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March 2009

Conservation Connection March 2009

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In this issue:

  • Wolf tragedy
  • Blanchard forests
  • Lynx critical
  • Wildlife bridges
  • Work for us

Washington gray wolf

Gray wolf in the Methow, July 2008. What will the future bring for wolves in Washington?
Photo: Conservation NW remote camera



Tragedy Hits Washington's Wolf Pack


Washington residents last summer were thrilled by news that gray wolves had returned, on their own, to mountains of the North Cascades. Last July, Conservation Northwest helped document and track Washington's only known family of wolves, dubbed "The Lookout Pack." Sadly, we broke the news last week that at least one, possibly two, of the nine wolves in the pack was killed by poachers. Two residents of Twisp, Bill and Tom White, are suspected of illegally trapping and shooting two wolves, including one of the pups photographed by Conservation Northwest this summer. This latest news, coming at such a delicate phase of wolf recovery, is just one of a string of recent stories of illegal wildlife killing to come out of Washington State.

Send a message to Washington's Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell supporting Washington's wildlife. Let them know that you want to see their leadership to see the wolf poaching case fully prosecuted under the law and sufficient resources provided to wildlife managers to provide for the recovery of wolves in Washington State. And stay tuned to Conservation Northwest's website for the latest updates and developments as the investigation continues.




View to the foot of Blanchard Mountain

Development pushes the forest edge, but less so now at the foot of Blanchard Mountain.
Photo: Paul Anderson


Choosing Forests Over Sprawl at Blanchard


The Washington State Board of Natural Resources this month voted to buy 80 acres of private land on the south slope of Blanchard Mountain, helping conserve working forest lands and stem the tide of development. It's the first of future transactions and one of several outcomes of the 2007 Blanchard Strategies Agreement, which protected 1,600 acres of mature forests and popular recreation trails at the heart of Blanchard Mountain, the southernmost outpost of the Chuckanut Mountains.

Conservation Northwest was one of a broader group of participants in a year-long, collaborative process to create a plan that works for all stakeholders, and for wildlife too, for the popular recreation area. The agreement encourages increased public forest ownership to ensure that forest lands are part of the solution to the threat of sprawl.




Owl Mountain in the Kettle River Range

There could be lynx in this landscape, yet, mysteriously, the Kettles were left out of recent critical habitat designation for the wild cat.
Photo: Eric Zamora





Kettle Range Left Out–Again–for Lynx


A final critical habitat rule falls short from protecting the endangered Canada lynx. The recently published rule excludes areas in northeastern Washington that biologists have identified as essential for lynx conservation, including the Kettle River Range, the Wedge, Salmo Priest, and Little Pend Oreille. The Kettle River Range and the Wedge are classified as "core" sections of lynx historic range. These lands have persistent and verified records of lynx occurrence, recent evidence of reproduction, and vast tracts of suitable habitat. To protect lynx, ten conservation groups are challenging the agency's ruling in court.




Wildlife need bridges

From bears to elk to fish to salamanders, wildlife need to get across roads–somehow. Wildlife bridges could help.
Photo: Greg Mroz




Stimulating Safe Wildlife Passage


Allowing animals to pass safely north and south along the Cascades Range means first getting them over and under the interstate highway that cuts the range roughly in half. This summer the Department of Transportation plans to break ground on the first 5 of 6.5 miles of a project that promises to do just that. But federal stimulus funds are needed to help complete the remaining 1.5 miles of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project, a section that includes new lanes, chain-up areas on the westbound lanes, and Washington's first premier wildlife overpass. Let Washington's officials know you support full funding for wildlife bridges.




Get outside

Could this be you? Our Seattle office needs a committed development professional to "get wild."
Photo: Conservation NW



The Best Job: Keeping the Northwest Wild


We are looking for a highly motivated, organized person to serve as full-time development and outreach associate in our Seattle office. The qualified candidate will work with our development director in Seattle and membership director in Bellingham to conduct development and outreach activities, to manage our annual Hope for a Wild Future auction, and to oversee our Seattle office in the Interbay neighborhood. The position begins April 2009.





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