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 project is to acquire a 15 acre tract of land that is adjacent to the Sondino Pond property. It is critical habitat for the Western Pond Turtle. The existing Sondino Pond Site (180 acres) is the last remaining Western Pond Turtle site in the state and this site is used as the nursery area for introductions of the Pond Turtle to other sites around the state. The University of Washington has been taking turtle eggs and giving them a head start program to hatch the turtles and get them through their first year of life. This 15 acre site is used by the turtles for nesting and travel between properties. This site contains several small wetlands as well as a permanent pond. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and the Nature Conservancy is in the process of buying the property with the hope of selling it to us. The legal description of the properties to be acquired is described in Exhibit A, which is by this reference incorporated into the Project Agreement.