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 acquire approximately 2,161 acres of shrub-steppe habitat consisting of two private properties and a DNR trust land parcel for inclusion in the Upper Dry Gulch Natural Area Preserve. This site is located ten miles south of Wentachee and was designated to provide protection for a rare endemic plant species, Whited’s milkvetch (Astragalus sinuatus). The entire global distribution of this species consists of less than 9 square miles centered around the NAP and this project will increase the potential for the species long-term survival. The primary conservation opportunity provided by this project is increased protection for this extremely rare plant community, as well as exceptional opportunities for scientific research and environmental education for local school groups and the public.