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.
Reardan’s Audubon Lake in Lincoln County is 277 acres of wetlands, vernal ponds, grasslands, and channeled scablands supporting more than 200 species of birds and other wildlife, mostly in spring/fall migrations. The site includes thirteen species and four bird communities of special concern status and five WDFW habitat types or elements of special concern. It is the headwaters of Crab Creek, a Columbia River tributary, and Deep Creek, a Spokane River tributary. It is an Audubon Important Bird Area nominee. Listed in many birding guides, the site is planned for inclusion in the Northeast Washington Birding Trail. This property, just outside the town of Reardan in Lincoln County (22 miles to Spokane), was on the market for housing subdivision development until the Inland Northwest Land Trust and Spokane Audubon Society secured an option to purchase by spring 2006. The Trust and Audubon, along with Ducks Unlimited, City of Reardan and Reardan Chamber of Commerce, are committed to cooperatively preserving and developing this unique ecosystem and wildlife-viewing site. This project implements the Washington State Legislature’s directive to develop wildlife viewing sites near small rural communities that can reap the economic benefits of new visitors. With planning under the Watershed Management Act, acquiring this parcel would be the first phase of long-term efforts to preserve the biological integrity of the local watershed through conservation easements.