The State Lands Restoration and Enhancement category provides funding to two state agencies to help repair damaged plant and animal habitat. These grants focus on resource preservation and protection of public lands. Projects in this category help bring important natural areas and resources back to their original functions by improving the self sustaining and ecological functionality of sites.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife used this grant to restore 80 acres of Palouse grassland, west of Spokane, using all native seeds and replacing the exotic species previously present on the site after years of use as an agricultural site. This effort now serves as a pilot for future restoration of larger plots of Palouse grassland by state and federal agencies and others, and also provides environmental education opportunities. The Palouse grassland ecosystem is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world with only one-tenth of 1 percent of the historic levels remaining. Formerly a vast expanse of native bluebunch wheatgrass, Idaho fescue, and other grasses mixed with a wide array of forbs, it now provides important food and cover to species such as the sharp-tailed grouse, grasshopper sparrow, and burrowing owl.