The property is adjacent to Whatcom Falls Park and is in the Lake Whatcom watershed. Also called Scudder’s Pond and described as a nature preserve in an urban setting, it can be accessed from city of Bellingham trails off Electric Avenue and Alabama Street.
Acquiring Scudder Pond will help with the city’s goal of protecting the water quality of Lake Whatcom, city officials said, and it adds to Bellingham’s ownership of aquatic habitat adjacent to Whatcom Falls Park.
“We just thought they’d be in a better position, with resources and expertise, to manage it because they manage many properties around the Lake Whatcom watershed,” said Pam Borso, president of North Cascades Audubon Society.
“They maintained it all along anyway,” Borso added. “It was appropriate for them to have sole charge of it.”
The society also decided to give the land to the city for liability reasons.
North Cascades Audubon Society has had Scudder Pond since 1987, when Vita Armitage donated the property to the organization in honor of her father, O.C. Scudder. She asked that the land be protected as a wildlife preserve.
The city will manage the land the way it does other watershed acquisition properties, which includes controlling invasive species and keeping an eye out for people doing things such as dumping garbage, according to Clare Fogelsong, natural resources policy manager in the city of Bellingham’s Public Works Department.
“We appreciate Audubon’s donation,” Fogelsong said.
Scudder Pond, which is a wetland, has a diversity of migratory and breeding birds, mammals and other wildlife. They include beavers, mallard ducks, red-winged blackbirds, buffleheads, black-crowned night-herons and great blue herons, according to North Cascades Audubon Society.
Fogelsong likes the red-winged blackbirds himself.
“I’ve enjoyed their songs. I like their tune,” he said.
Plant life at Scudder Pond includes cattails, sedge and lady’s thumb. The area also is a stop on the Great Washington State Birding Trail.