equipment, and another rescued Mason’s County McKernan fish hatchery from closure. A fourth bill guaranteed tougher punishment against those who damage to or steal from Christmas tree farms.

After introductory remarks by Dave Schuett-Hames, President of the GNA, Eric Erler, of the Capitol Land Trust, stepped up to describe the creation of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. This is an exciting opportunity for local residents to fund efforts by the Trust to identify property right here on the Steamboat Peninsula – activities to conserve special natural areas in the Steamboat Peninsula region and that maintain connections between these lands through corridors useful for wildlife movement. Examples of special natural areas include marine shorelines, estuaries (including pocket estuaries), freshwater streams and riparian habitat, prairies, wetlands, and upland forests.

Erler described a pocket estuary, on Totten Inlet, which has already been identified and which the Trust is currently working to preserve. This property has been described in a recent article that appeared in the Olympian.

The editorial board of the Olympian also wrote a fine piece regarding the creation of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership in today’s newspaper. Click here to read that editorial.

Many thanks to the Prosperity Grange, for allowing us to hold this year’s picnic in their facility. Thanks also to the many neighbors who brought food and contributed their time, their bar-b-que grills and their ice chests to this worthy and very enjoyable event.