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February 2008

Conservation Connection February 2008

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:

  • Member madness
  • Fisher homecoming
  • Grizzly letter
  • Squirrel advance
  • Whatcom preserve

A fisher named Bridgette

Be a star player for Conservation Northwest this year.
Photo: James Johnston



Member Madness


Now through the end of March, you can make a slam dunk for wildlife and wild places... and maybe win a prize! Help us build our winning conservation team by sharing your passion for wildlife with conservation-minded friends and family or by providing stable support as a Wildland Partner monthly donor.

Conservation Northwest's members supply more than 70% of our annual revenue and give wildlife a big voice. During Member Madness, sharing our work is easy! We've created simple online tools–including myspace and facebook widgets–sample emails, and printed materials. Every new person you refer scores you entries in a raffle for some great Conservation Northwest gear. And all new members in March double their impact with a matching gift from a challenge fund!



Fisher release, Olympic National Park

A fisher bursts out running from its carry-cage into native forest in Olympic National Park.
Photo: Paul Bannick



A Homecoming for Fisher


After five years of careful planning, last month eleven Pacific fishers from southern British Columbia were released into old forests in the Olympic National Park, including a location near the Elwha River. Students from Stevens Elementary School in Port Angeles and a crowd of 30 other onlookers were on hand to witness the historic event.

Executive Director Mitch Friedman called it one of the most memorable moments of his life. "With fishers back home on the Olympic Peninsula, the magnificent old-growth ecosystem found here is now more complete. We are honored to be involved in this effort and commend the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Olympic National Park for their leadership."



grizzly bear

Grizzlies in the North Cascades are in trouble, but they aren't gone–yet. An umbrella species, grizzly bears represent protection for hundreds of other, smaller species.
Artwork: Tanja Wilcox/
Chad Crowe



Gimme Shelter...and Grizzly Bears


Unknown to many Washingtonians, in the lower 48 states outside of the Rocky Mountain region grizzly bears are believed to occur only in the North Cascades. With possibly fewer than 10 animals, the Cascades grizzlies are extremely endangered. Without immediate help, it's not a question of if our bears will disappear, but when. A recovery plan finalized in 1997 has yet to be fully implemented.

With the last West Coast stronghold for the grizzly bear in Representative Rick Larsen's backyard, we are asking him to help us recover this amazing wilderness icon. Today, please ask Rep. Larsen to work with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to complete recovery planning for North Cascades grizzly bears.




western gray squirrel

A western gray squirrel in native pine-oak woodlands in Washington.
Photo: Lloyd Glenn Ingle




Government's Squirrely Plan under Scrutiny


The agency supposed to protect US wildlife has been caught out doing just the opposite. At the end of last year we reported news of wildlife protections derailed by political meddling–cases now under review by the agency–including listings for lynx, northern spotted owl, and bull trout. Now, the Interior Department's Inspector General, at the request of Representatives Jay Inslee and Peter DeFazio, has agreed to investigate political interference by top agency officials into the effort to protect the western gray squirrel, an animal that represents an exceedingly rare ecosystem, Washington's pine-oak woodland prairies.

Only three small populations of the native western gray squirrel remain in our state: in and around the Methow of eastern Washington, in southern Klickitat County, and in southwest Washington near Fort Lewis. For years Conservation Northwest has urged the US Fish and Wildlife to recognize Washington's western gray squirrels as a distinct population segment and endangered species. That distinction would afford the rare mammal the protections it needs to survive.



Lake Whatcom forest preserve

A new Lake Whatcom forest preserve would help protect forests filtering clean water for more than 90,000 local residents.
Photo: Tore Ofteness


A Proposed Lake Whatcom Forest Preserve


The end of last year brought exciting news for people and wildlife in northwestern Washington. Whatcom County has proposed protecting as a forest preserve some 8,400 acres of Whatcom County Forest Board Lands in the Lake Whatcom watershed. These forests would be protected from logging, creating a brand new preserve half the size of Bellingham within short biking distance of Bellingham's city limits. The proposed preserve area is home to marbled murrelet, associated with old forests, as well as bald eagle, osprey, tailed frog, and a small native fish called the Salish sucker.




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