Critical Habitat projects are our state’s primary tool for conserving important fish and wildlife habitat. These projects protect the rich and diverse habitats in our forests, prairies, and wetlands. These funds help maintain our state’s biodiversity and protect species that are popular for hunting, birding, and other outdoor recreation, and are critical for the health of our salmon and fish populations.
Allen Family Ranch consists of 2,005 acres of farmland and habitat area at the headwaters of North Patit Creek, straddling the ridge between the Patit Creek and Tucannon River basins in Columbia County. Blue Mountain Land Trust is proposing to acquire 1,064 acres of critical wildlife habitat on the Ranch via a conservation easement that encompasses 1.4 miles of North Patit Creek and the Patit Creek watershed. The proposed project site abuts WDFW W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area, providing contiguous habitat protection for target species on lands designated as climate resilient and viable for connectivity. The project site includes forestland, grassland, and riverine habitats. Protection as critical habitat will enable the Land Trust to: 1) conserve important winter rangeland and calving grounds for Rocky Mountain Elk, 2) conserve winter rangeland for Mule deer and Northwest white-tailed deer, 3) protect headwater streams that supply freshwater resources to downstream salmonid habitat, 4) conserve and maintain ideal habitat for state and federal priority species , and 5) actively steward connected landscapes for ecological health in perpetuity through site-specific management plans. This project is part of a larger landscape-scale conservation effort that will unite three properties with WDFW Wooten Wildlife Area to provide contiguous wildlife habitat for priority species among a landscape dominated by agriculture and increased commercial/residential development pressure.