Tilley Wetlands Preserve
Conserved in 2009, expanded in 2012
- 183 acres located near Millersylvania State Park in southern Thurston County.
- Tilley Wetlands Preserve West (60 acres) was purchased in 2009, as were 55 acres of Tilley Wetlands Preserve East. In 2012, 68 acres adjacent to Tilley Wetlands Preserve East were purchased, increasing the size of Tilley East to 123 acres.
- Tilley West and Tilley East are on opposite sides of 240 acres owned by the State of Washington and 120 acres conserved by CLT’s Aldridge Conservation Easement. Together, these conserved properties form a contiguous block of 543 acres that provide important habitat for elk, deer, fox, coyote, beaver, porcupine, many species of birds, numerous amphibians, and salmon-bearing creeks.
- Tilley East is comprised primarily of wetland habitat that drains into two significant salmon-bearing rivers: the Black and Chehalis rivers. The properties also preserve extensive forested areas.
Thank you to the following partners:
- Thurston County Commissioners and Staff
- John Drebick, Tilley Road LLC
- The Hicks Family
- The Schock Family
- The United States Fish & Wildlife Service
- The Nature Conservancy
- Adesa LLC.
CLT Strategic Conservation Goals Achieved:
- Conserve wetlands, riparian areas and associated upland forests.
- Conserve prairies and oak woodlands.
Protected Areas in Black River Watershed Grow
by Lisa Johnson, from Capitol Land Trust Newsletter: Issue #48, Fall 2009
The beautiful Black River watershed hosts an extraordinary ecosystem – a diverse complex of riverine, wetland, swamp, bog, prairie, oak woodland and forested habitats. Capitol Land Trust has been working to conserve this unique watershed in southern Thurston County since 1989. Our very first conservation project was a donated easement on 120 acres south of Maytown by private landowner William Aldridge. Today, more than 5,500 acres of wetlands, forest and farmland on 40 separate sites in the Black River watershed have been conserved by many different partners. The newest additions to this growing mosaic of protected lands are the Tilley Wetlands East and Tilley Wetlands West properties.
The two new Tilley acquisitions comprise 115 acres near William Aldridge’s conserved land, just west of Tenino and south of Millersylvania State Park. They contain extensive freshwater systems of ponds and wetlands as well as forested habitat. Second-growth Douglas-fir, western redcedar and hemlock shelter an understory of huckleberry, snowberry, salal, Oregon grape and ferns.
The wetlands drain into two regionally significant streams: Beaver Creek, which flows into the Black River, and Scatter Creek, which flows into the Chehalis River. Beaver Creek hosts one of only four Oregon Spotted Frog populations known in Washington and Scatter Creek provides important salmon spawning habitat.
Diverse waterfowl species such as great blue heron, kingfisher, mallard, and common merganser all thrive in the clean, cool water of both these streams. Bald eagle, osprey, an occasional pileated woodpecker, purple martin and western bluebird also cruise the skies here. Many other species of birds and amphibians make their home in this rich habitat. These properties also provide seasonal habitat for a large elk herd. Beyond supporting abundant wildlife populations, these properties play a vital role by retaining significant volumes of water, thereby preventing flooding of nearby farms, residences and roads.
Thank you to our project partners: Thurston County Commissioners and staff, John Drebick of Tilley Road LLC, the Hicks family and the Schock family. Their foresight and dedication to conserving our region’s natural areas mean that the Tilley Wetlands will remain undisturbed and continue to provide high quality wildlife habitat for many, many years to come.