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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 monitoring programs.

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.


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