LONG BEACH Efforts to preserve land on the Long Beach Peninsula for wildlife and for its natural attractions have been boosted this month.
Columbia Land Trust has puchased 60 additional acres to increase the area being preserved around Island Lake and Loomis Lake.
They are part of a chain of freshwater lakes running from Long Beach to the northern tip of Leadbetter State Park.
North of Long Beach, the conservation area consists of forested land on Island Lake, Loomis Lake, a number of smaller, inaccessible lakes and extensive wetlands. More than 1,000 acres are conserved for wildlife and people.
The special coastal wetlands around Island and Loomis lakes provide vital habitat for countless wildlife species while providing important water resources and recreational opportunities for local people and visitors, said Columbia Land Trust staff member Nadia Gardner.
Washington State Parks holds the undeveloped 380-acre Loomis Lake State Park. Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife maintains boat launches on both Island and Loomis lakes and has several preserves for the Oregon silverspot butterfly in the area.
Columbia Land Trust owns the 440-acre Island Lake Forest and the newly expanded 190-acre South Loomis Wetlands.
The Land Trust has held and stewarded 130 acres of interdunal wetlands and inaccessible lakes south of Loomis Lake since 2008. This month, the Land Trust purchased 60 more acres, bringing the South Loomis Wetlands project to 190 acres.
The land has forested dunes, small lakes and sphagnum bogs scattered throughout. It hosts myriad of wildlife, including bald eagles, trumpeter swans, black bears, elk, and migratory waterfowl and songbirds.
We are proud to be able to help conserve these special places forever in the now 1,070-acre conservation area, Gardner said.
Funding for the expansion of South Loomis Wetlands was provided by Pacific Coast Joint Venture, Washington Department of Ecology, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Columbia Land Trust members.