Northwest Watershed Institute starts campaign to preserve Tarboo Forest

Posted 6/19/19

In March of this year, Pope Resources clear-cut 568 acres surrounding Tarboo Lake in Quilcene, according to Ross Goodwin, a forest practice forester with the Department of Natural Resources.

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Northwest Watershed Institute starts campaign to preserve Tarboo Forest

Posted

In March of this year, Pope Resources clear-cut 568 acres surrounding Tarboo Lake in Quilcene, according to Ross Goodwin, a forest practice forester with the Department of Natural Resources.

While timber harvesting has long been an important economic driver for Jefferson County, the old growth forests that sprawl much of the county are also working hard for the citizens, even when they are untouched, by keeping the air cleaner. Through the process of photosynthesis, trees store carbon and produce oxygen, offsetting nearly 16% of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

In Jefferson County, efforts to sequester carbon in old growth forests are underway. The Northwest Watershed Institute, a non-profit conservation and restoration organization that has done restoration work in the Tarboo Watershed, is hoping to conserve a 21-acre forest in the Tarboo Creek watershed, about one mile away from the clear-cut done by Pope Resources, for good.

“Every acre of this mature forest is storing the rough equivalent of seven years of carbon emissions by an average American,” said NWI Director Peter Bahls. “In general, forests of the Pacific Northwest can store more carbon per acre than most other types of forests in the world and can play a key role in fighting climate change.”

NWI purchased the 21-acre forest parcel in November of 2018 with loans to prevent it from being clear-cut and developed. NWI is now seeking the last portion of funding needed to pay back the loans and allow for permanent protection of the property as part of the organization’s 400-acre Tarboo Wildlife Preserve in the Tarboo Creek valley.

“With grant funding in the works from several sources, we still need to raise $40,000 in donations,” Bahls said. “The purchase has bought us some time, but if we can’t raise the remaining funding by August, we will be forced to put the property back on the market to pay off the loans.”

To entice donations from forest-lovers, NWI is hosting walking tours of the tree-filled property for potential donors in June and July from 10 am to noon, including June 20, 21, 27, 28, and July 9.

Already, Bahls said NWI has raised $10,000 since their campaign started, and need about $30,000 more.

Once the funding is secured, NWI plans to permanently conserve the parcel under a conservation easement with the Jefferson Land Trust to protect wildlife habitat, store carbon, and sustain selective harvest of forest products.

“The easement will protect the timber volume that is on the property now and will allow selective harvest of some of the additional growth that will occur in the decades ahead,” Bahls said.

The forest acquisition is part of a nearly 20-year effort by Northwest Watershed Institute and partnering organizations and landowners to preserve and restore the Tarboo-Dabob Bay watershed, from the headwaters of Tarboo Creek to Dabob Bay. To date, more than 600 acres along Tarboo Creek, and over 4,000 acres within the Dabob Bay Natural Area land have been protected.

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