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April 2006

Conservation Connection April 2006

Conservation Connection - May 2006
NOTE: All links have been removed from this archived newsletter. For more information on any topics mentioned, please use our website Search bar above.


In this issue:

  • More good news for old growth
  • Lynx need you
  • Member thank you
  • Of caribou and grizzlies
  • Columbia Highlands

Lewis woodpecker with golden currants. Photo copyright Paul Bannick

The Lewis woodpecker thrives in the old trees of open forests in eastern Washington.
Photo: copyright Paul Bannick

Counting on Washington's Old Growth


Conservation Northwest, Washington Environmental Council, and National Audubon Society reached an eight-year settlement agreement that resolved our lawsuit challenging long-term logging plans proposed by the Washington's Department of Natural Resource (DNR). The agreement forestalls the state's earlier proposal to increase cutting by nearly 30% on state public lands. This important work by Conservation Northwest helps restore some of our scarcest old forest habitat, better protecting wildlife on our state forest lands.

A 2005 inventory found that of original old-growth forests, a mere 2% remain in western Washington. For eastern Washington forests, we don't even know how many trees remain: the inventory was incomplete. To get the job done, Conservation Northwest worked with DNR in the legislature to secure funding to complete the inventory. Scientists will first define old-growth ponderosa pine, dry mixed conifer, and pine-oak forests, and then map these stands as a baseline for future forest restoration. While the research is ongoing, DNR is prohibited from cutting trees older than 160 years and larger than 28 inches in diameter. You don't know what you've got till it's gone....


Many thanks to Art Wolfe for use of his stunning photo

Our recent edition of the Conservation Northwest Quarterly features the lynx.


No Place Like Home for Canada Lynx


Today, critical habitat for Canada lynx stands in the balance. In 2005, the Bush administration proposed rules that would exclude critical habitat protections for lynx on federal lands in the Cascade, Kettle, and Selkirk mountains. Yet critical habitat is the key to this northern cat's survival.

We need your help again for lynx! Please take a moment to send a letter from our action center, or make a donation on behalf of lynx habitat protection. The comment deadline for lynx critical habitat was extended to Sunday, April 30. Let the Fish and Wildlife Service know that critical habitat designations across America–in Washington State, the Rocky Mountains, northern Minnesota, and Maine–are needed to recover the lynx and bring North America's wildest cat back from the brink of extinction.


Member tree fulfilled

Thanks to you, our new member goal of 250 greened our tree and topped out at 332!


Member Madness: A “"Runaway Fast Break”"!


We thought we’d try to make our first ever membership drive fun...and by all accounts we succeeded! Conservation Northwest staff and members spent the month of March asking new friends to join and old friends to renew. All told, 332 households from around the region joined or rejoined the organization.

To our new (and renewed) members, thank you and welcome! Fun opportunities await you. On our web site calendar you’ll find events, hikes, and other volunteer opportunities. A couple of examples: Wednesday, June 7, we’re throwing our gala dinner auction, “Hope for a Wild Future,” in Seattle, with something for the whole family. Please join us as a guest or help us by volunteering. Then, on June 23-25, join us for the fifth annual Kettle Range Rendezvous, a weekend of camping, hiking, and trail work in the beautiful Columbia Highlands. Please mark your calendar!


The Jumbo Valley

Protected again by people, for bears: the Jumbo Valley.
Photo: Jumbo Creek Conservation Society






Wildlife in Canada Get a Break


Mountain caribou: Lowe's, the US home building company, is finally getting the message from suppliers and wood products consumers on the need to protect mountain caribou, one of the most endangered mammals in North America. In a recent letter sent to the British Columbia government, a Lowe’s representative strongly advocated recovery for all herds. The company's letter stresses that a forest rich in biodiversity is a legacy that makes the region such an important source for wood products. When you shop at Lowe’s, please urge them to protect mountain caribou habitat and carry only sustainably-cut BC wood.

Grizzly bears: Plans to build an all-season resort in the Jumbo Valley at the heart of grizzly bear country received a major setback when, in a next to unanimous decision, regional district directors voted to put "Jumbo" plans on a "jumbo" hold. The resort would block the bears' travel between the nearby Purcell Wilderness and Banff National Park. These grizzly bears mean a lot to Washington State: they form the basis for a hoped-for restoration of grizzlies in the US. East Kootenay residents have managed to protect the Jumbo Valley for more than a decade. Says John Bergenske, director of the instrumental group Wildsight: "This decision is one more nail in the coffin of this unpopular resort proposal. We’ve kept it local. Now we plan to keep it wild.”"


Looking south in the Kettle River Range

Forests and meadows of the Columbia Highlands are rich and diverse. Photo: Tim Coleman

Good Start for the Columbia Highlands


A new community-driven process is well underway to help protect wildlands and wildlife in the Columbia Highlands. People of shared interests, including conservationists, timber industry representatives, recreationists, county commissioners, recently made their way to the Environmental Learning Center at the top of Chewelah Peak to begin an arduous, but exciting, process to develop a commonground vision for managing the 1.1 million acres of the Colville National Forest.

As part of the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition, we're off to a good start. Conservationists are speaking up for thinning around homes and in fire-suppressed dry forests. County commissioners and timber industry representatives are now speaking openly about the social, economic, and ecological values of wilderness.



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