Foundation hooks a couple of big ones

POULSBO — As if helping to save local waters weren’t enough to crow about, the Liberty Bay Foundation has two more things to be proud of in the form of $51,000 toward its mission.

The foundation, a local group dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of Liberty Bay and to public environmental education, recently received word that it was the recipient of two pots of money.

“I wasn’t expecting it but I’m thrilled,” commented Kathleen Byrne-Barrantes, Lemolo Citizen’s Club and Liberty Bay Foundation member, on receiving the funds.

The first pot of money is $8,000 in mitigation funds from the Kitsap County Department of Community Development for a Finn Hill Road development. This money is specifically targeted toward wetland creation, enhancement and restoration at Nelson Park. Byrne-Barrantes said the money will mainly fund blackberry, ivy and other invasive weed abatement along the park’s waterfront.

“In Nelson Park most of it is not impacted but it’s moving in from urban development and we’re going to start abating that because once it gets in there, there’s no stopping it,” Byrne-Barrantes explained.

She added that the department of community development money will be a nice match with work set to take place this summer through a $328,000 matching grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“The development of the park with the grant that Parks and Recreation received, most of that is in the meadow area and they didn’t really have funding for what we’re going to do,” Byrne-Barrantes explained.

The second piece of funding is a $43,000 grant from the State Office of the Interagency Committee (IAC) Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB). The money applies to the whole of Liberty Bay and was secured for the Liberty Bay Foundation with help from IAC project manager Mike Ramsey. The Poulsbo project is among the 128 projects worth $37 million funded by the board in this grant cycle.

During the application process, Ramsey visited Little Norway and attended a seining expedition, a measurement of marine life in an area, and viewed areas that the foundation had already replanted. He is one of five project managers in the state who oversees grant applications for the SRFB.

“He was kind of our ambassador for the state and federal funding from the IAC,” explained Byrne-Barrantes.

Through meetings with Liberty Bay Foundation members and other fact-finding activities, Ramsey recommended funding for the revegetation portion of the project to the SRFB.

“It’s a great community building project,” Ramsey said. “The revegetation is a very appropriate activity to do in our urbanized areas.”

The $43,000 SRFB funds may be used to partially fund the foundation’s $35,000 match for a $215,000 grant from a federal non-point source pollution fund for the Nearshore Habitat Evaluation & Enhancement Project (NHEEP). The foundation started the NHEEP project to monitor, preserve and restore Liberty Bay habitat, while providing public education on caring for the bay. That project has been monitoring the Bay for more than one year now, and is in the middle of assessing the data that was collected.

“We’re trying to levy all of the funds we have to get the job done,” Byrne-Barrantes commented.

The SRFB grant will also be used for various projects around Liberty Bay, including revegetation, restoration and public outreach. One such project, the foundation recently tackled was cutting back blackberry bushes near Lemolo Shore Drive and replanting the site with more appropriate vegetation.

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