The State Lands Restoration and Enhancement category provides funding to two state agencies to help repair damaged plant and animal habitat. These grants focus on resource preservation and protection of public lands. Projects in this category help bring important natural areas and resources back to their original functions by improving the self sustaining and ecological functionality of sites.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife will use this grant to convert about 212 acres of agricultural fields to native shrub steppe vegetation in the Methow and Sinlahekin Wildlife Areas. This project is part of an ongoing effort to preserve the northernmost shrub steppe habitat in Washington. These two wildlife areas provide vital habitat for species dependent on shrub steppe such as sage thrashers, sagebrush sparrows, loggerhead shrikes, sagebrush lizards, and Columbian sharp-tailed grouse. Additionally, these areas are used by the state’s largest migratory mule deer herd due to the high-quality winter range habitat present. Once restored, the shrub steppe habitat will provide opportunities for recreation including hunting, wildlife and wildflower viewing, and hiking.