Submitted by the San Juan County Land Bank.
Channel Preserve, Lopez
Lopez Preserve Steward, Amanda Wedow, hosted a public scoping meeting in early October. The event was widely attended with break-out discussions covering a variety of topics, including signage and dogs. Incorporating comments heard at the meeting, as well those submitted over the public comment period that followed, Land Bank staff are now finalizing the management plan. Of note, community members suggested and overwhelmingly agreed that the preserve is dog free. This rule is currently in effect at Weeks Wetland, while the other Lopez Land Bank preserves continue to allow dogs on leash.
Coffelt Farm Preserve, Orcas
The farm is bustling with activity this winter. Along with the Lum’s farm stand sales and Christmas tree fundraiser, the Coffelt Agricultural Planning Committee is busy considering the farm’s past, present and future. Your Conservation Land Bank staff are working to advance infrastructure improvements; to install riparian fencing to protect native trees and shrubs from browsing by deer; and to develop the Coffelt Farm Preserve Management Plan, which will be available for public review and comment later this winter. We look forward to seeing you out on the farm.
Coho Preserve, Orcas
Thanks to a voluntary reduction in water withdrawals by Orcas Water Holdings, moderate rainfall and a high tide, recent flow levels in Cascade Creek have been higher than in previous years. This is a critical time for returning coho salmon, and the Land Bank’s monitoring efforts documented two returning female coho salmon and several redds (nests) in November. Unfortunately, the apparent absence of males casts doubt on successful reproduction. Salmon populations require consistent and predictable stream flows year-round, which is something Cascade Creek hasn’t had for many years. Hopefully, the ongoing partnership of the Land Bank, San Juan County Salmon Recovery and other agencies will help restore adequate year-round flow for salmonids in Cascade Creek.
Mount Grant Preserve, San Juan
A tremendous thank you to the volunteers who helped the stewards during the trail work parties — which were three days per week for seven weeks. The upper three-quarter mile of the new trail is specifically designed for mountain bike descent. An additional quarter-mile trail provides a connection back to the “Greywacke” multiuse trail as well as for people to more immediately transition from road to trail.
Also, a reminder that the entrance to the preserve is on private property via an access easement. The parking area before the first gate is on a service area easement on the same property. We continue to ask visitors to be respectful of this fact.
Zylstra Lake Preserve, San Juan
In early November, we enjoyed great community participation at our first public scoping meeting. Many different perspectives were shared on topics ranging from wildlife conservation to recreation to accommodation of agriculture. We have a lot of work to do as we figure out a plan for the Preserve; please continue sending in your comments and ideas.
As always, your Conservation Land Bank exists to save the special places in the islands for the whole community – including our native plants and animals. Particularly as our environmental future seems more and more perilous, conservation will be increasingly important in the years to come. What places are important to you? We want to know!
San Juan County Land Bank is a citizen’s land conservation program created by islanders in 1990 to ensure the rich and unique character of our islands endures into the future.
Our mandate is to preserve in perpetuity areas in the county that have environmental, agricultural, aesthetic, cultural, scientific, historic, scenic or low-intensity recreational value, and to protect existing and future sources of potable water.
The Land Bank has 35 Preserves, 25 open to the public. Visit our website for directions, preserve trail maps and to connect sjclandbank.org or call 360-378-4402.