As Washington continues to grow, many of our most beautiful areas are threatened with development. In addition, native ecosystems are receding, and important wildlife habitat and migratory pathways are being cut off. The Natural Areas category helps combat this by funding projects that protect wildlife habitat and rare geological features while also preserving public access for back-country recreation.
The Washington Department of Natural Resources will use this grant to buy about 218 acres of oak forest, farmland, stream bank forest, and wetland for inclusion in the Lacamas Prairie Natural Area, northeast of Vancouver. The purchase will conserve a key part of a watershed that feeds a protected, rare remnant of Willamette Valley wet prairie, which is the only example of its size and quality in Washington. This plant community, designated a priority one plant community by the Natural Heritage Program, is seriously threatened by one of the most rapidly urbanizing counties in the state. The department will restore the oak and stream bank forest and wet prairie and will enlarge the protected habitat and its buffers. The greater Lacamas Prairie Natural Area Preserve protects the second largest of 20 known populations of Bradshaw’s Lomatium, a globally critically imperiled, federally endangered plant species. It also contains habitat for seven state sensitive plant species and one rare animal species.