The Eagle Bend Property is located on the Yakima river 5 miles from Cle Elum, WA. The property is 40 acres, 25 acres of which are wetlands, and it has a large gravel pit pond that is connected to the river. For decades the property was owned by the Boone family, who valued the habitat and beauty of the lands, which presented a unique opportunity for conservation.
The Yakima River used to support over 200,000 returning Spring Chinook every year. With the construction of dams along the Columbia River those numbers dwindled. In the early 1980’s, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) was encouraged to fund the creation and operations of a hatchery.
The result was the Cle Elum Supplementation and Research Facility. Today this facility supports the production and rearing of Chinook salmon, research on hatchery operations, and offers educational opportunities for the community.
Several years ago, the Washington Department of Ecology required BPA to mitigate for wetland impacts associated with the Cle Elum hatchery. Mitigation requires either the creation of new wetlands, or permanently conserving property with wetlands. BPA opted to protect existing wetlands and through their relationship with the Yakama Nation, were put into contact with the Boone family, who were looking to sell the property.
PARTNERING FOR CONSERVATION
BPA then sought out Kittitas Conservation Trust (KCT) to own and steward the lands in perpetuity on their behalf. After working closely together for several years with the landowner and BPA the property was permanently conserved on December 31, 2019.
PROTECTION IN PERPETUITY
BPA holds a conservation easement on the lands to permanently protect the property’s wetland, forest, and fish and wildlife habitat. In order to support management, BPA provided a one-time lump sum to KCT to pay for stewardship needs. The property will be managed in perpetuity to protect the wetlands and habitat that it provides to wildlife. Wetlands are one of the most biologically productive habitat types on earth. They support an incredible diversity of plants that attracts a variety of wildlife, which sustains a thriving food web. KCT will monitor the property and ensure the conservation values are protected.