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.
This proposal is for acquisition of 4,444 acres of critical steppe, shrub-steppe, forest ecotone and Riparian Protection habitats. It includes 4,044 acres of shrub steppe rangeland, 400 acres of wetland/Riparian Protection acres and 40,000 lineal feet of stream waterfront. This project is surrounded by National Forest and 18,700 owned or controlled by WDFW. Critical species include: Spring Chinook (federal endangered), Summer Steelhead (state depressed), Bull Trout (state critical), Sharptail recovery area, Bald Eagle wintering area, close proximity to Peregrin falcon Aerie (Federally endangered), neo-tropical migrants and high concentration elk winter range. This acquisition would be the last major element necessary to connect state and federal ownerships and manage the mid and upper Asotin Creek watershed on an ecosystems basis. The Asotin Creek model watershed plan was just completed – the first of its kind in the nation. This acquisition would connect critical habitat and would be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate and showcase watershed management. Without this key inholding public lands remain fragmented and potentially ineffective in the management of this watershed if these lands are sold for development, Considerable recreation takes place on adjacent public lands with minimal management requirements. This acquisition would consolidate, protect and increase recreational opportunities. The legal description of the property proposed for acquisition is described as: Sections 3,4,5 Township 8 North, 44 EWM; Section 36, Township 9 North, 43 EWM; and Sections 26-35, Township 9 North, 44 EWM. Sites eligible for acquisition are limited to those described in the application.