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 used this grant to acquire 45.63 acres east of Washougal as part of a larger area that encompasses the largest, high-quality, native oak woodland remaining in western Washington. The land supports two state sensitive plant species and two rare or threatened animal species: slender-billed white-breasted nuthatch and lower Columbia River steelhead. This acquisition was part of a multi-phased project with the long-term objective of protecting the oak woodland and its inhabitants from incompatible uses.