Conservation Connection August 2010
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In this issue:
- Columbia Highlands launch
- Meet Kit!
- Update on Washington's wolves
Russ Vaagen of Vaagen Brothers Lumber Company speaks at our press conference in Spokane.
Photo: Matt Cohen
Columbia Highlands Initiative Goes Public
Conservation Northwest, along with
timber mill owners, recreation business leaders, scientists and ranchers,
held simultaneous press conferences last month in Seattle and Spokane
to unveil the Columbia Highlands Initiative, an effort to maintain an
important habitat connection between the Cascades and Rockies by protecting
wild places and sustaining working ranches and jobs in the woods in the
Columbia Highlands region of northeast Washington. The announcement garnered
high-profile media attention on both sides
of the state, including front page, above-the-fold stories in both The
Seattle Times and The Spokesman Review.
You can learn more about the exciting new proposal, which
includes over 215,000 acres of proposed wilderness and an additional
400,000 acres of restoration and conservation lands, by visiting our
website or by attending one of the many grassroots kick-off events to
be held around the state in September:
Over 70 people attended our grassroots campaign kickoff event on August 19th in Spokane and got a
sneak preview of our new multi-media tour of the Columbia Highlands region. If you live in Spokane
and would like to get involved in the effort, contact Crystal Gartner,
Also be sure to stay up to date on the latest news and events about Columbia Highlands Wilderness on
- Seattle, Tues., Sept. 21st, Seattle grassroots
kickoff for the Columbia Highlands Initiative. Learn how you can be
a part of this exciting and innovative campaign! Pizza and beer will
be served. Piecora’s Pizza, 6:00pm, RSVP to email@example.com
- Colville, Thurs., Sept. 23rd, a showing of the
film about the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition, From Controversy
to Common Ground, at Colville Community College, 6:30pm, RSVP
- Republic, Fri., Sept. 24th, with special musical
guest Dana Lyons, Parish Hall, 6:30pm, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Kit McGurn is Conservation Northwest's new outreach associate and works out of our Seattle office.
Conservation Northwest’s New Western Washington Outreach Coordinator,
Conservation Northwest is excited
to announce that we have a new outreach associate in our Seattle office:
Kit McGurn! You'll have a chance to meet Kit at our Grassroots Kickoff Party for
the Columbia Highlands Initiative at Piecora's Pizza in Seattle on Tuesday,
September 21st at 6:00pm or at the Conservation Northwest table at The
Mountaineers' Outdoorsfest happening on September
18th at Magnuson Park. Stop by and say hello! This new position represents
a renewed investment in engaging our Western Washington membership, so
feel free to contact Kit with any thoughts or volunteer interests you
might have! See below for his contact info.
A little background on Kit:
Originally from Pueblo, Colorado, Kit went to college at Pacific Lutheran
University in Tacoma, majoring in economics and environmental studies.
After an 8 month solo backpack trip to South America, he went on to work
for Greater Yellowstone Coalition in their Idaho field office, where he
worked with a small coalition of groups to prevent the construction of
a hydroelectric project on the Bear River in southeast Idaho, organized
Idaho state residents to protect Idaho roadless areas, and performed policy
analysis regarding the transfer of the Northern Rockies Wolf population
to state management. Most recently he had been working as the Sierra Club's
Arctic Conservation Organizer where he was engaging and activating the
Sierra Club's national membership on oil and gas development issues and
the effects of climate change in America's Arctic region.
He is very excited to refocus his conservation efforts on the Pacific Northwest - a place he now
considers home. You can contact Kit with any thoughts, questions, and volunteer interests at:
(206) 675-9747 ext. 201
(206) 462-9252 cell
Playful pups in northeast Washington's Diamond Pack are protected again under the
Endangered Species Act.
Photo: Washington DNR
Court Ruling Affects Wolves in Washington
A ruling by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy
earlier this month put northern Rockies' wolves back
on the federal Endangered Species list, putting their management back in the hands of the US Fish
and Wildlife Service. But many don’t realize that this decision not only affects wolves in Idaho,
Montana and Wyoming, but also affects wolves in the eastern third of Washington and Oregon, which are
included in the northern Rockies population.
wolves returned on their own to Washington for the first time in decades. Currently, there are two
confirmed wolf packs in the state, one in the North Cascades and one in the Selkirk Mountains of northeast
Washington (this pack is part of the northern Rockies population), but many more breeding pairs are needed
in order to ensure their long-term survival in the state. Wolf recovery in Washington has been tenuous with
many wolves being either victims of
poachers or car collisions. The most recent reports from the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife indicate that the North Cascades pack's
breeding female is missing and they
fear she may have been killed.
The recent ruling is good news for Washington's few wolves because it means that there is a
greater chance for recovery in our state (which is dependent on healthy populations in Idaho)
and it will ensure that adequate state plans are in place before delisting can occur in the future.
In 2006, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife began to develop a
plan for their wolf conservation and management. After many meetings and
a long public process, the plan was put under scientific peer review.
Multiple revisions have been made to the draft and a final plan will be
presented to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in late 2010.
Conservation Northwest will keep you posted on opportunities to speak up for wolf recovery in
Washington State. Contact Jasmine Minbashian,