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 has successfully acquired 7,711.20 acres of rich and diverse habitats on the east slope of the central Cascade Mountains near Yakima utlizing two RCO grants and a federal Endangered Species Habitat Recovery grant. The project lands are directly adjacent to the Wenas Wildlife Area and state forest lands, and are a checkerboard inholding within the Wenatchee National Forest. Extensive recreational use of these lands provides an important local community value. A striking array of habitat and species diversity occurs here because the elevation varies from 2,500 to 6,000 feet above sea level. Spotted owls are found in the old growth forests, mountain goats occur on the upper elevations, Coho salmon and steelhead occupy the streams, and several species of lizards and snakes are found at the lower elevations. Four watersheds have their headwaters on Bald Mountain and feed both the Naches and Yakima Rivers. The Rock Creek 1 acquisition of 2,675 acres was completed using a prior WWRP grant and a portion of a federal Endangered Species Habitat Recovery grant. Rock Creek 2 and 3, 7,711.20 acres, were acquired with this WWRP grant and a federal Endangered Species Habitat Recovery grant. The state WWRP grant is being utilized as match to the federal Endangered Species Habitat Recovery grant.