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 goal of this project is to restore native plant species on approximately 40 acres along the valley bottom and riparian areas throughout Selah Cliffs Natural Area Preserve (NAP). The 300 acre Selah Cliffs NAP, located in Yakima County, was established in 1993 to protect the largest known population of basalt daisy (Erigeron basalticus), a state threatened and Federal species of concern. This species is known from only a 10-mile stretch of the Yakima River Canyon and Selah Creek. The NAP includes the rocky floodplain of Selah Creek at the foot of the cliffs, and areas of shrub-steppe habitat consisting of low-growing stiff sagebrush, big sagebrush, and bunchgrasses such as Sandberg’s bluegrass, bluebunch wheatgrass, and needle-and-thread. The cliffs, much of which are covered by colorful lichens, also provide nesting and roosting habitat for raptors including prairie falcons, golden eagles and kestrels. Portions of the creek remain wet year round and are dominated by cottonwood and willows. These areas provide food, cover and nesting opportunities for various wildlife and birds, particularly migratory songbirds. This project will restore 30 acres of shrub-steppe and 10 acres of riparian habitat in the areas impacted by grazing including where the homestead was and selected areas along the valley bottom and creek. Nonnative species will be removed, and native grasses and forbs will be planted in the meadow and treated areas along the valley bottom.