by AMANDA WINTERS
A $1 million deal in the works between the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and local land owner Norma Marshall could add 52 acres of land to a conservation estuary and bring an end to The Three Crabs restaurant.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at a June 2 meeting approved the purchase of 52 acres of property belonging to Marshall — including the property where the restaurant is located, along the Dungeness Bay.
Marshall said the state has expressed interest in purchasing her property but nothing has been signed and she hasn’t received any money.
If purchased, the property will become part of the North Olympic Wildlife Area managed by the department to provide habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species as well as public access for outdoor recreation such as fishing, crabbing, hunting, wildlife viewing and kayaking, according to a commission news release.
In a presentation, the department described the area as follows: “The Dungeness River and Meadowbrook Creek estuary and associated coastal wetlands are documented as the most significant habitat areas for a wide diversity of wildlife and fish including marine mammals, seabirds, migratory shorebirds, waterfowl, neotropical migrants, raptors, salmonids, shellfish and Dungeness crab. Federally listed species include Chinook and chum salmon, marbled murrelet. This site is also a critical location for the ongoing effort to restore ecosystem processes associated with the reconnection of Meadowbrook Creek to the Dungeness River.”
The department already owns several large sections of land in the area. The purchase will be funded with grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Three Crabs restaurant, operating since 1958, and several outbuildings on the property will be torn down if the purchase closes, which could happen sometime in the fall. The restaurant remains open, Marshall said.
Reach Amanda Winters at email@example.com.