Conservation Northwest

Conservation Northwest

The Conservation Connection E-Newsletter

October 2018

Okanogan CrossingsVolunteer RestorationMurrelet HabitatCascades to OlympicsRefuge OutdoorsSagelands Perspectives

In Okanogan County, Highway 97 cuts right through mule deers' migration path. Photo: WSDOT

In Okanogan County, Highway 97 cuts right through a mule deer migration path.
Photo: WSDOT

Dispatch from Omak: a local's perspective on wildlife crossings

Jay Kehne, our Sagelands Program Lead, lives in Omak. He knows many people in the area who have been in traumatic collisions with mule deer on Highway 97, dubbed the "kill zone,” where more than 350 of these animals are killed each year.

With the local community and other groups, we're working toward solutions to put an end to the wildlife deaths that occur on this stretch of highway.

Our Okanogan Wildlife Crossing Campaign is raising funds for an undercrossing that will benefit wildlife and the local community. Your dedicated support can make this goal a reality!
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Volunteers plant next to Gold Creek, an important habitat for endangered bull trout. Photo: Laurel Baum
Our volunteers restore native plants and shrubs next to Gold Creek, important habitat for endangered bull trout.
Photo: Laurel Baum

Restoring habitat in the I-90 Wildlife Corridor

68 volunteers, 590 volunteer hours and more than 800 plants in the ground. It's amazing how some shovels, a few piles of mulch and a group of dedicated folks can restore so much critical habitat!

We recently hosted three habitat restoration "planting parties" near Snoqualmie Pass to support new I-90 Wildlife Crossings. This work is also part our new Central Cascades Watershed Restoration program, supporting habitat connections and improving watershed health.

Giving these native plants a new home in the Snoqualmie Pass area will provide food sources for wildlife, increase structural diversity and reduce erosion. This is important for the deer, elk, black bear, cougar, wolverines, kokanee salmon and endangered bulltrout that move through this area.
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Marbled murrelets are endangered in Washington state, and depend on old-growth forests for their survival. Photo: Rick Bowers/Audubon
Marbled murrelets are endangered in Washington state, and depend on old-growth forests for their survival.
Photo: Rick Bowers/Audubon

Finding solutions for murrelets and coastal communities

Murrelet populations in Washington have dropped 44 percent in the last 15 years and are now considered endangered, perilously close to statewide extinction.

But it's not too late to turn things around. The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are preparing a Long-Term Conservation Strategy for the Marbled Murrelet.

With their extirpation from Washington at stake, we need a strategy that not only protects the forests these birds rely on for habitat, but also recognizes the values of local counties who rely on timber revenues for their communities.
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Upper Chehalis River near proposed dam site. Photo: Steelhead and Salmon Conservation Society
Upper Chehalis River near proposed flood-retention dam site.
Photo: Steelhead and Salmon Conservation Society

Habitat at risk in Cascades to Olympics linkage

In southwest Washington, we’re starting to ramp up a new effort, our Cascades to Olympics program, focusing on connecting habitat between Washington’s South Cascades, Willapa Hills and the forests and mountains of the Olympic Peninsula.

This work is increasingly urgent given development trends in the south Puget Sound region, and the needs of species including fishers, elk, western toads, spotted owls and marbled murrelets.

In this context, we’re paying close attention to the state’s Chehalis Basin Strategy, emphasizing forest, floodplain and habitat restoration to mitigate flooding and improve conditions for fish and wildlife, local communities, agriculture and infrastructure. Learn more in our recent action alert below!
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Attendees at Refuge Outdoor Festival had important conversations about what it means to be a person of color in the outdoors. Photo: Heather Hutchison
Attendees at Refuge Outdoor Festival had important conversations about what it means to be a person of color in the outdoors.
Photo: Heather Hutchison

Broadening perspectives on the outdoors

Restorative and centering. Challenging and rewarding. Healing and peaceful. Human experience and self-discovery.

These were words and feelings shared last weekend during some reflection on outdoor experiences. Conservation Northwest was fortunate to be a sponsor of the first-ever Refuge Outdoor Festival in Carnation, Washington, geared towards people of color (POC) and allies.

While the Festival was complete with art, music, sleeping bags and tents, it was also a safe space for important conversations about what it means to be a person of color in the outdoors, and a sincere reflection on what barriers prevent POC from getting outside…
KEEP READING

 
Umtanum Ridge in Washington's Sagelands. Photo: Mitch Friedman
Umtanum Ridge in Central Washington's shrub-steppe, or sagelands.
Photo: Mitch Friedman

Clarity in Washington's sagelands

Despite a rocky start, our Sagelands Contractor, Rose Piccinini, has developed a love for the landscapes of Central Washington.

"The ecology of the 'barren' shrub-steppe revealed itself to be a diverse and vibrant suite of wildlife. I began to witness the emergence of shy mule deer, fierce and territorial badgers, captivating short-horned lizards and the unexpected presence of black bears and moose."

Working to restore and reconnect shrub-steppe habitat for wildlife in the area, as well as improve access for people, Rose has given tremendous support to our Sagelands Heritage Program through her work, including installing green dot signs and removing fences blocking critical wildlife corridors.
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Conservation Northwest
1829 10th Ave W, Suite B
Seattle, WA 98119
communications@conservationnw.org
www.conservationnw.org
206.675.9747

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Conservation Northwest
1829 10th Ave W
Suite B
Seattle, Washington 98119
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