Show your support for state wildlife area acquisitions!
Conservation Northwest / Feb 02, 2021 / Action Alert, Public Lands, WDFW
WILD NW Action Alert #313: Through February 12, send the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife a message supporting three proposed land acquisitions that would enhance wildlife connectivity.
The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) manages more than one million acres of public lands and nearly 500 water access areas throughout the state, preserving and restoring fish and wildlife habitat as well as providing access to outdoor recreation. The Department is now accepting public comments for its 2021 land acquisition priorities to conserve additional areas important for native species and local communities.
We recently submitted organizational comments in support of these three properties: the Chehalis Wildlife Area Expansion, Centralia Mine Project, and Chester Butte, each of which would improve wildlife connectivity in our Cascades to Olympics program and Sagelands Heritage Program.
These landscapes in particular are threatened by growing development pressures and existing barriers to habitat connectivity such as highways. In fact, state wildlife areas are the core of Washington’s remaining sagelands, connecting fragmented shrub-steppe habitat. The successful acquisition of these properties will be vital to the recovery of native species, including pygmy rabbits, sage grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, fishers, wolves, and more.
Please join us in submitting public comments in support of these land acquisitions by using our action form or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org through February 12!
Suggested email to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife:
Dear WDFW Lands Staff:
I am writing in support of the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s 2021 land acquisition priorities. In particular, I strongly advocate for the Chehalis Wildlife Area Expansion, Centralia Mine Project and Chester Butte Expansion proposals.
The Chehalis Wildlife Area Expansion would create and enhance habitat linkages and riparian corridors across the Chehalis Basin, including the Chehalis River and its tributaries that provide connectivity for a suite of native species. The Satsop River corridor in particular creates a narrow bottleneck that species must cross to move between the Cascade Mountains and the Olympic Peninsula, and this acquisition would make this area more advantageous for wildlife movement.
The area within the Centralia Mine Project proposal currently provides important habitat for local fish and wildlife, and further restoration could offer additional high-quality wetland and grassland habitat for threatened and endangered native species. I also welcome a new wildlife area here for increased access to recreation opportunities that will benefit current and future generations, as well as the local economy.
The Chester Butte Expansion includes critical habitat for endangered pygmy rabbits, endangered sharp-tailed grouse, as well as threatened sage grouse, all of which are increasingly at-risk following last summer’s devastating wildland fires. Although this area was recently burned, conserving and restoring as many remaining patches of sagebrush habitat as possible is vital for the survival of these species.
With the increasing threat of development in the Chehalis Basin and Washington’s shrub-steppe, these acquisitions will be critical to the recovery of native species and can even reverse the degradation of wildlife corridors.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide public comments on these important land acquisition proposals. I hope to see the Chehalis Wildlife Area Expansion, Centralia Mine Project and Chester Butte Expansion properties become beneficial areas for wildlife and Washingtonians.
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