State buying 4,200-acre ranch
WILDLIFE — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved purchasing 4,200 acres of a Douglas County ranch to protect shrub-steppe habitat for wildlife, especially for threatened sharp-tailed grouse, and provide public access for outdoor recreation. It’s the first phase of the state’s plan to purchase virtually all 20,500 acres of the Grand Coulee Ranch, which borders 14 miles of the Columbia River including Lake Rufus Woods backed up behind Chief Joseph Dam. The land in the first-phase purchase, located about 5 miles northwest of Grand Coulee is being sold for $1.8 million. The purchase is funded by a grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. Once the sale is closed, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will manage the land as part of the Wells Wildlife Area.