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.
These acquisitions protect remaining large, contiguous blocks of native shrub-steppe habitat in the Methow watershed, along with critical Riparian Protection and in-stream habitat in the Methow River, Chewuch River, and Beaver Creek drainages and link low elevation, Riparian Protection habitat with WDFW’s Methow Wildlife Area (a protected area since 1941) and other protected uplands, securing vital animal movement corridors within the valley. Protecting stream frontages, helps conserve over 40 priority species and habitats, including sharp-tailed grouse, spring Chinook, steelhead, rare carnivores, bull trout, migratory songbirds, and Riparian Protection and shrub-steppe habitats. The Methow River watershed is perhaps the most intact and ecologically functional major drainage in eastern Washington, supporting a unique and diverse assemblage of fish and wildlife species. Biological diversity reaches its zenith in the low elevation shrub-steppe and deciduous Riparian Protection forest. Anadromous fish in the Methow River were among the first to be federally listed in Washington, and the watershed is the strong hold in the Upper Columbia region for imperiled steelhead and spring Chinook and bull trout. These acquisitions protect unique groundwater up-welling areas vital for over-wintering juvenile fish. The associated river-bottom Riparian Protection habitat is some of the best remaining cottonwood gallery forest in eastern Washington, and is one of only a few areas in the state with breeding redstarts, Veerys, and red-eyed vireos. Addition of these properties provides additional public access for educational and recreational benefits; several local and regional environmental education groups use the wildlife area for field seminars and staff training.