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 196.4 acres of oak forest, mixed oak forest and upland meadows to include in the Washougal Oaks Natural Area, located in Clark County at the western edge of the Columbia River Gorge. This project is part of an ongoing effort to acquire quality habitat in this conservation landscape, which encompasses the largest high-quality native oak woodland remaining in western Washington. This natural area supports two state sensitive plant species and four rare or threatened animal species. The primary conservation opportunity provided by this project is protection of the oak woodland and associated species from future residential development, other incompatible uses and exotic plant species, as well as environmental education and research and low-impact recreation opportunities.