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August 2014

Conservation Connection August 2014

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In this issue:

  • Cascades Grizzlies
  • Wolverine Lawsuit
  • Wildfires Update
  • Make a Special Gift
  • Monitoring News
  • Hiking in Wolf Country
  • Kickstarter Thank You!


Grizzly bear photographed in April 2010 just 15 miles north of the U.S. North Cascades in Manning Provincial Park, Canada. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Environment

Grizzly bear photographed in April 2010 just 15 miles north of the U.S. North Cascades in Manning Provincial Park, Canada.
Photo: B.C. Ministry of Environment


 

 







First Step in Process to Save Cascades Grizzly Bears

 

For over 25 years Conservation Northwest has worked towards the recovery of the North Cascades Grizzly Bear. This week these iconic native bears, of which less than 20 likely remain, finally got some good news: the National Park Service and USFWS announced the start of a three-year public process to assess the recovery of grizzly bears in the North Cascades ecosystem.

"This is huge news, for the Pacific Northwest and for grizzly bears," said Joe Scott of Conservation Northwest. "It marks the potential turning point in the decade's long decline of the last grizzly bears remaining on the U.S. West Coast. Without recovery efforts, these bears may soon be gone forever. This week's announcement renews hope that this wilderness icon will roam the North Cascades for generations to come."

With nearly 10,000 square miles stretching from I-90 north to the Canadian border and including North Cascades National Park and portions of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forests, the North Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Area is one of largest blocks of wild federal land remaining in the lower 48 states. And it's the only federally designated grizzly bear recovery area outside the greater Rocky Mountains.

For more information on this momentous news, please see the news release we sent out in partnership with the National Parks Conservation Association, or check out this great article from reporter Sandi Doughton at the Seattle Times. We're thrilled there is finally a real recovery process in the works for grizzly bears in Washington's wild North Cascades, and we're ready to get to work.

 

 

 

The elusive wolverine, threatened now more than ever. Photo: WDFW

The elusive wolverine, threatened now more than ever.
Photo: WDFW

 

We're Standing Strong for Wolverines

 

Even with less than 300 wolverines in the continental U.S., and a direct threat from climate change, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week overruled advice from its own biologists and abandoned proposed Endangered Species Act protections for wolverines.

That's why we've joined an Intent to Sue letter along with Earthjustice and a coalition of eight other concerned organizations to ensure the agency follows well-established science and gives wolverines protections vital to their species' survival in the Lower 48.

"It is a shame that the Fish and Wildlife Service has turned a blind eye to the plight of a wilderness icon such as the wolverine, but we will not stand by while the Service ignores the best available science," said Earthjustice attorney Timothy Preso. "We intend to make sure that the wolverine gets a fighting chance at survival."

We'll keep you updated as the case develops, and we appreciate all your support as we stand strong for these astounding creatures.

 

 

 

New life grows in the Okanogan after the Carlton Complex Fire. Photo: Chase Gunnell

New life grows in the Okanogan after the Carlton Complex Fire.
Photo: Chase Gunnell

 

 

 

 

Update on Washington Wildfires

 

Changing weather patterns in Eastern Washington have brought rain and thunderstorms this month. This wetter weather has dampened and helped contain some Northwest wildfires, but also sparked a number of new fires and brought with it the risk of flash flooding and mudslides.

Those looking for the latest wildfire information should turn to InciWeb NW or the Governor's Wildfire Resources Page. We also have a list of resources on our website here and have found this Google Maps overlay of where wildfires are burning in the Northwest to be particularly helpful.

As direct threats from the Carlton, Chiwaukum and other blazes begins to subside, residents should be looking uphill and considering the risk of flooding, mudslides and other threats. Burnt slopes and creek beds are susceptible to massive erosion or debris flows, and blocked streams or culverts can cause dangerous floods. The Okanogan Conservation District has helpful "After the Fire" resources on their website and we'll be sharing more information as it becomes available.

And we haven't forgotten about the countless deer, elk, bears and other wildlife that've lost their habitat. These charred landscapes directly demonstrate that wildlife needs the ability to move in response to changing habitat conditions. As a land and wildlife organization, we have a role to play to ensure forest health and the long term survival of animals iconic to the Northwest. In the coming months we'll be coordinating with local residents, communities and the state to help ensure our region's wildlife, and our communities, can begin to recover from one of the worst fire seasons in memory.

