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3,000 acres of new wildlife land conserved in the Cascades

Apr 11, 2014
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Elk, mule deer, and more can now enjoy a more connected and secure future in the Manastash of Washington's central Cascades. Prior to this acquisition, volunteer teams with Conservation Northwest's Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project caught remote camera photos of wildlife on these valuable parcels.

3,000 acres of new wildlife land conserved in the Cascades

Mule deer captured on Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project remote cameras on a snowy day in one of the now protected parcels.

With funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, thousands of acres of private land threatened with development have been conserved in Washington's central Cascades.

Located just southeast of Cle Elum, the conserved parcels lie along the north and south forks of Manastash Creek. They are surrounded by Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest land adjacent to the LT Murray Wildlife Area.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has completed the first phase of the Manastash Block property acquisition by purchasing 3,512 acres from Plum Creek Timber Company, with funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

"These properties are important for fish and wildlife, and people. The overall Manastash Project contains approximately 28 miles of headwater streams that support steelhead, abundant amphibians, and other native aquatic species," said William Meyer, habitat biologist with WDFW.

He went on, "These lands are important for local wildlife migration, particularly elk and deer, but also support broader landscape connectivity efforts. They aid in recovery efforts for northern spotted owls and contain one of the highest elevation nest sites known in Washington State, while ensuring our ability to continue providing public access for recreation."

Prior to this acquisition, volunteer teams with Conservation Northwest's Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project installed and maintained remote cameras in coordination with WDFW to document the presence of wildlife on these valuable parcels. Images throughout the seasons captured members of the Yakima elk herd, mule deer, coyote - and, sometimes, members of the recreating public.

"Conservation of these parcels helps to consolidate the checkerboard land ownership pattern in the central Cascades," said Conservation Northwest's conservation associate, Jen Watkins.

"The Manastash acquisition secures the future of these acres to provide benefits to the wildlife and nearby communities, while making it easier for the national forest and state to manage the Manastash watershed for increased health and resiliency, including much-needed habitat restoration on these newly conserved parcels," said Watkins.

Monitoring cameras will remain on this landscape through spring capturing the wildlife that can enjoy a more connected and secure future on this landscape now.

Conservation Northwest and the monitoring project thanked all the partners that made this conservation possible, and look forward to celebrating the completion of conservation in the Manastash block.

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