Northwest NEWS

May 15, 2000

Front Page

Salmon to benefit from land donation

by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor

   CARNATION--A 60-acre parcel of floodplain property donated last week to King County by Nestlé USA will become part of the county's salmon habitat enhancement program.

   King County Executive spokesperson Elaine Kraft said that county officials had approached Nestlé to purchase the property as part of their salmon recovery efforts, but instead the company decided to donate it.

   The land was part of the Nestlé Regional Training Center, formerly Carnation Farms. Headquartered in California, Nestlé acquired the 1,500-acre property in 1985 to develop into a training center for employees.

   Currently 200 dairy heifers are grazing on the donated parcel, which lies just northwest of the Carnation Farm Road bridge. The land is bordered by the Snoqualmie River and forest land, and is home to bald eagles, hawks, and deer.

   "Nestlé's commitment to be the 'very best' includes giving back in ways that are meaningful and beneficial to the comunities in which we operate," said Frank Novak, director, Nestlé Regional Training Center. "Through this land donation, King County will work in the best interest of the community to retain open spaces and work toward preserving the salmon habitat."

   County officials say spawning habitat for chinook salmon in the Snoqualmie watershed is limited, and this particular site, downstream from the confluence of the Tolt and Snoqualmie Rivers, has spawning beds for chinook, pink, and chum salmon. Opportunities abound, they say, to enhance habitat on the property through plantings along the river and side channels and levee removals and setbacks.

   The salmon recovery effort is part of Earth Legacy 2000, a county environmental campaign to increase reforestation and create a greener, healthier environment for people and fish.

   "It's good for everybody," said Kraft. "This is a $235,000 piece of property that will stay undeveloped. It is good habitat, with lots of gravel for spawning and rearing."

   Kraft said the the donation came with no strings attached. She said the county will be managing the property, but said she is unsure whether it will be used for grazing in the future.

   County Executive Ron Sims hailed the donation as a commitment to habitat protection. "Protection of habitat through public ownership or long-term conservation easements is quite expensive," he said. "Even when habitat protection efforts are carefully targeted, resources for acquisition fall short of the need. Nestlé's generous donation will help to stretch our resources for habitat protection, and allow the county to invest in other areas critical to long-term health of the Snoqualmie Watershed."

   Nestlé officials said the company will continue to help children learn about the environment through its "Very Best Volunteers" Adopt-A-School Program, and that Nestlé employees will host school field trips to the property, instructing on fish restoration and other natural habitats.