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.
This project successfully conserved 2,728 acres of diverse, high quality habitats including mixed conifer forests, oak woodlands, freshwater and riparian wetlands, talus slopes, and cliffs as well as 1 mile of the mainstem Klickitat River and 1.7 miles of two important perennial, clear water tributaries. The project site provides habitat for at least 15 federally listed or at risk wildlife species and 21 state listed or at risk species. During initial habitat mapping efforts, Washington Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage staff documented multiple rare plant associations on the site including one that has never been documented in Washington State before. Primary priority species supported by this project include the northern spotted owl, bull trout, mid-Columbia steel head and Chinook salmon, black-tailed and mule deer, western gray squirrels, and mountain goat. Additional benefitting species include five species of bat and a host of neo-tropical migratory birds. As important the site connects with an expands the 2,400-acre Klickitat Canyon Phase 1 property now owned by WA DNR and over a million acres of conserved land in the closed portion of the Yakama Indian reservation. It also connects a critical portion of a now 27-mile long corridor of the mainstem Klickitat River that is in conservation ownership, and conserves the last remaining portions of White Creek and Summit creek not in conservation ownership. Conservation ownership enables future habitat restoration opportunities if and as needed and protects access to the entire project area.