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'Nick's Lagoon' — from a dream to reality

Nick Holm, 15, of Seabeck, and Jerry Zumdieck stand near the pristine salmon-filled waters of what they call “Nick’s Lagoon.” The lagoon is part of a 35-acre parcel the county recently purchased. - Photo by Tracey Cooper
Nick Holm, 15, of Seabeck, and Jerry Zumdieck stand near the pristine salmon-filled waters of what they call “Nick’s Lagoon.” The lagoon is part of a 35-acre parcel the county recently purchased.
— image credit: Photo by Tracey Cooper

A second look at a “for sale” sign and the diligence of a 15-year-old Seabeck boy led to the preservation of the picturesque “Nick’s Lagoon.”

The lagoon, dubbed for the young outdoor enthusiast turned research assistant, is part of a 35-acre chunk of land on Seabeck Bay and could one day become an educational center.

In January 2001 Jerry Zumdieck, parent and organizer of the Seabeck Alki Salmon Team at Seabeck Elementary, saw the land was up for sale as she dropped her kids at the school.

Something told her to take a second look at the land and see how much the seller wanted. That something could have been the fear the estuary filled with young salmon would become half a dozen home sites.

“I didn’t want to see that happen,” Zumdieck said.

So she, biologist Ron Hirschi and Klahowya freshman Nick Holm, a charter member of the salmon club, conducted studies on the lagoon and realized how important the waters are to young salmon. While Holm and Hirschi monitored the waters Zumdieck did the grant writing. She eventually gathered the more than $650,000 needed to purchase the land.

The group also caught the eye of the Trust for Public Lands, which assisted them in negotiations with the land owner.

Kitsap County Commissioners approved the purchase of the land Monday, Sept. 23. The deal includes grants of $498,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and $150,000 from the state Department of Ecology. The county paid about $7,000 including closing costs.

The lagoon is fed by five streams and is home to chinook, coho, cutthroat and chum. Bird life such as blue herons, eagles, and ducks and wildlife are also abundant.

“I like the outdoors,” Holm said. He joined the salmon team in the fourth grade. Since then his interest in protecting the salmon’s environment has grown. It might someday lead him down a career in marine biology, or other outdoorsy occupation.

Nick’s mother said he has loved fishing since he was two years old.

“It just kind of all fell into place,” Heather said of the lagoon and Nick’s involvement with the project.

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