Conservation Northwest

Conservation Northwest

The Conservation Connection

July 2017

Fisher Kit · Blanchard Update · Filson Event · Smackout Wolves · Hanford Protected · Colville Forest Plan

A mother fisher carries her kit near a den site in Washington's South Cascades. Photo: WDFW

A mother fisher carries her kit near a den site in Washington's South Cascades.
Photo: WDFW

First fisher kit confirmed back in the Cascades

At the end of June, we received some tremendously exciting news for fisher recovery! Grainy photos show the first confirmed fisher kit born in Washington's South Cascades since the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, National Park Service, Conservation Northwest and other partners reintroduced this native species.

The pictures show a new fisher mom in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest coming down a tree headfirst, carrying a large kit.

"This is an inspiring milestone that shows how public, private, tribal and non-profit partners can together make big conservation wins happen, restoring our natural heritage and building a wilder future in our state, said Dave Werntz, our Science and Conservation Director.
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Our Executive Director Mitch enjoys one of the forested trails on Blanchard Mountain, a popular area for hiking, biking, hanggliding and more. Photo: Eric Brown
Our Executive Director Mitch enjoys one of the forested trails on Blanchard Mountain, a popular area for hiking, biking, hanggliding and more.
Photo: Eric Brown

Update on Blanchard State Forest

Despite the lack of a state capital budget, last week we received some optimistic news on Blanchard State Forest, home to Blanchard Mountain and Oyster Dome near Bellingham.

With the state legislature adjourned, funds to save the core of this forest remain stalled despite agreement from Olympia on a compromise solution. The plan would fund alternative working forest lands and avoid logging in the cherished Blanchard core, home to important recreation opportunities and wildlife habitat.

Thankfully, leaders at the Department of Natural Resources have committed to avoiding logging the core in the short term, and are working with stakeholders to ensure that the funding for alternatives is fully secured.
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Join us on Wednesday, August 16 at the stunning Filson Headquarters in Seattle for a presentation with National Wildlife Federation. Photo: Filson
Join us on Wednesday, August 16 at the stunning Filson Headquarters in Seattle for a presentation with National Wildlife Federation.
Photo: Filson

Save the Date: Talk at Filson on August 16

Since 1897, apparel and gear outfitter Filson has been a Pacific Northwest staple. Today, the company's commitments to our regional natural and cultural heritage are important parts of their work, aspects that abound at their stunning Seattle Flagship Store.

On Wednesday, August 16, stop by the Filson HQ from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. for a wildlife presentation by our own Mitch Friedman, and Tom France from our partners at the National Wildlife Federation.

Mitch and Tom will discuss carnivore conservation and coexistence, how it's taking hold in Washington, Montana and other areas, and how the Northwest region is at the forefront of a truly inspiring "rewilding" of native wildlife.
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A wolf from the Smackout Pack in 2015. Photo: WDFW
A wolf from the Smackout Pack in 2015.
Photo: WDFW

Statement on Smackout Wolf Pack

This month, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that due to recurring depredations on livestock exceeding the thresholds outlined in the state's Protocol for Wolf-Livestock Interactions, the Department has initiated incremental lethal removal of members of the Smackout Wolf Pack.

Since 2011, we have partnered with ranchers operating in the Smackout area to help them implement thorough non-lethal measures to reduce conflicts where wolves and livestock overlap. Until this year, they've been largely successful, and their example has spread confidence in non-lethal deterrents across Eastern Washington ranchers. We remain confident that these tactics are worthwhile and effective despite this latest event.

Based on our experiences and information provided by the Department, it is clear that the ranchers involved in this case have been doing everything they can to avoid conflicts with wolves and other predators.

While heartrending, it is our hope that this action to attempt to remove up to two members of this pack will cease further livestock depredations, protecting the integrity and future of this pack.
FULL STATEMENT

 
Sightseers looking out over the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River, important arid lands habitat and spawning grounds for Chinook salmon. Photo: Joel Rogers / TNC
Sightseers looking out over the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River, important arid lands habitat and spawning grounds for wild Chinook salmon.
Photo: Joel Rogers / TNC

Hanford Reach National Monument spared

This month, the Department of the Interior confirmed it will not pursue changes to Hanford Reach National Monument due to overwhelming public and local support for this important area. This is welcome news, but the "review" should never have happened in the first place.

Conservation Northwest is opposed to any boundary adjustments or rescindment of the 27 reviewed national monuments, which the American public owns and overwhelmingly supports.

Only Congress holds the power to diminish and rescind national monuments. An executive-branch monument review is truly unprecedented, unnecessary, and possibly illegal.
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Beautiful Bunchgrass Meadows on the Colville National Forest. Photo: Eric Zamora
Beautiful Bunchgrass Meadows on the Colville National Forest.
Photo: Eric Zamora

Northeast Washington Forest Plan falls short

The Colville National Forest is revising its 30-year-old Forest Plan. Unfortunately, its current draft doesn't do enough to protect old-growth forest and aquatic resources and fails to designate eligible areas as wilderness.

This plan sets the stage for everything that is done on the Forest, making it inherently important. A year ago, the Colville National Forest released a draft plan to the public for comments. Both independently and as a member of the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition, Conservation Northwest submitted comments to highlight what we saw as good and bad in the new Forest Plan and provided reasonable solutions to the issues.

The problem is, the plan still doesn't go far enough to protect old-growth forests, connect large landscapes, restore native wildlife, and protect and restore our aquatic resources, all things we've been working on since our inception.

Glaringly, the plan falls short on permanent protections for the wild areas of northeast Washington. There are over 220,000 acres of inventoried roadless areas and several tens of thousands of acres of non-inventoried roadless areas. Unfortunately, the draft Forest Plan only recommends 69,000 of these acres for wilderness.
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