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 (WDFW) will use this grant to buy approximately 7,250 acres of shrub-steppe habitat used by sharp-tailed grouse. The property is located about 6 miles west of Grand Coulee in Douglas County on the south shore of the Columbia River and is the final phase of a three phase project to complete the 20,500-acre Big Bend Wildlife Area. This acquisition will help conserve an important connectivity link between and through the sharp-tailed grouse populations in Douglas, Okanogan, and Lincoln counties and a strategic component in WDFW’s ongoing efforts to maintain and recover sharp-tailed grouse in these counties. This acquisition will protect habitat used by Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, greater sag-grouse, sage thrasher, golden eagle, and mule deer.