Conserving land along our waterways protects important habitat and helps keep our rivers healthy, clean, and more resilient to drought. Riparian Protection projects conserve and restore fresh and saltwater habitat while protecting fish habitat. In doing so, the grants help provide our families, farms, and fisheries with clean water across the state.
The Methow Valley, located in Okanogan Co. east of the North Cascade Mountains is renowned for its pristine riparian areas and abundant wildlife. Summer steelhead, Spring Chinook, Bull , Rainbow, and Cutthroat trout occur in the Basin. Washington’s largest mule Deer herd inhabits the Chewuck River drainage (a tributary) along with gray wolf, grizzly and black bears, lynx, wolverine, bald eagles, goshawks, loon, and sharp-tail grouse. Three sub-projects are identified within this project. The Methow River Agricultural Site would place 65 farm acres in conservation easements to limit subdivision and fence cattle from ,75 mile of the Methow’s left river bank, while enhancing habitat by planting additional riparian vegetation. The Little Cub Cr. sub-project will reduce sedimentation from roadss, purchase timber rights and/or place cons. easements on 320 acres of timbered lands including a series of natural beaver ponds, wetlands, and 1.7 miles of stream channel in this vital tributary. The Upper Methow sub-project will protect side channel habitats in the Upper Methow below its confluence with Hancock Creek. Cattle currently cross the river to a 3/4 mile long island. Four owners of ~30 acres of the island and the south-adjacent river bank, hope to use conservation easements to restrict grazing and protect prime habitat and refugia for juvenile fish provided by the island’s side channels. The project offers alternative land use practices threatening the basin’s riparian habitats.