Cowiche Watershed

Category Overview

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.

Project Highlights

The Cowiche Watershed project added approximately 2,250 acres to the Cowiche Unit of the Oak Creek Wildlife Area, which now totals 5,107 acres. The project preserves listed priority habitats and associated wildlife species and protects and retains functional migration corridors and core wildlife habitat. WDFW priority habitats found in this project area include shrub-steppe, oak woodland, aspen stands, cliffs, wetlands, and talus. This project benefits listed and priority species associated with these habitat types including golden eagle, loggerhead shrike, sage thrasher, sage sparrow, white-headed woodpecker, Lewis’ woodpecker, and nuthatch. The property acquired provides important winter range for deer and elk. Other species that will benefit include sage grouse and western gray squirrel. Public benefits include hiking and wildlife viewing which includes numerous sage-obligate wildlife species as well as excellent wildflower displays. Refer to attachment 20 for a map of the Oak Creek Wildlife Area, Cowiche Unit and acquired parcels.

Quick Facts

WWRP Applicant: Fish & Wildlife Dept of Category: Critical Habitat WWRP Grant: $ 1,781,541.40 Applicant Match: $ - Project Type: Acquisition County: Yakima Legislative District: 14 Status: Closed Completed RCO Project # 02-1143
Photo Credit: Tony Grover

Location Details

From Yakima: Take Hwy 12 to the 40th Avenue exit. Head south on 40th to Summitview. Turn right on Summitview. Stay on Summitview (Summitview/Cowiche Road) for about 9-10 miles and turn left on Cowiche Mill Road. Go about 4 miles to the Oak Creek Wildlife Area. Project area includes the lands that surround the Oak Creek Wildlife Area.

What is the WWRP

The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) is a state grant program that creates and conserves local and state parks, wildlife habitat and working farms. The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office administers WWRP grants, and the legislature funds the program.