Judd Creek parcel secures protection

King County and the Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust teamed up to put another 10 acres of property along Judd Creek into protected ownership, representatives from both entities said last week.

The purchase includes 400 feet of Judd Creek, Vashon’s largest stream and a source of habitat for spawning salmon. The property is also adjacent to other acreage the two entities recently protected and kitty-corner to more than 40 acres of protected land in Paradise Valley.

All told, said Tom Dean, executive director of the land trust, the county and the nonprofit have safeguarded nearly 90 acres as part of the Paradise Valley Preserve.

“This is Vashon’s big creek,” Dean said. “We’re trying to piece together a preserve that can sustain a salmon run.”

The property on 111th Avenue S.W. was owned for years by Peggy Anderson, who raised two children, as well as countless chickens, there. But the small 1944-era house is problematic, Dean said. The septic is broken, and the well drew water from the stream.

The modest home would likely would need to be rebuilt, but because of the configuration of the land and the house’s proximity to a salmon-bearing stream, permits would be nearly impossible to secure, he said.

What’s more, Dean said, restoration of the property will add considerably to Judd Creek’s health.

“Some of this work will have an immediate impact,” he said.

Greg Rabourn, Vashon’s basin steward for King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks, concurred.

The purchase, he said, “gives us an opportunity to do some real good here.”

The property was purchased for $272,000 by the land trust, which was then reimbursed by the county when the county bought a conservation easement from the land trust. That approach — keeping the land trust as the owner but involving the county as both a funder and a partner — works well, both Dean and Rabourn said.

“It’s good for the land trust because it enables them to acquire a lot more land. It’s good for the county because the land trust is responsible for the management and the upkeep,” Rabourn said.

Dean said the house will be torn down and the property restored, eventually providing a spot where people can walk along the stream and possibly see salmon spawning.

“I’m really excited about this purchase,” he said.


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