As Washington continues to grow, many of our most beautiful areas are threatened with development. In addition, native ecosystems are receding, and important wildlife habitat and migratory pathways are being cut off. The Natural Areas category helps combat this by funding projects that protect wildlife habitat and rare geological features while also preserving public access for back-country recreation.
This project is an expansion of the existing Selah Cliffs Natural Area Preserve, which provides protection for one of the largest worldwide populations of the basalt daisy, a federal endangered species candidate. Worldwide, the basalt daisy occurs only in the southern half of the Yakima River Canyon and the adjacent Selah Creek Canyon. The existing NAP encompasses about 50% of this population’s habitat and this project will potentially protect up to another 25% from irreversible modification, while increasing DNR’s management ability and enhancing access. The remaining portion of the population is on the adjacent Yakima Training Center, managed by the U.S. Department of Defense, Fort Lewis. The cliffs within the project area are identified as a priority habitat by the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and are known to be used by Prairie Falcons and Golden Eagles. The proposed expansion of the NAP will enhance DNR’s ability to maintain ecological and wildlife values of the site.