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 Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will use this grant to acquire approximately 4,480 acres within the Cowiche Watershed. The property includes shrub steppe and oak-ponderosa pine woodland habitat and more than seven miles of riparian habitat along Cowiche Creek. This acquisition provides crucial winter range for deer and elk and offers protection of the migration zone for the largest elk herd in Washington State. It also protects habitat for listed Mid-Columbia steelhead, the state threatened western gray squirrel, nearly 70 species of butterflies, and numerous cavity nesting bird species including the Lewis’s woodpecker. The primary conservation opportunity provided by this grant is habitat conservation.