 

 

 

We're working on safe crossings over I-90 to connect wildlife habitat. Photo: WSDOT

We're working on safe crossings over I-90 to connect wildlife habitat.
Photo: WSDOT

 

 

 

 

Make a Gift for Wildlife Recovery and Ecosystem Health

 

As a Conservation Northwest supporter, you help to strengthen landscape resilience and create secure pathways for wildlife. Our donors have allowed us to safeguard wild places for the benefit of both animals and people. But as the recent wildfires show, these habitats are constantly evolving, often unexpectedly. It is through the contributions of people like you that we are positioned to respond to those changes in real time, from wildfire response to habitat connections and responsible wolf recovery efforts.

We're asking our members and supporters, whether you've given before or you just joined our email list, to consider making a special gift today to connect and protect some of the most critical wildlife habitat in our state and complete priority habitat restoration projects this fall.

Because of people like you, Conservation Northwest is an effective advocate for wildlife recovery and ecosystem health. Please help us continue this important work by making a gift online today or by calling Julia at 800.878.9950 Ext. 110.

 

 

 

A bobcat photographed this summer by one of our CWMP teams. Photo: Conservation NW

A bobcat photographed this summer by one of our CWMP teams.
Photo: Conservation NW

 

 

 

 

Citizen Wildlife Monitoring News

 

The summer isn't even over and we've already had some big news from our Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project volunteers!

Not only have our teams captured great photographs of black bears, bobcats, deer and coyotes, but they've identified a new wolverine! Wolverines are unique in that their chest markings allow individual animals to be identified. With only a few dozen wolverines known to live in the Cascades, even one new animal sighted is exciting conservation news.

We've also published a report on our last monitoring season, which can be viewed on our website here. This report summarizes data collected over the winter of 2013-2014 from snow tracking data and from our winter remote camera sites. Check it out for some neat science and photos of wolverines, bobcats and other Northwest wildlife!

However, unfortunately we have lost several trail cameras to theft this summer. The CWMP program directly influences our conservation work and supports state and federal science, but we need sponsors to keep this program going. You can always donate for the Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Program online or adopt a monitoring team here.

 

 

 

A family of wolf pups in Eastern Washington. Photo: WDFW

A family of wolf pups in Eastern Washington.
Photo: WDFW


 

 

 

Tips for Hiking in Wolf Country

 

Summer may be starting to wind down, but there are still plenty of long, sunny days left to get outside and hit the trail. Planning to go hiking in the Cascades, Columbia Highlands, Selkirks or Kettle Ranges before the snow sets in?

If so, check out our latest blog post with tips for hiking in Washington's wolf country. Though some usual wildlife precautions are recommended, hikers, campers, climbers and backpackers should be informed that Washington's recovering wolves don't pose a significant threat to humans on the trail.

While they can be a danger for dogs and other pets, wolf attacks on humans are incredibly rare in North America, even in places like Alaska and Canada with much more abundant wolf populations. Intelligent with a healthy fear of humans, when encountered wolves will almost always pick an escape route and quickly exit the area. But hopefully not before you're able to snap a photo!

 

 

 

We're excited to capture videos like this fisher release in Olympic National Park. Photo: Paul Bannick

We're excited to capture videos like this fisher release in Olympic National Park.
Photo: Paul Bannick


 

 

THANK YOU for funding our Kickstarter!

 

Thanks to over a dozen generous supporters, we were able to successfully fund our Conservation Northwest Video Series campaign on Kickstarter! We'll be using these donations to purchase a new high-definition camera so we can start sharing even more short videos (and photos!) of our work keeping the Northwest wild.

From the Washington coast to the B.C. Rockies, we're lucky to work in some of the most video-friendly landscapes and habitats anywhere. We don't just want to tell you about these great mountains, rivers, forests, deserts and their native wildlife, we want to show them to you. We're excited to get started and couldn't do it without your help.

So stay tuned to our YouTube channel for monthly videos, interviews with our staff, conservation partners and scientists, and updates on our work from around this great region.

 

 

 

 

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