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.
McLoughlin Falls West project seeks to acquire approximately 730 acres of critical sagebrush-steppe habitat in northcentral Okanogan County. Protecting this unique property will benefit several important sagebrush-steppe species such as mule deer, sharp-tailed grouse, and various migratory bird species. Bordering the Okanogan River for nearly 2.5 miles, this project will also help protect threatened summer chinook and steelhead populations. Adjacent to Colville Confederated Tribe lands, Bureau of Land Management property and across the river from additional WDFW ownership, this addition will provide increased connectivity benefiting numerous wide-ranging species including migratory ungulates. Widespread community support exists for preserving this last wild segment of the Okanogan River. The property also contains a number of cultural resources, unique low-elevation ponderosa pine stands, and expansive talus and cliff habitat supporting golden eagles, peregrine falcons and other species. Recreation is expected to increase following acquisition with upland bird hunting, hiking, fishing and wildlife watching potentially being popular activities at this site. Several two-track roads exist on the property and could be utilized for non-motorized trail access.