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Lynx going critical in the Kettles

Sep 29, 2013
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Once again comes a proposal for critical habitat to protect lynx, this time for 26 million acres spread across six northern states including Washington.

Lynx going critical in the Kettles

Critical habitat protection including in Washington's Kettle Range is key for rare wild cat. Photo courtesy Barbara Jordan

Once again comes a proposal for critical habitat to protect lynx, this time for 26 million acres spread across six northern states including Washington. Canada lynx are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and critical habitat is essential to their survival and recovery.

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The US Fish and Wildlife Service proposal also seeks input on extending critical habitat protections for lynx in northeast Washington's Kettle River Range. Trapping records through the 1980s reveal that the state’s most robust populations at one time lived in the Kettles.

“With vast tracts of habitat and a long history of lynx presence, the Kettle Range in Washington deserves federal habitat protections.” – Dave Werntz, Conservation Northwest

The new designation comes in response to court challenges from snowmobile associations in Wyoming and Washington, who had sought to nullify critical habitat for the rare wildcat. Instead, the court ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to redo aspects of its economic analysis. Three conservation groups – Conservation Northwest, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Earthjustice – intervened in that suit to ensure continued protection of lynx habitat.

At the west end of lynx range, Washington’s lynx populations depend for long-term survival on occasional genetic and demographic interchange with lynx in the Rockies and Canada. The Kettle River Range provides important connecting habitat between the North Cascade and Rocky Mountain lynx populations.

Send your comment

By Dec. 26, 2013, send your comment to urge the service to include the Kettles in their proposal. Submit comments electronically, or mail them to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R6-ES-2013-0101, Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM, Arlington, VA 22203.

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