Whatcom Land Trust has a Purchase and Sale
Agreement to buy Lily Point, a spectacular 90-acre marine shoreline
property with 40 acres of tidelands. Sitting at the intersection
of Boundary Bay and Georgia Strait, Lily Point is likely the
most culturally and ecologically endowed undeveloped privately
owned property in greater Puget Sound. For 9,000 years people
have come to Lily Point because of its biological richness. The
Land Trust hopes to make sure that the same is true for the next
9,000 years -- both the public access and the biological richness.
Lily Point hosts a dynamic assembly of ecological processes -
reefs and tidelands swept by nutrient filled currents, riparian
forests providing shade, perches, and insects to the coastal
environment, and eroding cliffs supplying sand and gravel for
spawning substrate and beach replenishment. These processes are
essential to the health of Puget Sound - the Orca that patrol
the Straights of Georgia, salmon that skirt Lily Point on their
way to the Fraser and Nooksack Rivers, bald eagles that scour
the beach, great blue herons that stalk the tidelands, and waterfowl
and shore birds that visit Boundary Bay. At a low tide in June,
a delegation from the Land Trust saw nearly 100 eagles on the
beach at Lily Point.
Lily Point's strategic location, its relatively
large undeveloped and natural shoreline, and its combination
of mature upland forests, riparian vegetation, feeder cliffs,
and ecologically abundant tidelands give this project regional
and international significance. Providing spawning substrate
for forage fish utilized by juvenile Chinook salmon, Lily Point
is identified as a priority protection site in the Puget Sound
Action Team Recovery Plan. The Nature Conservancy includes Lily
Point as "Priority Conservation Area" because of the
site's exceptional and regionally important ecological values.
Boundary Bay, whose ecological health is directly linked to Lily
Point, is recognized as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International,
as a Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network Site (WHSRN),
and as a U.N. Wetland of International Importance especially
for Waterfowl (RAMSAR Site).
The history of Lily Point attests to its fecundity.
Archeologists date human occupancy back at least 9000 years.
For centuries, the Coastal Salish Native Peoples maintained their
primary reef net fishery and a summer village for as many as
500 people at Lily Point. Here the Lummi ancestors each year
performed their most important "first salmon" ceremony
to assure the annual return of the fish they depended on. An
1881 newspaper reported 10,000 salmon caught by 3 reef nets in
6 hours. The Lummi Nation supports the Land Trust's purchase
of Lily Point.
After acquisition, we will transfer ownership
of Lily Point to Whatcom County Parks Department, retain a restrictive
conservation easement protecting the ecological functions and
attributes of the site, and develop environmental education and
Whatcom Land Trust has an agreement with Welsh
Development Company to purchase Lily Point for $3,500,000; the
property was appraised in July for $4,380,000. We have raised
$2,750,000 toward the purchase price - $500,000 from the Whatcom
County Conservation Futures Fund, $500,000 from the State Department
of Ecology, and $1,750,000 from the State Department of Fish
and Wildlife Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, part of
the Puget Sound Nearshore Partnership for a total of $2,750,000.
Lily Point was one of the two highest ranked Estuary and Salmon
Restoration Projects out of 73 applicants and was awarded over
23% of the available grant money. We now need $750,000 more to
acquire the property and hope to raise an additional $250,000
for transaction costs, establishing baseline data, preparing
a biological inventory, monitoring, restoration assessment and
planning, and setting up an environmental education program.