OPAL owns nearly one hundred acres of land on the Orcas. Not only do we provide permanently affordable housing, but we also are deeply committed to the long-term health, sustainability and biodiversity of these lands. The land stewardship program plays a pivotal role in achieving these goals by ensuring responsible land management, combating invasive plant species, promoting native biodiversity and fostering community education. With your support, we will significantly enhance OPAL’s land stewardship efforts.
Invasive Species Management:
- Conduct a thorough assessment of invasive plant species present on OPAL properties and prioritize the most problematic ones.
- Develop and implement a comprehensive invasive species management plan, including strategies for eradication, control, and prevention.
- Organize volunteer programs and community engagement initiatives to raise awareness about invasive species and involve the local community in monitoring and removal efforts.
- Collaborate with experts to share knowledge, resources, and best practices in invasive species management.
- Regularly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the management efforts and make necessary adjustments.
Native Biodiversity Restoration:
- Identify degraded or disturbed areas that are suitable for habitat restoration.
- Select appropriate native plant species based on the ecological characteristics of the island and the needs of local wildlife.
- Establish native plantings in targeted areas, ensuring proper site preparation, planting techniques, and ongoing maintenance.
- Create wildlife corridors by connecting restored habitats, allowing for the movement of wildlife and promoting genetic diversity.
- Monitor the progress of restoration efforts, track changes in native species populations, and assess the overall improvement in ecosystem health.
Demographic/Number of People Served:
This project will primarily serve the islanders who own or rent a home on land owned by OPAL Community Land Trust and will also benefit all islanders and visitors. OPAL has a high degree of visibility and can model best practices for land stewardship that other islands may choose to emulate. By preserving and enhancing the island’s natural beauty and biodiversity, the project will benefit everyone who enjoys and depends on the island’s resources.
Timeline for Completion:
This is the first phase of a multiple year effort. The timeline will depend on several factors, including the scale of invasive species infestations, the extent of habitat restoration required, and the availability of resources. We are committed to the process to thoroughly implement, monitor, and adapt to ensure the long-term success of the land stewardship initiative.
The community need/issue that our project seeks to address is the threat posed by invasive plant species and the degradation of native biodiversity on land owned and stewarded by OPAL Community Land Trust.
Invasive plant species can outcompete and displace native plants and animals, disrupting the delicate balance of the island’s ecosystem. This not only diminishes the ecological health of Orcas Island but also threatens the long-term sustainability and accessibility of its natural resources.
Our project aims to combat these challenges by collaborating with professional land managers and volunteers. We aim to create a thriving ecosystem that supports the health and resilience of the natural environment.
By solely focusing on OPAL’s land stewardship efforts, we will ensure responsible land management, combat invasive plant species, promote native biodiversity, and foster community education within our organization.