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February 2009

Conservation Connection February 2009

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In this issue:

  • Caribou on the mend
  • Reintroducing cattle?
  • Owls and woodpeckers
  • A party for our times

BC Mountain caribou

For mountain caribou, how sweet it is.
Photo: Rob Sinclair


Caribou Recovery Rock 'n Roll

This month, more than a year after the original landmark agreement for the highly endangered mountain caribou, the British Columbia government legalized a caribou recovery plan that protects more than 90% of the caribou's best winter habitat from logging and road building. That's more than 2.2 million hectares (5.4 million acres), an area eight times the size of North Cascades National Park, of globally unique Inland Temperate Rainforest.

The victory comes following years of hard work by Conservation Northwest and our close allies, Wildsight, Forest Ethics, and others in the Mountain Caribou Project. Still needed is careful attention to conservation "IOUs" promised in the original agreement. But today, one of North America's most endangered mammals, the mountain caribou, just became a little less endangered.

desert flowers at Whiskey Dick

Grazing in the shrub-steppe can decimate native flowers and other herbs and grasses, tasty to cattle.
Photo: Western Watersheds

Protect Washington's Rare Desert Habitat

In 2007 we let you know about the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's plan to reintroduce cattle to the Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area. All can agree that working ranches and responsible grazing are better than subdivisions and shopping malls. But introducing cattle into unique, rare, and critically important wildlife habitat is a bad idea. Cattle eat the very herbs and grasses that sage grouse and other ground-nesting birds depend upon for cover and as protection from predation. Thirsty cattle also trample streamside habitat and degrade creeks and springs with sediment and pollution.

Washington's wildlife areas contain some of the best shrub-steppe habitat remaining in our state, and they are vitally important for the survival and health of native plants and animals. These public lands also offer open-sky recreation opportunities for hikers, equestrians, hunters, rare plant enthusiasts, and bird watchers.



White-headed woodpecker

Paul Bannick hikes, kayaks, snowshoes, and generally spends a lot of time in the woods to get his images of owls fledging and woodpeckers feeding.


The Owl and the Woodpecker

With his breathtaking photography and spirited demeanor, Conservation Northwest's Paul Bannick explores owls and woodpeckers in a presentation based on his new book, The Owl and the Woodpecker: Encounters With North America's Most Iconic Birds. Intertwining extensive knowledge of natural history with photography of birds in action, he draws intriguing connections between owls and woodpeckers, with a focus on western habitats.

Conservation Northwest is hosting ten presentations by Bannick around Washington, from Bellingham to Spokane. Each is followed by a book signing with the author, who also serves as development director with Conservation Northwest. The Owl and The Woodpecker was recently nominated for the Washington State Book Award for general nonfiction.




Conservation Northwest live auction

Fun people show up at our auction and other parties. Are you one of them?
Photo: Gary Ide

Good Parties and New Faces Lift the Spirits

Our heads are in the clouds these days, aloft with good conservation news, from the recovery of caribou to the return of fishers and wolves to Washington. Yet, like many of you, we are also keeping an eye on the economy, reducing costs wherever possible. Holding our annual Hope for a Wild Future auction at a new venue, the Pacific Science Center, means a new adventure for our guests, while allowing your donations to go farther at the auction. We hope you can save the date to join us on Wednesday, June 10, for tasty food, fine auction items, renewed connections with friends, and an overflow of conservation passion.

On Conservation Northwest board of directors' news, we're saying fond farewell to a few and giving warm welcome to new energized members. Tim Wood, Kenan Block, and Lew Persons are leaving the board after donating years of strong leadership. We will miss them. But we're excited to welcome, new to our board, Anne-Marie Faiola from Bellingham and Hilary Franz from Bainbridge.



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