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.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will use this grant to acquire approximately 3,200 acres of priority Riparian Protection and upland wildlife habitat in the Cowiche Watershed project area, located about 15 miles northwest of Yakima in Yakima County. This project will allow WDFW to link 2 existing wildlife area units (Cowiche and Oak Creek) totaling 5,600 acres and further link with other public lands, thereby connecting a landscape of over 80,000 acres to conserve cold water inputs for Cowiche watershed Steelhead, Bull Trout Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Coho Salmon, as well as winter range and movement corridors for elk and other big game. This project will also provide the public with recreational opportunities, including hunting, wildlife viewing, camping, hiking and biking.