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 in Yakima County is part of a continued effort to acquire lands within the approved boundary of Selah Cliffs Natural Area Preserve, which provides protection for one of the largest populations of the basalt daisy, a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. The basalt daisy’s global distribution is limited to the southern half of the Yakima River Canyon and the adjacent Selah Creek Canyon. The existing NAP encompasses more than 75% of this population. This project will add to the proportion of the population that is protected, it will improve DNR’s access to the site, and it will enhance DNR’s ability to manage the site for its ecological values. The remaining portion of the basalt daisy 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 Department of Fish and Wildlife and are known to be used by Prairie Falcons and Golden Eagles.