Forest conservation helps protect Tacoma's water supply

Forterra, the Pacific Northwest land conservation organization, announced Tuesday it has transferred ownership of 344 acres of forest land along Sawmill Creek in the upper Green River Valley, which supplies the drinking water for Tacoma, to Tacoma Water.

According to Forterra president Gene Duvernoy, Forterra purchased the property, which is the largest privately-owned swath of old growth forest left in the Green River Valley, in late-December from Plum Creek Timber Company. The transfer of ownership to Tacoma Water was completed on Dec. 27. The purchase was financed using grant funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Tacoma Water welcomes the donation of this property so that we can protect the forest and the clean water flowing from it,” said Linda McCrea, Tacoma Water’s Superintendent. “This fits well in the long term management of our lands in the upper Green River watershed to keep our water supply clean and provide quality habitat for wildlife. It builds on earlier acquisitions in Sawmill Creek facilitated by Forterra and other conservation groups.”

According to Duvernoy, the conservation project helps connect habitat with other conserved forests of the Central Cascades in the Cedar River Watershed, Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Mt. Rainier National Park. “[It’s] a huge benefit for our region’s environment and ensures that another great piece of forestland will provide high quality habitat for our wildlife in this corridor connecting the north and south Cascades,” said Duvernoy.

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The ownership of some 344 acres of forest land along Sawmill Creek in the upper Green River Valley was recently transferred from Forterra to Tacoma Water. (PHOTO COURTESY FORTERRA)