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 Upper Dry Gulch Natural Area Preserve (NAP) is located approximately ten miles south of Wenatchee, in shrub-steppe habitat. The NAP was established in 1989 to provide protection for a rare endemic plant species, Whiteds milkvetch (Astragalus sinuatus). The entire global distribution of this species consists of less than 9 square miles centered around the existing NAP. This proposal is the second phase of acquisition and will include an additional 1513 acres of land for inclusion in the NAP. The priority parcels include land recently received by the Department of Natural Resources for trust land management. The first phase of the acquisition included several private property parcels that contain large populations of Whited’s milkvetch. After the second phase is complete at least 95% of the Whited’s milkvetch population will be protected at Upper Dry Gulch NAP. 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.