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 Natural Resources will use this grant to restore 30 acres of rare plant habitat in Columbia Hills Natural Area Preserve and Columbia Hills State Park, on the eastern edge of the Columbia Gorge, near Goldendale. The Columbia Hills area has diverse plant communities including grassland, vernal pools, wet meadows, and oak forests, and several rare plants found only in Klickitat County. In addition, numerous wildlife and birds rely on these areas for breeding and foraging. An increase in nonnative grasses such as cheatgrass, bulbous bluegrass, and rush skeletonweed, threaten the native communities. The department will treat nonnative species in select areas and restore the native plant communities on 25 acres. In addition, the department project will control invasive plants and plant oak trees on 5 acres destroyed by wildfire, around Crawford Oaks Trailhead. The department also will install two interpretative signs along Stacker Butte road in the Columbia Hills Natural Area Preserve to highlight the ecological and geological significance of this area.