White River corridor is biologically significant for native plants, wildlife

The White River area in Buckley and Enumclaw is currently a biologically significant corridor supporting native plants and wildlife. The area is home to river otter, bobcat, green-backed herons, lazuli bunting, long toed salamanders, hoary bats, elk and native salmon.

“Biodiversity is an excellent indicator that a community is operating in a sustainable fashion balancing its economical, social and environmental needs that will serve it well into the future” said Linda Burgess, former chair of the Puyallup River Watershed Council.

Biological surveys confirm the presence of just less than 600 different native species of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians inhabiting lands along the river. From Buckley to Sumner, the Lower White River has been recognized as a Biodiversity Stewardship Management Area. Many of these species are likely to decline and disappear unless residents and landowners become conscientious stewards of biological diversity. Each year, as our population grows, some 35,000 acres of wildlife habitat are lost to development in Washington. Cascade Land Conservancy is purchasing some land along the river corridor, but without more voluntary participation from private landowners, the White River’s legacy of biodiversity will still be threatened.

There are many resources available for individuals to participate, things like property tax reductions, tradable development credits, forestry riparian easement, family forest fish passage, financial resources for small landowners and even advice on how to manage your yard to sustain and encourage wildlife. Preservation of the region can also serve as an educational tool and recreational area for our schools, scouts and community.

Get involved. It’s interesting and it gets exciting when you see the benefits of small endeavors in the restoring of health to our natural environment. You can tell your children and grandchildren that you have contributed to a healthy world into the future for them to also live in.

For more information on how you can get involved in preserving this unique and special area, attend the local Sustainable Foothills meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the Buckley library. Contact Suzanne Ravet at for more information on Sustainable Foothills.

Sustainable Foothills is a local group in formation, dedicated to an environmentally sustainable and socially just community.

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