Accomplishments in 2020

Accomplishments in 2020

Conservation Northwest / Jan 29, 2021 / Connecting Habitat, Protecting Wildlands, Restoring Wildlife

During a challenging and unprecedented year, we were able to make important achievements protecting, connecting and restoring local wildlands and wildlife thanks to your support.

2020 was a year unlike any we’ve experienced before. A pandemic, massive reckoning with racial injustice in our country, a severe wildfire season, political turmoil, and continued challenges from the Trump Administration exposed how much work lies ahead. At the same time, many aspects of 2020 highlighted the importance of access to the outdoors, preserving wildlands, and living in functioning ecosystems thriving with diverse wildlife.

CNW Staff Laurel Baum & Heather Hutchison, OWNF staff Peyton Johnson, and Kittitas Conservation Trust Staff Mellissa Speeg help install education and outreach signs at Gold Creek Pond. Photo: Laurel Baum

In the past year, our staff and volunteers persevered to restore tens of thousands of acres of forests and sagelands and promote the recovery of 15 species of native wildlife through projects ranging from fisher reintroduction to Highway 97 wildlife crossings.

On the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, we shared our organizational values that guide us through our work to protect, connect and restore key wildlife species, large wildlands, and vital habitat corridors from the British Columbia Rockies all the way to the Washington Coast. Written collaboratively between our staff and board, these values have been at the core of Conservation Northwest since our founding 30 years ago: Adaptability, Boldness, Collaboration, Empathy, Equity, Integrity, Pragmatic Idealism, Rationality and Tenacity.

With these values laying the foundation of our work, we forged ahead despite the challenges of 2020 and made major successes in our efforts to keep the Northwest wild.

2020 accomplishments

Check out our Wild Northwest blog and News Update for more highlights!

We are fortunate to have staffers in the field who could safely work on collaborative projects during the pandemic, including removing miles of derelict fencing to reconnect fragmented shrub-steppe habitat, to collecting thousands of trail cam photos through our volunteer-powered Community Wildlife Monitoring Project. We also hosted a number of virtual events, which you can find on our YouTube channel.

Through the difficulties of the past year, our community generously supported our work and made these accomplishments possible. We can’t thank you enough for your continued dedication, and are confident that together, we can continue moving forward towards a wild Northwest, even through tough times.

Check out notable accomplishments from each month of 2020 below!


Washington State Forest are among some of our region’s most popular lands for outdoor recreation and other activities. Photo: WA DNR

Filed a lawsuit calling on the Department of Natural Resources to manage public lands to maximize benefit for all the people of the state.

Called on the Legislature to fully-fund the Department of Fish and Wildlife through a joint letter and action alert. The Legislature fulfilled this request in March.


Joined Canadian groups, First Nations and other allies to launch our Healthy Watersheds Campaign, calling for mining reform and financial assurances to protect downstream watersheds, fish and wildlife, and communities from mining disasters in Canada.


Sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect wolverines under the Endangered Species Act with other conservation groups.

In cooperation with Canadian partners and First Nations on the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative, continued toward grizzly bear recovery and coexistence in southwest British Columbia.

Offered tips and suggestions for social distancing and the outdoors in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check out our video, “Cascades to Rockies Connections” about our work connecting the North Cascades and the Rocky Mountains through habitat corridors, wildlife crossings, forest restoration and wilderness protection.


Shared a new video and map on the Cascades to Rockies corridor and our work to connect the two through habitat corridors, wildlife crossings, forest restoration and wilderness protection.

Washington Department of Transportation cameras documented the first fisher to use one of the I-90 wildlife crossings, demonstrating how these crossings are successfully reconnecting the North and South Cascades.

Years of engagement on the Snoquera Project came to fruition in a final plan for landscape-scale forest and watershed restoration in the Central Cascades.


Asked our activists to contact their Members of Congress urging them to support funding for conservation projects that provided good jobs, and Washington’s seven Democratic U.S. Representatives were among the 79 Member of Congress submitted a letter to House leadership in support of this funding.


During the 10th year of our Range Rider Pilot Project, we continued to support coexistence in wolf country. The season ahead was challenging, yet virtually no wolf conflict with livestock occurred where these riders were deployed, and collaboration and creative thinking remain the path forward.

Our Colville Wild Campaign works toward permanent protections for northeast Washington’s wildest roadless forests, particularly the crest of the Kettle Range. Photo: Eric Zamora

Rebooted the Columbia Highlands Initiative as the Colville Wild campaign, Working toward permanent protections for northeast Washington’s wildest roadless forests, particularly the crest of the Kettle Range.

Shared resources for racial justice, anti-racism, and allyship in the outdoors as we seek to use our platform to elevate the voices of Black, Indigenous and People of Color in conservation.

Continued our collaborative work through our Central Cascades Watersheds Restoration program, including engaging on the approved Little Crow Restoration Project.


Urged our activists to send their Member of Congress a message showing their support for grizzly recovery in the North Cascades guided by science and community input, following the Trump Administration’s termination of the recovery plan.

Thanked Governor Inslee’s call for further evaluation and a non-dam alternative to flood reduction in Chehalis Basin. Back in May, we submitted comments against the dam and urged our activists to join us.

The Northeast Washington Forest Coalition (NEWFC), of which Conservation Northwest has long been a member, objected to the San Poil Project on the Colville National Forest. This is the first objection to a project in NEWFC’s entire 18 year history.


Launched a new webpage about Climate Change and Conservation to keep track of how our work is keeping the Northwest not only wild, but resilient.

Just before the election, the Forest Service dropped a massive timber sale planned for this area in the form of the Twisp Forest Restoration Project. Photo: Chase Gunnell

Filed an amicus brief with other conservation groups in federal court last Friday to support the Mission Restoration Project in the Methow Valley south of Twisp, Washington. The court sided with us in December.


Released our latest Impact Report detailing conservation victories, collaborative campaigns for wildlands and wildlife, and audited financial information.

Co-hosted a virtual panel discussion with Salmon Beyond Borders with more than 115 attendees about the threat of B.C. mining operations to transboundary watersheds, salmon and communities, featuring representatives from tribes and First Nations, government officials, the science community, and other important stakeholders.

Worked on the ground with local partners to restore sagelands species, habitat and communities destroyed by the summer’s record-breaking wildfires in north-central Washington.


Through the Wolf Advisory Group, agreed on an updated Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol to improve performance and accountability of range riders working to reduce wolf-livestock conflict in Washington.

Throughout 2020 we fought for Endangered Species Act protections for wolverines in the lower 48 states. Photo: David Moskowitz, Cascades Wolverine Project

Submitted a testimony to the Board of Natural Resources, which voted on a final conservation plan that ignores the collaborative efforts of the Marbled Murrelet Solutions Table


Our Executive Director Mitch Friedman sent a letter to Governor Inslee urging him to fund the Trust Land Transfer Program. Now you can ask your legislators to fund this vital program using our comment form!


Filed a lawsuit seeking scientific and public review of a stealth effort to significantly expand off-road vehicle use on Colville National Forest.

Made important progress in the Central Cascades including habitat restoration, forest and road surveys, responsible recreation outreach, I-90 wildlife crossings and more.

Filed yet another lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service challenging their decision to withhold Endangered Species Act protection from wolverines in the lower 48 states.

We shared our favorite wildlife monitoring photos from the year, with amazing shots of wolves, Canada lynx, wolverines, fishers and much more! We also replaced the term “Citizen” with “Community” in the project’s name to show that anyone can be a wildlife monitoring volunteer.

The View from Cascade Pass in North Cascades National Park near Marblemount, WA.