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.
This Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) proposal will acquire 2,559 acres of shrub steppe: key properties that are essential for sustaining and increasing the population of sharp-tailed grouse in northern Douglas County, one of three small populations remaining in Washington. An active Columbian sharp-tailed grouse lek has been found on one of the parcels. This acquisition adjoins WDFW’s West Foster Creek Wildlife Area and provides connectivity to the nearby Central Ferry Canyon Wildlife Area and Colville Indian Reservation, both of which have active sharp-tailed grouse leks. This project will result in the long-term protection and enhancement of occupied and historic sharp-tailed grouse habitat and will greatly increase connectivity between critical habitat components on and off WDFW’s wildlife areas. It also will improve the potential for a successful sharp-tailed grouse augmentation project planned to begin in 2005.