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 restore degraded shrub-steppe habitat in the Green Gate area of the Quilomene Wildlife Area, 12 miles east of Ellensburg. The department will return about 12 miles of unauthorized vehicle trails to a more natural state, replant and protect 14 acres of shrub steppe, and install signs about the restoration activities for users. The area is critical overwintering and breeding habitat for many species that rely on shrub-steppe habitat and is a critical habitat link for sage grouse in Douglas and Kittitas Counties. This area is a documented breeding area for golden eagles, and is used by Townsend’s ground squirrels, Columbia spotted frogs, sage thrashers, Merriam’s shrews, Colockum elk and Naches mule deer herds. This area is popular for big game and upland bird hunting, biking, horseback riding, hiking, pleasure driving, shed hunting, and bird watching. The restoration actions will protect and restore draws of mature sagebrush, streams, emergent wetlands, and fragile shrub-steppe habitat.