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Shelton Mason County Journal
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Mason County Journal
News of Mason County, WA
June 5, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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June 5, 2014

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]ilil I tlILJlLi| i[ ilil]! il i iI] !11 Page A-IO - Mason County Journal - Thursday, June 5, 2014 Johns Creek Estuary l00ads back to nature By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun corn The Johns Creek estuary was once prime habitat for summer chum salmon and other wetland animals. For the past 65 years, it has been home to the nine-hole Bayshore Golf Course. On Tuesday, the Capital Land Trust celebrated its recent acquisition of the property, which it plans to revert to a natural saltwater estuary. About 50 people turned out for the event. Capital Land Trust purchased the 74 acres of land at the mouth of Johns Creek last year for $2.3 million. The property includes 4,000 feet of marine shoreline and 27 acres of salt- marsh habitat. "We have closed on a lot of different projects during my time as an executive director ... we don't do celebrations like this for every one," said Eric Erler, the former executive director for the private land trust. Capital Land Trust has conserved more than 14 miles of Puget Sound shoreline and 5,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Thurston, Mason, Grays Ha- bor and Lewis counties during its 27 years in existence. Erler called the land "one of the most intact, beautiful saltwater marshes," in the South Puget Sound. The mouth of Johns Creek is the site of a Squaxin village, according to the land trust. "This or near here is the site of the largest, or one of the largest, longhouses ever built," Erler said. Capital Land Trust plans to work with the Squaxin Island Tribe and other agencies to remove a 1,400-foot dike and restore the Johns Creek Estu- ary, returning the land to prime salmon habitat. Journal photo by Natalie Johnson Project manager Laurence Reeves leads a tour of the Bayshore Golf Course, which was recently purchased by the Capital Land Trust. The trust plans to remove a dike and plant native plants to restore the land to its natural state as the Johns Creek estuary. The trust is working with Mason Conservation District to develop a resto- ration design for the land. Project Man- ager Laurence Reeves said they would likely start major work in 2015. "At this point, we don't have specific engineering designs," he said. Plans will include removing bridges on the property, planting native plants on fairways and removing the dike, Reeves said. The restoration project is part of a I. 6th Annual Day of Caring Tuesday June 17t" Volunteer as a Group or Individual It's easy! It's fun! It's Living United! Download volunteer registration forms at ww00v.unitedwaymasonco.org or call us at 360-426-4999. To help match volunteers to projects & ensure enough lunches, please RSVP by June 6th/ S'LVER SPONSORS Green Diamond Resource Company Heritage Bank Hood Canal Communications Peninsula Credit Union Fred Meyer Employees of Mason General Hospital Black Star GOLD SPONSORS Mason County Life KMAS Columbia Bank Harrison Medical Center Our Community Credit Union, Mason County Journal Gillis Auto Center McCarty & Associates LIVE UNITED larger effort by the Capital Land Trust and the Squaxin Island Tribe to pre- serve key locations on Oakland Bay. The Bayshore project involved a partnership between the land trust, the Squaxin Island Tribe, the Washington state Department of Ecology, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, Taylor Shell- fish Farms, Mason Conservation Dis- trict and Mason County and the Trust for Public Land. A portion of the fund- ing for the purchase of the property came from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. Preserving the land will reduce wa- ter pollution, keeping Oakland Bay safe for swimming, fishing, shellfish farming and other activities, according to the land trust. "It's important to preserve the wa- ter quality here and that will keep our shellfish industry thriving," said Bill Taylor of Taylor Shellfish. Taylor thanked the Capital Land Trust for preserving the property, which he called one of the "crown jewels" of Oakland Bay. Ar the restoration project is com- pleted, Reeves said the public will be invited to explore the property for "pas- sive recreation" activities, such as bird- watching. The finished property will likely include walking trails, he said. herell be an opportunity for people to come in and see what we've done," he said. Think no one reads the newspaper anymore? t00TH I N KAGAI N 80% III [ IIIIII II I iil I:i; I il;[, ::] I[ i;] ]N--- T[ ; -= .... : i;i