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.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife will use this grant to buy about 5,112 acres in the Simcoe Mountains. This unique, large-scale landscape includes mixed conifer trees, Oregon white oak, white alder, shrub steppe, grasslands, cliffs, and 26 miles of stream bank along Rock Creek, which is a tributary to the Columbia River, and its tributaries. The land and streams are used by steelhead trout, which is a species listed as at risk of extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act; by western gray squirrel, which is a species listed as threatened with extinction by the State; and by mule deer, rainbow trout, northern goshawk, and western toad. The purchase of this land will allow nonmotorized recreation, such as hiking and hunting. This is the sixth phase of a multiphase project to conserve 20,000 acres.