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.
In 2006 a 500 acre forest health restoration project was implemented on WDFW’s Colockum Wildlife Area. This project was specifically listed in the 2006 Colockum Wildlife Area Management Plan. The goals of the project were to reduce the density of Douglas Fir and Grand Fir by removing trees that had invaded as a result of past logging practices and wild fire suppression, open up Ponderosa Pine stands using different tree spacing requirements and burn the resulting slash to reduce fuels and improve regeneration of fire-dependent plant species for deer and elk browse. The harvest portion of this project was completed leaving well-spaced stands of large Ponderosa Pines. Harvest slash was not piled, but instead left fairly evenly distributed on the landscape. The prescribed fire portion of the project was not completed. After 10 years abundant fuels remain and now we are seeing natural regeneration of conifer seedlings between the large leave trees. We propose to complete the original project and use manual labor and prescribed fire to reduce fuel loading, stimulate fire-dependent plant species and move the stand towards a condition that a more natural fire return interval would create. Planning, site preparation and implementation would likely span a two-year period.