King County has made more progress on the conservation of land on the Eastside with the recent purchase of a 24.6-acre property along Issaquah-Hobart Road, south of Issaquah.
The parcel contains a portion of Holder Creek where the county intends to do restoration work. King County has leased the property from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources since January 2015, and has taken the option to purchase the parcel for $448,000.
Tom Beavers, senior watershed steward at King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks, said the purchase is part of the county’s land conservation initiative.
“King County is purchasing it to recognize the agriculture on the property and also to restore Holder Creek which runs through the property,” he said. “We intended to enhance the riparian buffers, and if we can find money through grants, to add wood (to the creek) which would be beneficial to salmon.”
By planting and maintaining vegetation and trees along the creek, temperatures will remain cool, while added wood would create a refuge habitat for the chinook salmon in the area.
“All the vegetation also helps filter out contaminants that may flow into the stream,” Beavers added.
The county will maintain the lease they have with a neighboring property owner to allow his livestock to graze on the property.
Since the lease began, the county has increased the size of the stream buffer, but with ownership they can now implement their restoration projects without having to ask for the permission of another government entity.
Kenny Ocker, communications manager at the Department of Natural Resources, said the $448,000 paid for the parcel will benefit the Common Schools Trust which is used to fund K-12 schools throughout Washington state. The parcel was specified as Common School Trust land, so the revenue generated from the purchased had always been allocated to the school trust.