2014 By The Numbers
Our poultry equipment supported 82 backyard farms, processing a total of 3,343 chickens, ducks, & turkeys!
Our manure spreader helped 26 small acreage landowners, allowing them to better manage manure and nutrients on 112 acres!
We provided recommendations for nutrient management for 112 soil tests to citizens!
Our weed wrenches removed over 5 acres of scotch broom!
Through our Lead Entity, $518,755 dollars were invested in local Salmon Habitat Recovery!
We provided natural resources information and resources to a total of 17,940 people!
#1 FarmLink Land Lease Site
South Sound FarmLink connects farmers and landowners to: resources, technical and financial assistance, and most importantly each other. Through our farmland leasing database, farmers looking for land have access to landowners with land for lease or purchase. The mission of South Sound FarmLink is to keep farmland in production in the South Sound region for future generations. South Sound FarmLink also provides educational workshops, training opportunities, and other resources that help farmers establish their operations and landowners plan for the future of their property.
In 2014, 160 acres of fallow farmland in the upper Deschutes watershed was successfully identified and leased to a local farmer for the expansion of their operation. This arrangement allowed the landowner to retain their agricultural tax status, while providing additional income from formerly unproductive land! In addition, the lease agreement gave the farmer a sustainable, economically viable local opportunity to expand! Keeping this parcel, and others in production, supports farmland and agricultural industry preservation, invigorates our local economy and rural communities, decreases pressure on landowners to sell property to developers, decreases the amount of impervious space in our rural areas, and maintains a landscape that provides essential stormwater filtration and wildlife habitat!
#2 Maintaining Allison Springs Estuary Restoration
The Capitol Land Trust received salmon habitat recovery funds, through WRIA 13 Lead Entity, to maintain plantings and remove invasive plant species at the Allison Springs Estuary Restoration Project site. This stewardship project ensures the five acres of restored shorelines and tide flats, salt marsh, forested freshwater tributaries will continue to provide functional habitat and fish access in Eld Inlet. This broad estuary restoration project has removed debris and shoreline armoring, restored native vegetation, and restored natural functioning in this critical habitat.
“Capitol Land Trust is thrilled to receive such important funding which will allow us to preserve additional salmon habitat. But, sometimes protecting land is not enough. This year we are also receiving a number of grants to restore degraded habitat, which will improve food sources for fish and open up new stretches of creeks for important salmon and trout species to use for spawning.”
– Amanda Reed, Capitol Land Trust
#3 Nisqually Reach Bluff Stabilization
Thurston Conservation District’s on-staff engineer assisted three adjacent landowners who reported developing cracks in their yards and erosion on bluff property that overlooks Puget Sound. The engineering team surveyed and designed a drainage system capable of diverting groundwater and providing bluff stabilization. This project is part of efforts to protect homes and manage the potential for a landslide that would impact human and aquatic life in South Puget Sound.
#4 Harmony Farms Shoreline Restoration Design
The Capitol Land Trust received salmon recovery funding, through WRIA 13 Lead Entity, to prepare final project designs to restore 1,200 feet of shoreline on the eastern shore of Henderson Inlet. This shoreline is part of the 56 acre Harmony Farms Conservation Easement. This project will ultimately restore the marine riparian shoreline, remove derelict structures from along the shoreline, remove invasive plant species, and replant native vegetation.
#5 Snowalker Stables
Henderson Inlet Shellfish Protection District funds allowed Thurston Conservation District to provide technical assistance and funding that enabled Snowalker Stables to build a Manure Storage Facility that is sized and designed for their operation. This facility allows Snowalker Stables to collect their manure and store it under shelter during the wet season, and prevent heavy rains from washing manure into the on-site wetland that feeds into Woodland Creek. This also benefits the landowner, as they are able to more efficiently manage their manure and use it as fertilizer to grow forage for their horses.
“I have been working hard to do my part to protect the water that flows off my property. I don’t want to pollute the waterways and harm the fishing industry, and salmon running up the stream, and shellfish [industry]. My Conservation Plan and cost-share assistance helped to see what I need to do to manage my property and achieve these goals.”
– Thurston County Landowner
#6 Clear Choices Pet Waste Evaluation
Clear Choices for Clean Water is an incentive-based behavioral change program funded through the Henderson Inlet and Nisqually Reach Shellfish Districts Fund. Residents who participate in the program earn free tools to help them make ‘clear choices’ to change their routine habits to help improve water quality. As an example, we provide native plants, organic fertilizer, rebates on septic pumping and pet waste disposal bag that help participants commit to actions that reduce stormwater runoff, keep hazardous waste out of storm drains and waterways, regularly inspect and maintain their septic system and properly dispose of pet waste.
