Welcome To Klickitat Canyon, South-Central Washington’s New Conservation Area
Mountain goats, mule deer and black bears all move across the rugged basalt cliffs, forest and grasslands that make up the Klickitat Canyon Conservation Area. Salmon and steelhead swim up the Klickitat River, Washington’s longest wild river, running through the conservation area.
The newly completed conservation area in south-central Washington is expected to protect habitat and lead to a more resilient forest. Conservation groups say this is a big step toward connecting important ecosystems in the area.
“Comprehensive conservation gives (wildlife) the space and the varied landscapes they need to thrive,” Jay Kosa, the Columbia Land Trust spokesperson, said.
Kosa said it took around 12 years, but the conservation organization has now acquired around 11,000 acres to connect public and tribal conservation lands.
The Yakama Nation supported the completion of the conservation area, which lies within its ancestral lands.
“It is important to share the understanding of the importance of enhancing and protecting these significant aquatic and ecological places because a watershed like the Klickitat is the last of its kind,” Yakama Nation Natural Resources Superintendent Phil Rigdon said in a news release.
Kosa said this conservation area will help bridge gaps in the ecosystem.
“If it were to be developed or fragmented by being sold into parcels, it would really interrupt the ability for wildlife to move across the landscape,” Kosa said.
Columbia Land Trust Forest Conservation Director Cherie Kearney says land connectivity will help wildlife adapt to a changing climate. It gives them easier access to higher elevations as temperatures warm.
“As the temperature warms, there can be places that have gradient, they have topography and diversity, allowing animals to spread out a little bit, incrementally toward new habitat,” Kearney said.
She said the groups will start to manage the area to create forestry jobs and make the area more resistant to wildfire. Kearney said the group will harvest timber more for “conservation forestry,” which includes thinning and some revenue harvest.
“It’ll all be balanced toward creating an older, bigger forest,” she said.
Conservation groups are vowing to again challenge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s decision not to add wolverines to the Endangered Species List. There are likely fewer than 300 wolverines across its habitat across the Mountain West, which includes populations in Washington, Idaho and Oregon, where 90 percent of their habitat is on federally managed lands and wilderness areas. Continue Reading Conservation Groups Vow Challenge After Federal Decision Not To Protect Wolverines
Supporters say the measure, known as the Great American Outdoors Act, would be the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century. Continue Reading ‘Most Significant Conservation Legislation’ In 50 Years: Great American Outdoors Act Approved
Conservation groups have said they are “weighing options” about what to do next. Ranching and cattle groups applauded the decision, saying more predators present challenges for their members. Continue Reading Interior Secretary: Grizzlies Will Not Be Brought Back To Washington’s North Cascades