Woodard Bay: Who knew sustainability could look so good? Check it out on March 15!

woodard_bay_mapThis Friday, March 15, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will reopen trails at Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA). The area was temporarily closed last October to conduct a restoration project.  The Loop Trail and Whitham Road Trail will reopen along with new viewing access to Woodard Bay (see map). The Overlook Trail will close on March 25 for the nesting season to protect herons and eagles.

Woodard Bay NRCA is nestled in South Puget Sound near Olympia and protects native shoreline habitat, much to the delight of bird watchers, nature conservationists, and others who enjoy the beauty and peace of minimally disturbed habitat.

However, beneath the serenity of Woodard Bay NRCA, environmental concerns lingered. Before the restoration, old creosote-treated logs and piers along with fill material choked the natural coastline.

Thanks to the 2012 Jobs Now Act funding, DNR was able to complete restoration projects that weren’t anticipated to be completed for many years.

What is the big deal with creosote?

An excavator works to restore native shoreline at Woodard Bay by removing fill. Photo: Michele Zukerberg, DNR.
An excavator works to restore native shoreline at Woodard Bay by removing fill. Photo: Michele Zukerberg, DNR.

Creosote contains more than 300 chemicals, many of which are toxic, and pose a threat to human and environmental health and safety. It was a big job pulling out creosote-treated logs and piers, removing hundreds of tons of fill and restoring the natural coastline, and developing long-term access for the public.

What’s the 2012 Jobs Now Act?
To boost the state’s economy, the 2012 Washington Legislature directed $505 million in the Jobs Now Act to quickly create thousands of jobs in the state. DNR received $37 million of this funding for a broad range of jobs that include removing invasive species, cleaning up beaches, replacing culverts to improve fish passage, restoring shorelines, protecting natural resources, improving recreation facilities, maintaining and enhancing urban forests, and increasing fire protection. Of the $37 million, $200,000 is to be used specifically for removing large debris.

Don’t forget your Discover Pass, your ticket to millions of acres of recreation opportunities on Washington state-managed recreation lands. The Discover Pass is now transferable between two vehicles.

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