Conservation Connection October 2007
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In this issue:
- Caribou hurrah
- No on I960
- A park for Lake Whatcom
- Northeast WA Forestry Coalition
Caribou may no longer be staring at extinction, thanks to landmark protection.
Photo: © Milo Burcham
Big Habitat Protected for Mountain Caribou
Unique and endangered mountain caribou now have a chance at survival thanks to years of hard work by
Conservation Northwest and our close allies Wildsight, Forest Ethics, and others in the Mountain Caribou
Project. The BC government this month committed to protecting mountain caribou across their current range,
including five million acres of Inland Temperate Rainforest, in a landmark caribou recovery plan. This
initiative ranks among the top conservation initiatives of the last decade if implemented properly. It's
a victory for mountain caribou, a transboundary species shared by Canada and the US and one of North
America's most endangered mammals.
Camas blooms on the best contiguous oak-woodland prairie
remaining in Washington.
Photo: Cross-Base Highway Coalition
Wildlife Conservation on the Ballot
Initiative 960 on November's statewide ballot could hurt
wildlife and wildlife conservation. The measure, which expands the definition of a tax increase to any
change in state revenue and makes it more difficult for the legislature to raise revenue to meet basic
state needs, could cost close to $2 million to administer. That's funding that could otherwise be better
spent on conservation projects, such as protecting the North Cascades grizzly, planning for the return
of the gray wolf to Washington, or constructing wildlife bridges across Interstate 90.
Also in the coming election, voters in Pierce, King, and Snohomish counties will decide on the
Regional Transportation Investment District's transit project list contained in Proposition 1.
Unfortunately for native prairie wildlife, the transportation package includes initial funding for
the Cross-Base Highway, which
would pave over the last and best remaining oak-woodland prairie in Washington. Loss of the prairie
means loss of some of our last prairie wildlife: western gray squirrel, Mazama pocket gopher, streaked
horned lark, Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly, and water howellia.
Looking south across Lake Whatcom to potential new parklands.
Photo: Jonah Keith
A Leap Toward Clean Drinking Water
In September, Whatcom County and the Department of Natural Resources pledged to protect forests at
Lake Whatcom by creating a new park in the watershed that supplies water for 90,000 people. Conservation
Northwest's goal has always been to provide better protection for forests, wildlife, and drinking water
quality in Lake Whatcom. We've worked hard for the last eight years with local and state elected officials
and hundreds of other concerned citizens to protect the forests around the lake. Given the sensitivity of
this drinking reservoir, transferring the portion of the state forest that belongs to Whatcom County into
park status is a great step forward for the lake, the watershed, and the people of Whatcom County.
Bighorn sheep graze a mountainside: An image from "Yellowstone to Rockies: Freedom to Roam."
Photo: © Florian Schulz
Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition to Present at Burke Museum in Seattle
Members of the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition are making a unique appearance in Seattle at the
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture as part of a lecture
series on "Yellowstone to Rockies: Freedom to Roam." On Tuesday, November 13, coalition members,
including Lloyd McGee of Vaagen Brothers Timber and Tim Coleman of Conservation Northwest, will
highlight conservation initiatives in the Colville National Forest. It's an opportunity to hear
from the people directly involved in working together on a blueprint for wilderness, restoration,
responsible forestry, and jobs in the woods in the Columbia Highlands of northeast Washington.