In 2014 Thurston Conservation District, in partnership with the Thurston County Environmental Health, completed an intensive outreach and evaluation program to over 500 residents in the McAllister Park area (Lacey, WA). To measure the resulting physical impact on the surrounding watershed by the Clear Choices for Clean Water program, staff monitored the level of pet waste found in McAllister Park for a five-month period, when stormwater runoff is at its highest. Throughout the process, staff conducted outreach to the surrounding community, and the result was a significant decrease in pet waste on the McAllister Park trails (piles went from an average of 40 per week to less than 10 per week). Thurston Conservation District will return to the green space throughout 2015 to measure the continued success of this program.
#7 McLane Creek Log Jams
South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group received salmon habitat recovery funds, through WRIA 13 Lead Entity, to install two engineered log jams on lower McLane Creek. The logjams will slow the creek, creating pools where salmon can rest and hide from predators. The pools create cold water refuge in the summer when water levels decrease. They also allow spawning gravel and sediment to settle out of the water. The area is used heavily by spawning and rearing steelhead, which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, as well as coho and chum salmon and coastal cutthroat trout.
“Each fall my wife and I make time to sit on the bank of “our stream” and watch the salmon migrate and spawn. It is an annual delight. During November and December, there are often 30 eagles flying low above the stream, or perched on nearby trees, or in our yard, and hundreds of noisy seagulls too. We watch happily as salmon nest in “our” sandbar, making more than one nest, then guarding the area awhile, zooming up or downstream. It’s nature’s drama. We are often disheartened as heavy winter runoffs wreck the sandbar, changing it markedly from month to month, almost certainly washing away the salmon nests. Now, with this berm project, we have some certainty that that sandbar, or sandbars, will have a chance of doing the job. The salmon will be able to nest in areas protected from the heavy winter runoff currents that jet unimpeded past us, allowing the eggs able to hatch successfully.”
– Thurston County Landowner
#8 Nisqually Farm Rain Garden
Three rain gardens totaling 1,864 ft² were installed at Nisqually Farm to infiltrate and filter stormwater runoff. The farm is located in the lower Nisqually watershed, within 2 miles of Puget Sound.In addition to treating runoff, this project has allowed the agricultural operation to safely use their production ground and it serves as an educational demonstration site in our community!
“Thurston Conservation District has been an amazing resource for us as we expand our small farm. From pertinent farm workshops, personalized technical assistance, to funding three much needed rain gardens on our farm – they have been there for us!”
– Elisa Kaufmann, Co-Owner Nisqually Farm
#9 Keepsake Farm
Nisqually Shellfish Protection District funds allowed Thurston Conservation District to provide technical assistance and funding that enabled Keepsake Farm to build a Manure Storage Facility that is sized and designed for their operation. This facility allows Keepsake Farm to collect their manure and store it under shelter during the wet season and prevent heavy rains from washing manure into the nearby wetlands that feed into Medicine Creek. This also benefits the landowner, as they are able to more efficiently manage their manure and use it as fertilizer to grow forage for their livestock.
“My manure shed is one of the first things I want to show visitors on my farm. [Humorously] But, it is never the first thing they want to see.”
– Thurston County Landowner
#10 Pioneer Park Restoration Project Designs
South Sound Salmon Enhancement Group received salmon habitat recovery funds, through WRIA 13 Lead Entity, to design a large woody debris restoration project in the Deschutes River. This is a complex project that puts wood back in the river, to replace what would naturally fall into rivers and streams if development did not remove plants and trees from riparian areas (i.e. the strip of land along the water). As with the McLane Creek project, this will create habitat for salmon and other aquatic animals to spawn and live, and this project will also help to direct the flow of the Deschutes River and minimize the severe bank erosion near Pioneer Park.
#11 South Sound GREEN Nearshore Field Trips
Over the course of one busy month (May 7th- June 10th) over 1,700 students in grades 4-8 had the opportunity to connect with the Puget Sound through a Nearshore Field Trip! These trips took students to the shorelines of Tolmie State Park and Zittel’s Marina, where they learned how the curriculum water quality of freshwater rivers and streams impact the waters of Puget Sound.
The Nearshore curriculum couples scientific exploration with important water quality stewardship lessons so that students are able to connect to the life in the Puget Sound, while learning how to protect it. Through hands-on, integrated field workshops students participating in the Nearshore trips tested the water quality of the Puget Sound (water clarity, pH and salinity), collected and identified plankton in the water, learning the water, learned how shellfish are filter feeders and need to grow in clean water to provide a safe food source for human consumption, and explored the beach at low tide.
“I learned a lot of things, I learned how to save a sand dollar and that even the dead ones are important to the environment. I learned that starfish eat with its stomach coming out and digesting the food outside of its body. I also learned about how to reduce pollution flowing into the Puget Sound.”
– Komachin Middle School Student