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2011: A wilder year

Washington has always been known for ancient trees, but a resurgence of carnivores in our wild ecosystems shows we are the wildlife state, too. Conservation Northwest can claim some share of the credit, and you are a part of this success! Thanks to you, we accomplished a lot for wildlife and wild places.

Washington has always been known for ancient trees, but it’s only recently that --because of a resurgence of carnivores in our wild ecosystems-- our reputation as a wildlife state is quickly improving.

Conservation Northwest can claim some share of the credit for these wilder fortunes. You are a part of this success, too! (See how, by the numbers). Because of your support this year, we accomplished a lot for wildlife and wild places:

Year of the wolf!

The big win: The Washington Fish & Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to adopt a state wolf plan, laying the groundwork for wolves' future. As a governor-appointed member of the working group that helped design the state plan, and the state’s leading advocate for a science-based plan, we couldn’t be happier at the huge outpouring for wolves.  Almost 2500 Conservation Northwest supporters swamped the hallways and inboxes with testimonials and letters supporting wolf recovery. Thank you!

Reaching out: We made strides to help wolves gain acceptance around the state. We hosted a standing room only wolf forum in Seattle, and other events in Ellensburg, Yakima, Wenatchee, southern BC, Federal Way, Bellingham, and North Bend. Our expertise was tapped for a great exhibit at the Burke Museum. Finally, our wolf program director Jasmine Minbashian helped film a BBC special on the return of wolves. Be on the lookout for it on the Discovery Channel in spring 2012!

Protection and science:  There are now 5 wolf packs in Washington, and our volunteer monitoring teams documented the first, and now the newest Cascades wolf pack in the Teanaway. After the decimation of those first wolves, the Lookout Pack, we established a $10,000 reward fund this year to help stem the tide of poaching of wolves, grizzly, and other wildlife.

Bad bills down: Early in the year, we rallied our supporters to stall 3 proposed Washington state anti-wolf bills, called "spectacular in their awfulness" for Washington's wolves and wolf recovery.


Making strides in the Columbia Highlands

Abercrobie-c-ZamoraSteps to wilderness: We inspired 2,000 public comments urging the Colville National Forest (NF) to recommend 100,000 acres of wilderness as part of their forest plan revisions. Working through the Northeast WA Forestry Coalition, we helped develop the Colville NF’s restoration strategy and mapped illegal ATV use/damage so the Colville NF could act.

Ranchland conservation: Together with the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program and Inland Northwest Land Trust, we gained a conservation easement for the 504-acre Dawson ranch near Colville, WA, helping protect wildlife, habitat, and heritage. In a second win, we also closed on a conservation easement on about 300 acres on the Gotham family ranch, just west of Sherman Pass in the Kettle River Range

Gibraltar trail in the works: We came together with recreation interest to begin work on a volunteer-constructed 20 mile motorized and non-motorized trail in Republic’s backyard, perfect for mountain biking, hiking, and views of the Kettle Range. 

More wildlife wins

Don’t forget the grizzly bears: We celebrated the first confirmed photo in 15 years of a North Cascades grizzly bear, bringing renewed attention to their plight. With Canadian colleagues, during our annual lone-caribou-in-snow.jpgWild Links conference, we established a Grizzly Bear Working Group to help BC and US interests coordinate to help transboundary bears.

Caribou peace and quiet: One of North America’s most endangered species, mountain caribou, were protected by closures at three local snowmobile areas near Revelstoke, BC. The closures were an unresolved promise from the groundbreaking agreement our Mountain Caribou Project help create in BC.

Murrelets get a break: A badly designed proposal to build a coastal wind farm in the heart of our state's most valuable nesting habitat for the threatened marbled murrelet had the plug pulled.

Citizen science keeping tabs: Our Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project has been tracking the presence of wildlife in some of our most biologically important landscapes for more than a decade. This year was another banner year, with our volunteer-installed cameras capturing  the first images of the Teanaway Pack. A report will be released soon; in the meantime, enjoy some of the results on flickr or youtube.

Connecting and improving Northwest habitat

Wildilfe bridge visualizationWhatcom opportunity:  We worked hard for a Lake Whatcom forest preserve that, once approved, will protect nearly one third of the Lake Whatcom watershed, drinking water for 90,000 people.

Wildlife get an express lane: After decades of being cut off “at the pass,” wildlife will get a chance to safely cross I-90.  We helped persuade the legislature to commit funding toward building Washington’s first wildlife bridge over I-90 (visualization on the right). We and other were honored with a federal award for the work to ensure wildlife passage in the I-90 expansion.

Don’t forget the small things: Following nearly a decade of contentious debate and litigation, a historic agreement has been reached over federal rules that require wildlife surveys in old forest habitat. The agreement sets a new course for habitat restoration and wildlife protection in the Pacific Northwest.

Protecting drivers, connecting habitat: We helped form a coalition to gain a wildlife underpass on Highway 97, a road plagued by one of the highest wildlife-vehicle collision rates.

Whopper of a bad idea done: It’s been four years since we first spoke out against Bush-era WOPR, and this year we finally saw the last of this plan to increase old growth logging in Oregon by 350%.


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