Black River Conservation Easement and Preserve
Conserved in 2012
- The Black River Conservation Easement and Preserve are:
- The Black River Riparian Preserve – 211 acres.
- The Black River Farm Conservation Easement – 510 acres.
- Both are located along the Black River between Littlerock and Rochester in southern Thurston County.
- The conserved property has two parts with different uses; the upland property will maintain its current status as one of the largest and strategically most important regional dairy farms, while the riparian corridor along the Black River will be preserved wildlife habitat.
- The majority of the wildlife habitat is forested with deciduous trees and shrubs, including red alder, Oregon ash, Scouler’s willow, Sitka willow, and many more ferns, roses and maples. The property also supports a wide variety of wildlife: elk, deer, black bear, fox, bobcat, coyote, hare, raccoon, river otter, beaver, muskrat, mink, and other small rodents, as well as a menagerie of landbirds, including the great blue heron, kingfisher, mallard, ruffed grouse and many more. The conservation of the riparian area also supports aquatic wildlife, including runs of Coho, Chum and Chinook salmon traveling up the Black River from Grays Harbor.
Thank you to the following partners:
- The Plowman Family
- The Nature Conservancy
- Thurston County—Resource Stewardship Department
- WA State Recreation and Conservation Office – Salmon Recovery Funding Board
- WA Wildlife and Recreation Coalition
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- US Fish and Wildlife Service
- The Chehalis Tribe
- WA Department of Fish and Wildlife
- WA State Parks
- WA Department of Ecology
- South of the Sound Community Farmland Trust
- PCC Farmland Trust
CLT Strategic Conservation Goals Achieved:
- Conserve wetlands, riparian areas, and associated upland forests.
- Conserve working lands.
- Consere prairies and oak woodlands
Capitol Land Trust completes region’s largest agriculture-wildlife conservation project
By Eric Erler, June 1, 2012
A four-year effort lead by Capitol Land Trust has conserved the 721-acre Black River Farm south of Littlerock, WA. The project ensures that one of the region’s largest and strategically most important farms will remain in production while conserving diverse wildlife habitat along the Black River.
Like many family farms across the country, Black River Farm was threatened by proposed sale and conversion to developed uses. Capitol Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy identified the site as a top conservation priority a decade ago. Because of its size and strategic location, conservation of Black River Farm will help other farmers and working land owners in the region keep their lands in the family. Productive farms and timberlands require access to amenities such as animal feed supply, and access to markets and transportation. More than anything, says Eric Erler, Executive Director of Capitol Land Trust, to ensure the continued existence of the farms we depend upon and the presence of wildlife that maintain healthy ecosystems, some areas across the landscape must remain rural in character.
Conservation of Black River Farm is a key component of a larger Black River Conservation Initiative. The Black River is one of the most unique lowland river systems in the Pacific Northwest. The river is part of a complex of wetlands, streams, prairies, bogs, forests, farms and timberlands that are home to hundreds of unique animal species. Capitol Land Trust and many other partners have focused attention on the Black River Watershed for more than twenty years, jointly conserving approximately six thousand acres of wildlife habitat and working farms within the basin.
The project conserved Black River Farm in two transactions. A conservation easement covering 510 acres allows the farm to remain in private ownership while ensuring that it continues in agricultural production. A partnership between Capitol Land Trust and Thurston County purchased outright an additional 211 acres and one mile of riparian habitat along the main-stem of the river, not historically used for farming.
The permanent conservation of Black River Farm is the result of an extraordinary collaboration between Capitol Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Thurston County, WA Recreation and Conservation Office, WA Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, Natural Resources Conservation Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Chehalis Tribe, WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, WA State Parks, WA Department of Ecology, South of the Sound Community Farmland Trust, PCC Farmland Trust and the Plowman family, owners of the farm.