Conservation news highlights from 2015

Conservation news highlights from 2015

Conservation Northwest / Dec 29, 2016 / Work Updates

North Cascades vista. Photo: Jasmine Minbashian
By Chase Gunnell, Deputy Communications Director

With your support, we saw great progress in 2015 for a wilder Northwest; the start of construction on the first I-90 wildlife overcrossing near Snoqualmie Pass, the reintroduction of fishers in the Cascades, strong support for grizzly bears in the North Cascades and British Columbia’s Coast Range, expanding wolf and wolverine populations in Washington, progress for the Working for Wildlife Initiative in the Okanogan Valley, important wildlife habitat and forest restoration projects, headway for a new Canadian national park, and much more.

Our scientists, conservation staff and contractors working on the ground and in communities across Washington state and southern British Columbia spearhead much of our work to protect wildlands, connect habitat, and restore and conserve native wildlife.

However, it’s our Communications team’s job to get the word out about the need to keep the Northwest wild. And to share how Conservation Northwest is using community collaboration, creative conservation, and a landscape-sized vision to get things done for the people, wildlife and wildlands of our region.

We’re lucky to work with some excellent reporters, journalists, writers and editors, as well as readers with a strong appetite for news about our region’s rich natural heritage. Thank you to everyone who helped spread the word for a wilder Northwest this year!

On that note, below are a few of our favorite conservation stories that touched on our work in Washington and British Columbia in 2015.

Conservation news highlights from 2015

Can’t access a certain news story? Some news outlets have paywalls that limit access to their online content. We save clippings of news articles about our work on our website Press Room here.

The Wenatchee World: Limits proposed on ATVs, motor bikes in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

January 1 – The proposal takes a more responsible approach to managing motorized travel in the backcountry than the current situation.

The Yakima Herald Republic: State works to find balance between wolves, livestock

January 4 – With financial help from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Conservation Northwest, ranchers hire extra riders to spend more time with cows grazing in the areas the wolves frequent.

Kelowna Now: Okanagan Nation Alliance Protecting Nearby Grizzlies at Risk

January 12 – ONA will also be working with Conservation Northwest and the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative in southwest B.C. to help other grizzly bear populations.

The Yakima Herald RepublicMeetings will start grizzly bear recovery planning in Cascades

February 23 – The same mountain wilderness beckoning wolverines is also habitat for another long-lost species conservationists hope to see in the Cascades again soon: the grizzly bear.

The Yakima Herald RepublicAfter nearly being wiped out decades ago, wolverines are coming back to state

February 23 – Most of the wolverines known to live in Washington are found in the North Cascades, but Woodrow and other scientists believe that the animals are now making their way down the Cascades from British Columbia.

Northwest Sportsman: WA wolf population up to 68, 2 new packs announced, 16 total

March 6 – WDFW wolf managers reported today that Washington’s population of the predators grew by 30 percent over the previous year, and includes four new packs, two of which were just announced.

Summit County Voice: Logging industry fails yet again to strip Pacific Northwest protection for marbled murrelets

March 10 – Marbled murrelets along the Pacific Northwest Coast will continue to benefit from the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

Cronkite news: Experts press case for forest management to head off wildfires

April 23 – The science is in and the time to act on forest management is now if the government wants to avoid more catastrophic wildfires, a panel of wildfire experts told a House committee Thursday.

The Spokesman Review: Wolf documented between Leavenworth and Stevens Pass

May 21 – A gray wolf was photographed in February by a trail cam between Leavenworth and Stevens Pass, state and federal biologists have confirmed.

The Seattle Times: Special I-90 overpass to give animals safe passage

June 7 – The state will break ground Tuesday on Washington’s first wildlife overpass to provide safe passage for bear, elk, foxes and other animals over Interstate 90 east of Snoqualmie Pass.

Methow Valley News: Lots of public support for return of grizzly bears to N. Cascades ecosystem

June 19 – Public comments favoring restoration of grizzly bears in the North Cascades ecosystem outnumbered those opposing the idea by more than five to one.

The Seattle Times: As wolves rebound, range riders keep watch over livestock

August 2 – Cowboys track wolf packs by computer to reduce conflicts between ranchers and an ancient predator that’s back on the landscape.

The Yakima Herald RepublicA tenuous balance between Teanaway ranchers and wolves

August 10  Ranchers learn to live with wolves in the area.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: A new Canadian national park just over the border with Washington?

August 13 – A long-discussed, hitherto sidetracked proposal for a new Canadian national park, located just over the U.S.-Canada border near Oroville, has come back to life.

The Vancouver Sun: Grizzly bear sighting near Whistler gives hope for recovery of species in southwest B.C.

September 8 – Local governments from Squamish to Lillooet have passed resolutions supporting grizzly bear recovery.

Pique Magazine: Corridor calls for provincial action on grizzly bear recovery plans

September 17 – Coast to Cascade Grizzly Bear Initiative works to protect ‘threatened’ populations.

Capital Press: Federal forest management is not to blame for Washington state fires

October 2 – Only a third of what burned this year in Eastern Washington was national forest. The rest was mostly private and tribal lands.

High Country News: Washington welcomes wolves back — across deep political divides

October 26 – The state’s emphasis on non-lethal control is saving livestock and wolves, but rural residents are still leery.

The Seattle Times: Why returning grizzlies to the North Cascades is the right thing to do

November 19 – We should be afraid of grizzlies. But we shouldn’t let our fear get in the way of doing the right thing. There’s plenty of room in the wide-open North Cascades for the grizzly bear.

The Seattle Times: New wolf pack in Washington

November 24 – Still listed for protection west of Highway 97, wolves are gaining ground. But people remain their biggest problem.

The Seattle Times: Relocated fishers steal show in Cascade forest homecoming

December 6 – Wily weasel-like fishers were welcomed back to their homeland last week, when seven trapped in Canada were released into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

The Yakima Herald Republic: After a 70-year absence, fishers are reintroduced to the Cascade Mountains

December 8 – Amid a small crowd of cheering onlookers last Thursday, wildlife officials released the first seven fishers into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest south of Mount Rainier as part of a planned reintroduction of dozens of animals brought from British Columbia.

The Vancouver Sun: Editorial: Getting to ‘yes’ for national park in the Okanagan

December 9 – The South Okanagan is distinctive for its beauty and for the diversity and uniqueness of its plant and animal species. It is also an ecosystem at peril.

High Country News: Fishers recolonize Washington, part of a Northwest rewilding

December 14 – The forest carnivore’s return was helped by human intervention.

King 5 News: Wildlife cameras spot wolf near Stevens Pass

December 23 – Wildlife cameras in the Cascades have captured the second wolf near Stevens Pass this year.

Will you make a year-end gift to help us continue this work for a wilder Northwest in 2016?