The Department of Fish and Wildlife used a grant to buy 282.5 acres of habitat along the Kalama River and the Merrill Lake shoreline in Cowlitz County. The land is between Merrill Lake and the Kalama River and has many unique habitat features including lava beds with tree casts, high volume springs feeding the Kalama River, small old-growth stands, waterfalls, and high-quality native plant communities. This site also supports large old-growth cedar or fir and includes riverfront at the 40-foot waterfall on the Kalama River.

The site connects with a national forest to the north and a Department of Natural Resources’ Natural Resource Conservation Area to the south. A diverse suite of species benefit from the overall project including steelhead, Coho and Chinook salmon, elk, martins, western toads, spotted owls, and osprey. Impending threats to these sites included subdivision for recreational lots or resort-type development and commercial logging.

This is the last phase of a larger effort to conserve 1,431 acres, also funded by RCO grants.