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 will use this grant to buy about 730 acres of critical sagebrush-steppe habitat in north central 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. The land borders the Okanogan River for nearly 2.5 miles and conserving the land will help protect Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, both of which are species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act. Widespread community support exists for preserving this last wild segment of the Okanogan River. The land 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.