Yaquina Bay has lost approximately 70% of its historic estuarine marshes. The remaining tidal marshes provide habitat critical for species listed on the Endangered Species Act including coho salmon, brown pelicans, bald eagles, and marbled murrelets, as well as for sea-run cutthroat and steelhead trout which are ESA candidate species. The project additionally protects key habitat for state sensitive anadromous species: chum salmon and Pacific lamprey. The remaining estuarine marsh habitat supports the second highest use by waterfowl in Oregon. It also contains high numbers and diversity of migratory shorebirds.
Yaquina Conservation Plan
The Yaquina Estuary Conservation Plan prioritizes the conservation needs and opportunities for the Lower Yaquina watershed from an ecological perspective, and promotes the selection of acquisition and restoration projects that address critical watershed and estuary processes, functions, and restoration opportunities. While previous plans for the estuary have focused mostly on water quality and fish, the Yaquina Estuary Conservation Plan provides an ecologically-based landscape analysis of lands currently under conservation, an analysis of estuary processes and functions, and detailed recommendations for future conservation actions within the Lower Yaquina watershed. The report is accompanied by the 39-page Yaquina Estuary Conservation Plan Atlas that that conveys visually the many factors affecting the health and viability of the estuary.
With funding from US Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Grant and Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, TWC acquired 420 acres of high priority estuarine marsh habitat in Yaquina Bay. These acquisitions are key to the implementation of protection and restoration activities on the highest priority sites in the Yaquina estuary as determined by the assessment completed by the MidCoast Watersheds Council. TWC’s ownership incorporates and expands the positive but isolated protection and restoration efforts in the estuary from private landowners, the city, and timber companies, to build a comprehensive system of protection for the highest priority salt marsh sites.
In addition to changes to state land use laws, many new partnerships with private landowners, county, state and federal agencies, businesses and other non-profit organizations have developed since inception of the project. We will begin working with Pacific Forest Trust on joint conservation and restoration strategies for TWC’s new acquisitions and their adjacent 2,500 acres.
Clarence W. McQueen and Family Preserve
In partnership with the Central Coast Land Conservancy and funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Small North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), TWC purchased 33 acres of estuarine marsh in McCaffery slough, Yaquina estuary. The Clarence W McQueen & Family Preserve will add to lands already conserved, resulting in the conservation of approximately 85% of the salt marsh habitat in this approximately 550 acre watershed. The City of Newport will donate the adjacent 7-acre parcel to the Central Coast Land Conservancy.