128 acres of Willapa Bay land bought and conserved
This month, Forterra purchased 128 acres of estuarine and forest land on Willapa Bay in Pacific County for permanent conservation.
The property, known as Sunshine Coast, is located near the point where the Naselle River feeds into Willapa Bay and includes one mile of shoreline as well as habitat for elk, deer and other wildlife.
The land purchase was part of a larger effort to protect critical habitat in and around southern Willapa Bay. Sunshine Coast is close to other protected properties including the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, The Nature Conservancy’s Ellsworth Creek Preserve, and other conserved properties along the lower Naselle River and Chetlo Harbor.
“For the past 10 years, Forterra has worked to conserve and protect estuarine, coastal wetland, and coastal forest properties in and around Willapa Bay, which is one of the most pristine estuaries in the U.S.,” said Mark Johnsen, Forterra Estuary Program Director. “The successful conservation of the Sunshine Coast property helps tie together a mosaic of conserved properties in the Willapa watershed, furthering benefits for wildlife and the ecosystem.”
Since 2010, Forterra has conserved more than 500 acres land in the south Willapa Bay area. The nearby Willapa National Wildlife Refuge contains 15,000 acres of federal protected wildlife habitat, home to elk, bear, many bird species, salmon, and more. Contiguous land conservation amplifies the beneficial impacts on the environment and wildlife.
In a press release, Forterra said that this conservation will help improve water quality by protecting the shoreline and upland buffer. This helps keep the Willapa Bay ecosystem clean, which in turn, helps protect the largest commercial shellfish beds in Washington.
Willapa is one of the five most productive areas in the world for oyster cultivation.