Kayakers stroll on the Pearson property on South Whidbey. Whidbey Camano Land Trust photo

Kayakers stroll on the Pearson property on South Whidbey. Whidbey Camano Land Trust photo

Conservation Futures grant may help preserve shoreline property

An Island County Commissioner is seeking public input before deciding which land preservation proposal to fund with Conservation Futures funding.

For this year’s grant cycle, the Whidbey Camano Land Trust is asking the county to pay $210,000 to help the nonprofit acquire a 54-acre, undeveloped shoreline property near Clinton. The money would be a 10 percent match to a state grant to purchase the $2 million Pearson property.

Commissioner Helen Price Johnson hopes to hear feedback about this project over the next month.

The Land Trust would own and manage the property while the county would hold a conservation easement ensuring permanent public access for low-impact recreation, like hiking and bird watching.

The large piece of land includes a half mile of shoreline, coastal forest, seasonal streams and private tidelands with eelgrass beds and juvenile salmon and forage fish habitat, according to the proposal.

If developed, it would negatively impact both the habitats and stability of the shoreline.

“This very moment is our last and best opportunity to protect this amazing piece of Whidbey Island shoreline before it is sold and developed,” the Land Trust’s proposal states.

The Conservation Futures program is focused on maintaining public use and restoration of open space, timberlands, wetlands, habitat areas, culturally significant sites and farmland within the county. It can also be used in salmon recovery efforts.

The money comes from a special property tax.

The Land Trust, in partnership with the county parks department, also submitted a proposal to purchase 42 acres of land near the Kettles Trails to expand the system. The commissioners had already agreed to this proposal.

The nonprofit submitted a third request for $92,700 to expand its Strawberry Point Preserve on North Whidbey. The Land Trust hopes to acquire two tracts of land, a trail easement and a parking and trailhead easement to create access to over 100 acres of open space, according to the proposal.

• Comments about the projects may be sent to district1@co.island.wa.us

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