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.
The Department of Natural Resources will use this grant to buy and manage 126 acres of privately owned land within Trout Lake Natural Area Preserve (NAP) approved boundary. The preserve contains high quality freshwater wetland ecosystems and supports a large population of the Oregon spotted frog (OSF), a state endangered species and federal threatened species. Trout Lake NAP is also a nesting and foraging area for the Greater Sandhill crane, a state endangered species. In addition, several rare plants are found in the seasonally wet meadows and adjacent oak woodlands. This grant would permanently protect all of the remaining privately-owned OSF breeding habitat in the Trout Lake watershed to protect the species from future habitat loss and ensure the ability of biologists to continue monitoring breeding populations. Additional parcels include adjacent upland habitat that contain oak woodland habitat that supports several plant and animal species. The size and diversity of habitats contained within the Trout Lake NAP boundary, along with ongoing habitat management activities contribute to an excellent prognosis for long-term viability of this preserve and its conservation targets. This site also provides exceptional opportunities for scientific research and environmental education for local school groups and members of the public.