Olympia neighbors band together to save great blue herons | KUOW News and Information

Olympia neighbors band together to save great blue herons

Oct 12, 2017

Booming development in the Pacific Northwest is pricing out a lot of residents. But one Olympia neighborhood has plans to protect some of its longtime inhabitants: a colony of great blue herons.

Residents near West Bay Woods wanted to save a heron nest three years ago, so they formed a nonprofit.

Daniel Einstein is president of the Olympia Coalition for Ecosystem Preservation, which raised more than a million dollars to keep 10 acres from being developed.

“People are thrilled,” Einstein said. “This started off as a group of neighbors getting together saying, ‘This feels like our backyard, having these woods here is part of our way of life. What can we do to stop it?’”

The coalition is working with the city on a new trail system, though the woods will close for the herons’ mating season.

“It’s a population in crisis,” Einstein said. “Just in Thurston County alone, twenty years ago there were ten colonies. Today there are two. And this colony which exists in Olympia is one of those two. So it’s worth protecting.”

The heron colony in West Bay Woods has about 32 birds.