Conservation Northwest

Conservation Northwest

The Conservation Connection E-Newsletter

March 2018

Grizzly RestorationForest CollaborationWolf CountsCoexistence ScienceWildfire FundingWildlife Monitoring

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke making remarks supporting North Cascades grizzly bear restoration. Photo: Chase Gunnell

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke making remarks supporting North Cascades grizzly bear restoration.
Photo: Chase Gunnell

Interior Secretary supports North Cascades grizzly restoration

Public comment periods and polling have consistently shown a strong majority of Washingtonians support restoring a functioning population of grizzly bears to the North Cascade. Now, even Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has weighed-in in support of restoring the Great Bear.

While we’ve had cause to disagree on plenty of issues, we appreciate that the Secretary personally came to the North Cascades to voice his support for this monumental conservation effort.

Secretary Zinke said "Restoring the grizzly bear to the North Cascades Ecosystem is the American conservation ethic come to life." We wholeheartedly agree, and we're committed to bringing back this Northwest icon before it's too late.
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From the Pacific coast to northeast Washington, national forests are vital for healthy ecoystems and local communities. We’re supporting both through our Forest Field Program. Photo: Rex Wholster
From the Pacific coast to northeast Washington, national forests are vital for healthy ecoystems and local communities. We’re supporting both through our Forest Field Program.
Photo: Rex Wholster

Forest collaboration makes progress in northeast Washington

While divisiveness grows rampant in many parts of the world, there’s still a place in the northeastern corner of Washington where those of different viewpoints work together to promote each other’s interests to the benefit of all.

This forum is the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition, a collaborative formed of various interest groups who have come together to find balance and support habitat restoration projects and wildland protection on the Colville National Forest.

As a NEWFC board member since 2004, we work with other participants from the timber industry, outdoor recreation and environmental groups to demonstrate the potential of restoration forestry to enhance forest health, wildlife habitat, public safety, and community economic vitality.
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A screenshot from the state’s annual wolf survey report. At the end of 2017, more than 22 wolf packs and 14 breeding pairs called Washington home. Graphic: WDFW
A screenshot from the state’s annual wolf survey report. At the end of 2017, more than 22 wolf packs and 14 breeding pairs called Washington home.
Graphic: WDFW

Washington now home to more than 122 wolves

At the end of 2017, Washington was home to at least 122 wolves, 22 packs and 14 successful breeding pairs, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a report released this month.

It’s important to keep in mind that this number is a confirmed minimum, and the actual number of wolves in our state is likely notably higher. Lone wolves and small packs are incredibly difficult to document as they roam across the landscape!

We’re glad to see that Washington’s wolf population continues to grow, and are particularly excited to see a notable increase in the number of successful breeding pairs compared to past years.
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Conservation conflict transformation is deeply rooted in social and behavioral science. Photo: Crystal Gartner
Conservation conflict transformation is deeply rooted in social and behavioral science.
Photo: Crystal Gartner

The science behind conservation conflict transformation

The return of wolves to Washington is layered on top of shrinking human populations and increased economic hardship in rural areas due to large scale global economic, demographic, and technological shifts. Wolves have become a symbolic carrier of some of our current national dysfunction.

Given all this weight and heat, using approaches learned from the peace-building field and social psychology makes a lot of sense. The work Washingtonians are doing using conservation conflict transformation methods is one of the rare arenas in which people are reaching across urban-rural and liberal-conservative divides to have genuinely civil dialogue aimed at joint problem-solving.
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Mitch was in DC this month lobbying for wildfire funding, forest restoration, and important Roadless Areas.
Mitch was in DC this month lobbying for wildfire funding, forest restoration, and important Roadless Areas.

Congress has reached a wildfire funding deal

After years of delay and increasing wildfires across the West, this month Congress finally reached a deal to provide long-term funding for both wildfire response and forest restoration!

Our Executive Director Mitch Friedman was recently in Washington, D.C. working on these issues, and provides more perspectives in this blog.

There has long been a need and bipartisan support for a more sensible approach to paying for Forest Service firefighting. The deal reached in Congress achieves that need without the threats to Roadless Areas and other extreme logging provisions that some in Congress tried to force.
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A cougar caught on one of our volunteer-operated remote cameras. Photo: Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project
A cougar caught on one of our volunteer-operated remote cameras.
Photo: Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project

Update on the Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project

For more than a decade, our Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project has conducted research using remote cameras, wildlife tracking, and DNA sample collection to study Washington’s rare and sensitive wildlife through citizen science.

Volunteer citizen scientists with this project contribute valuable information about the presence and distribution of wildlife in our state through both remote camera surveys and snow tracking. CWMP often covers geographic areas beyond those of ongoing professional research efforts, supplementing and strengthening the work of agencies, conservation groups and biologists!

Our 2017 field season report and update is now available at the link below! Learn more about the project on this webpage.
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