By Brian Cameron
Botts marsh is considered an area gem to Wheeler, Mohler and Nehalem residents.
The wetland features a wide variety of flora and fauna usually seen far from any state highway. It is approximately 33 acres in size and nearly all of that is considered wetland with only about nine acres resting on the high ground.
Recently the Lower Nehalem Community Trust (LNCT) applied for a total of three separate grants in order to purchase the marshland as a way to permanently preserve the sensitive area after the new owners, Ken and Lynn Ulbricht, decided to sell the marsh. The grant, which would be allocated to the LNCT, was offered to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and currently the Botts Marsh project stands in the first-place in the entire nation as far as likelihood of receiving the funding dollars.
The NAWCA grant total is for $65,375 and this money would only be used to purchase the actual land however there still would be some needed funds to see the project through to completion. In order for it to be considered a nationally qualified wetland the ground would require stewardship, which the grant dollars do not currently cover. This equates down to things like the required baseline monitoring, appraisals and hydrological studies.
On April 25 the LNCT will have their answer as to whether or not they receive funding but according to LNCT Board Member Nancy Chase, who has been at ground zero for applying for the grants themselves, it stands a very high chance.
“Considering we are in the number-one position regarding whether or not we receive the funds, its certainly promising,” said Chase. “The money would meet nearly all of our goals for the entire purchase of the marshland area. The rest would rely on general fundraising.”
The aim is hopefully in the future to tie the Marsh in with the potential Salmonberry Trail project currently in the planning phase and there has been some rumblings about the possibility of a community park installed by the nearby community of Wheeler. First things first, however, the ownership of the land needs to be qualified to do such things.