Conservation Northwest and Veterans’ Ecological Trades Collective receive funding to bolster habitat restoration and wildlife monitoring along I-5
Conservation Northwest / Oct 03, 2022 / Cascades to Olympics, Connecting Habitat
Disabled Veterans National Foundation grant strengthens collaborative conservation work in the Chehalis Basin
SEATTLE, Wash. – Conservation Northwest, in partnership with the Veterans’ Ecological Trades Collective and the Washington Department of Veteran Affairs, is expanding its efforts to document wildlife movement along Interstate 5 and equip veterans with skills and experience in the conservation field.
Now in its third year, this partnership teaches veterans how to monitor and identify wildlife species, identify and remove invasive plants, and implement sustainable agriculture techniques. This work is done in close collaboration with local landowners and other area stakeholders in the area. Veterans in the program gain professional experiences and skills that can pave the way to careers in the conservation or sustainable agriculture field.
Expanded capacity and funding will further this partnership’s ability to widen local community science efforts and wildlife documentation, better advocate for a wildlife crossing structure over I-5, and provide safe passage for numerous wildlife on the move in the area.
The funds provided by the Disabled Veterans National Foundation will purchase equipment necessary to streamline data collection for wildlife monitoring—including cameras, SD cards, a laptop, photo management software, and camera installation materials. Funding will also enhance the onsite facilities to offer a functional workspace for participants and provide secure storage for equipment. In addition, these upgrades will provide onsite training and increase capacity for the number of veterans that can participate in the program.
DVNF funds will also provide this partnership with additional staff capacity by enabling the hire of two interns from the Washington Department of Veteran Affairs. These interns will help train program participants to manage the invasive species currently propagating in the area and will help host more volunteer work parties to expand local habitat restoration efforts.
A portion of grant funds will also be dedicated to exploring other funding sources. The collaborative program hopes to expand even further to acquire equipment such as a tractor and add additional onsite facilities.
Efforts from this program complement the work of the Cascades to Olympics program, which aims to restore habitat and improve wildlife connectivity between Washington’s Cascade Range and the Olympic Peninsula.
“Keeping the Northwest wild” since 1989, Conservation Northwest is a regional non-profit organization that protects, connects and restores wildlands and wildlife from the Washington Coast to the British Columbia Rockies. Staff operates in local communities and rural areas around Washington and into southern B.C., using dialogue to find common ground and collaborative solutions for challenging issues, including habitat corridors, wilderness conservation, forest restoration and endangered species recovery.