CNLM establishes stewardship endowment for 3 preserves

 Three of CNLM’s preserves – Dan Kelly Ridge, Violet Prairie-Scatter Creek, and Deschutes Prairie – will be permanently managed for conservation thanks to a stewardship endowment that was established this quarter. With $2.6 million in funding from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) and the Department of Defense (DoD), this endowment will be held by CNLM and will pay for on-the-ground stewardship of the sites in perpetuity. While the previous acquisition and protection of these properties was exciting, establishing the stewardship endowment is a critical next step that enables and ensures sufficient conservation-focused management of the properties. The establishment of this endowment is also exciting in that preserve management and the associated jobs supported by this endowment will stay in western Washington forever.

View of the Elwha Valley from Dan Kelly Preserve (Photo Credit: Sam Hain)

Violet Prairie-Scatter Creek and Deschutes Prairie, both in Thurston County, are being restored to their historic grassland habitat to support current populations of the federally threatened Mazama pocket gopher (Thomomys mazama) and with the goal to support future populations of the federally endangered Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha taylori). Dan Kelly Ridge, in Clallam County, currently supports a critical population of Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly. These species are a priority for conservation since they are vulnerable to extinction, and because their rarity results in limited military operations on Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), one of the only locations where both of these species, along with the streaked horned lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata), occur.


View of Garry Oak Plantings at Deschutes Preserve (Photo Credit: Josh Stephani)

JBLM works with CNLM and other conservation partners, including Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and US Fish and Wildlife Service, to help conserve rare prairie species off of the installation. This benefits the Installation by a) providing conservation that can offset impacts from training and b) by making the populations on the Installation a reduced conservation priority. Landowners in Thurston County also benefit in a similar way, protecting species in conservation areas forever helps move the species towards delisting and the eventual lessening of regulatory restrictions.