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An example of the Southeast Alaska Land Trust’s on going conservation efforts in the “Green Zone” is the Herbert River wetlands project. Through a collaboration with the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ), approximately 147-acres of high value habitat at the confluence of the Herbert and Eagle Rivers has been set aside.
On June 20, 2003, Southeast Alaska Land Trust secured an easement on one of the most exciting and special lands in the Juneau area. The property, the old Gelsinger homestead, was recently being considered for timber harvest and proposed industrial development. Public support for the conservation of this property had forestalled gravel extraction and rezoning, but permanent protection could not be guaranteed.
In the spring of 2002, Southeast Alaska Land Trust designed a strategy for a $553,000 match grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program to publicly acquire the Herbert River parcel. The federal money was awarded to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, who passed it directly to CBJ, upon which the city provided the $254,000 matching funds to acquire the property. The federal grant required the city to convey a conservation easement to Southeast Alaska Land Trust to protect the natural qualities of the property.
This new addition to the City’s Amalga Meadow Natural Area Park contains 3000 feet of frontage on a tidally influenced reach of the Herbert River, including its confluence with the Eagle River. Both of these rivers and the Strawberry Creek tributary, are cataloged and managed for their significant anadromous fish resources. Migratory birds, some listed as species of concern, also nest among 98 acres of complex riparian and wetland habitats. Acquisition of this piece provides an important link in contiguous Green Zone properties managed for habitat and dispersed recreation under four cooperating government programs.
The grant application that Southeast Alaska Land Trust developed for this project was ranked 8th out of 40 submitted. In recognition of our efforts to create partnerships for protecting coastal fish and wildlife habitat Southeast Alaska Land Trust, along with three other coastal Alaskan land trusts and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, received the nationally recognized Coastal America 2003 Spirit Award issued by the Executive Office of the United States President.