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 Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife used this grant to acquire 4,198.45 acres in Douglas County. The target property lies approximately five miles south of Grand Coulee and includes gently rolling hills, upland meadows, lakes, creeks, ponds, pine woods, high desert, shrub-steppe, basalt cliffs, canyons, and Riparian Protection edges along the Columbia River. This was the first phase of a large scale acquisition in which WDFW intends to acquire the nearly 20,000-acre Grand Coulee Ranch. The primary habitat to be protected included contiguous shrub-steppe habitat occupied by the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse. This property provided an important connectivity link between and through sharp-tailed grouse populations in Douglas, Okanogan and Lincoln counties. The primary species supported by these habitats includes California quail, Hungarian partridge, chukar, ring-necked pheasant, wild turkeys, Washington ground squirrel, white-tailed jack rabbit, sage thrasher, bald and golden eagles, prairie falcon, and mule deer.