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July 2009

Conservation Connection July 2009

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In this issue:

  • WOPR defeated
  • Lynx in the Kettles
  • Summer of wolves
  • Field work - and play

Northern spotted owl in Oregon

Northern spotted owls get a breather. Photo from the book, The Owl and the Woodpecker, by CNW's Paul Bannick
Photo: © Paul Bannick




Oregon's Spotted Owls Get Good News

You did it! Your letters helped protect Oregon's lowland old-growth forests for endangered salmon and northern spotted owls. This month the Obama administration withdrew the Western Oregon Plan Revisions (aka WOPR), a plan fraught with deep legal difficulties and tainted with bad science. In conjunction with the Siskiyou Project, Cascadia Wildlands, and others, Conservation Northwest inspired hundreds of supporters to speak out against the plan. Thank you!

The government also turned away from the US Fish and Wildlife Service's earlier, flawed revision of the critical habitat for spotted owls, on which the WOPR was partially based. This win comes on the heels of good news for murrelets, when, in June, an agency report affirmed the need to protect old-growth coastal forests for this rare and declining seabird.

Intern power

Intern Dagmara Deren coordinates a hair snag study documenting lynx in the Kettles. With evidence of lynx there, we have grounds for better protections.
Photo: Derrick Knowles

Snowmobiles a No Go for Lynx

For nearly 20 years, Conservation Northwest has worked to protect the rare Canada lynx. In February of this year, lynx critical habitat areas were finally designated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. We were disappointed in the details because an important area for lynx recovery, the Kettle River Range, was left out of designated habitat. Still, it was a great move for lynx in other parts of northern Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Maine.

Snowmobile lobbies in Washington and Wyoming quickly filed suit to stop the habitat plan because it hinders plans for new snowmobile trails. This month Conservation Northwest, The Lands Council, and four other conservation groups moved to defend protections for Canada lynx and help this wild cat weather the ravages of climate change.



wolf pup

Jordan Kehne helps out, teaching others about Washington's new wolves.
Photo: Jay Kehne


Wolves, Ranching, and Wildlife

A lot has happened this summer for wolves. Another pack has shown up near the Washington-Idaho border in Pend Oreille County, and the Lookout Pack in Okanogan County is raising a second litter of pups. Our executive director Mitch Friedman was out with his family and with biologist Scott Fitkin, who elicited howling responses from the pups. You can listen to the wolf pups howl, too!

We received nothing but positive feedback about wolves from the 1,100 people attending the Methow Arts Festival on July 4th weekend. One sheep rancher stopped by Conservation Northwest's table at the event to say, "No, I'm not worried. I have a sheep guard dog." Similar stories and more will be told at a public showing of the new film on living with wolves, Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators, September 16 in Twisp, followed by a panel of experts. Please come!




North Cascades wolverine

Elk and calf pose for monitoring cameras near Manastash and I-90.
Photo: Conservation NW

From Monitoring to Meandering

Summer is a time for hikes, trail work, field work, and wildlife monitoring. Looking for things to do? Join us!

* Take a hike, and see what makes the Columbia Highlands so special.
* Pitch in for trailwork in the Columbia Highlands.
* Groundtruth old roads and routes from Teanaway to Tonasket. We'll set you up with all you need.
* Share in the excitement of photos and results from our ongoing wildlife monitoring work as our teams search for ghost bears and fisher kits. Or add your name to next season's wildlife monitoring opportunities.



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