In February, the Whatcom Land Trust (the Trust) transferred an additional 12 acres of conservation land to the Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District 2 (BBBPRD2) for expansion of the California Creek Estuary Park. This is the third contiguous parcel purchased by the Trust to facilitate acquisition by BBBPRD2.
According to Ted Morris, capital projects specialist with BBBPRD2, with this addition, the park will protect roughly 900 feet of saltwater shoreline on Drayton Harbor and 1,800 feet of freshwater shoreline along California Creek.
Whatcom Land Trust has prioritized conservation in the California Creek watershed for the last 10 years to support critical habitat restoration and increase climate resilience.
Key conservation areas include the estuary and side channels of California Creek, which provide critical salmon rearing habitat, and the mudflats at the mouth of Drayton Harbor. The mudflats are designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA), providing migratory stopover habitat for shorebirds. By protecting coastal wetlands and estuary shoreline, the Trust is able to maintain critical wildlife habitat and conserve wetlands surrounding the estuary that provide a buffer from impacts of sea level rise.
Additionally, Whatcom Land Trust has worked to restore coastal wetlands in the California Creek watershed by removing impervious surfaces, removing invasive species, and planting thousands of native trees and shrubs in critical habitat areas.
Whatcom Land Trust frequently works with county and local governments to assist in the acquisition of land with high conservation and public access value.