Conservation Connection September 2007
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In this issue:
- Spokane gala
- Hello to fisher
- Goodbye to roads
- Forging "wild links"
Spokane revelers in 2005 at our first Spokane auction.
Photo: Amy Sinisterra
Spokane's "Hope for a Wild Future"
Thursday evening, September 27th, join us for a gala event at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane and an
evening of wine, art, dinner, and spirited bidding to highlight the
Keynote speaker Brock Evans
, a legendary wilderness advocate and major leader in the conservation movement since the late '60s, was involved in
the creation of North Cascades National Park and later helped secure protection for the Salmo-Priest Wilderness.
Our emcee for the evening is Spokane sportswoman Jeanna Hofmeister, vice president of the Spokane Regional Convention
and Visitors Bureau. Please join us!
The fisher, a housecat-sized forest hunter indigenous to Washington, plays a key ecological role. It is the only known natural predator of porcupines.
Photo: Conservation NW files
Restoring Fisher to the Olympic Peninsula
In 2004 Conservation Northwest teamed up with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to bring
back to Washington's forests. That visionary work is now coming to fruition as the Olympic National
Park releases a plan to reintroduce fisher. It's an exciting opportunity to restore the full suite
of wildlife that once roamed the Olympic wilderness, and if successful the plan could provide a
template for restoring fisher to the Cascade Mountains and the Kettle River Range.
As part of the plan an extensive habitat search in the state determined that the best place for fisher
was the peninsula and the old-growth forests of the Elwha, Sol Duc, Bogachiel, Hoh, Queets, and Quinault.
As the Park says, "95% of the park is designated wilderness; without fishers a key wilderness value is absent."
We're excited to welcome them back! In the next couple of weeks, check our website for an opportunity
to comment on this exciting plan to recover fisher.
Top: This road was simply abandoned and not decommissioned; it is still causing sedimentation and is a barrier to amphibians and other small critters. Bottom: Five years after decommissioning, this road is almost fully recovered for plants and animals.
Photos: Derek Churchill
Taking the High Road
Roads connect people to places but they also deeply affect the connections of our natural systems
as well as the health of fish and wildlife. Roads fragment habitat, spread invasive weeds, and clog
waterways with eroded soil. Yet these negative road impacts can be lessened. Passages built over or
under roads convey wildlife safely across roads, and temporary roads can be decommissioned.
Conservation Northwest is working to address the sometimes thorny topic of roads, from Washington's
highway system to roads in our national forests. This summer we teamed with the Washington State Department
of Transportation to begin developing a statewide wildlife connectivity plan to make roads safer for people
and wildlife. We're also working with the Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest to address pressing restoration
needs in the forest, creating a tool to help analyze the impact of temporary roads on public lands and wildlife.
At the "Wild Links" briefing spearheaded by Conservation Northwest, US Forest Service panelist Bill Gaines called for a focus on important transboundary wildlife such as the endangered mountain caribou, which lives in both the US and Canada.
Photo: Shawn Cassidy/Heather McElwain
Working Together for Wildlife
On September 10th Conservation Northwest hosted our first annual "Wild Links" conference at Central
Washington University around the theme, Washington Cascades: I-90 and North. More than 50
people working to conserve and connect habitat and wildlife came together to discuss the larger landscape
questions facing the North Cascades, including climate change.
Researchers updated the audience on current wildlife studies, focusing on wolverines in the Methow,
small mammals in our dry forests, and lynx and recent fires in the north-central Cascades. Also at the
briefing, local land trusts, nonprofits, and unique partnerships highlighted their current work to connect
habitat, recover big wildlife,
reintroduce fire to better manage our landscape,
monitor wildlife activity around I-90, and, overall, better inform conversations about the Washington Cascades north of I-90.