Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded $12,591,748 in grants going to three conservation projects in Washington state from the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF).
This includes $4.5 million for a project in Pacific County.
“Over $12 million is going to protect over 2,000 acres of habitat and help preserve our environment and at-risk species in Pacific, Kittitas, and Thurston counties. This is a major victory for mid-Columbia Steelhead, marbled murrelet, the grizzly bear and all fish and wildlife that need protection and call the Pacific Northwest home. I am proud to have fought to secure funding and make sure the Land and Water Conservation Fund continues to help us protect more land in Washington state.”
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, CESCF land acquisition funding to states is awarded through two nationally competitive grant programs: the Recovery Land Acquisition (RLA) Grant Program, which provides funds for the acquisition of habitat in support of Service-approved recovery plans; and the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) Land Acquisition Grant Program, which provides funds to acquire habitat for listed and at-risk species to complement conservation strategies of approved HCPs.
Columbia Land Trust and Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) will permanently protect 1,248 acres of marbled murrelet habitat, including nesting sites, in southwest Washington. The project will also benefit eight additional listed or at-risk species. WDNR will hold a conservation easement and Columbia Land Trust will permanently own and manage the lands for the benefit of the species.
Central Cascade Ecoregion
The WDNR, subrecipient Forterra Northwest, and other regional partners are working to protect key habitats for endangered species in the Central Cascade region. This project will permanently protect up to 372 acres of private forestland, focusing on critical habitats in the Upper Yakima River watershed along I-90. It will directly protect habitat that supports several endangered species, including bull trout, northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, mid-Columbia Steelhead, and grizzly bear.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will acquire roughly 800 acres of critical prairie habitat. The property has a rare combination of Puget lowland prairie, wet prairie, oak woodland, wetlands, riparian areas, and conifer forest. The primary focus is restoration and maintenance of prairie habitats for the federally threatened Mazama pocket gopher and other at-risk species using prescribed fire, invasive plant control, and the re-establishment of native plant and wildlife species. The public will benefit from recreational access, including hiking, horseback riding, hunting and wildlife viewing, in the diverse range of habitats present on the acquired property.
HCP and RLA grants are primarily funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)