Conservation Northwest


Conservation Northwest protects and connects old-growth forests and other wild areas from the Washington Coast to the British Columbia Rockies, vital to a healthy future for us, our children, and wildlife. Since 1989, Conservation Northwest has worke

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Gaining ground For wilderness Funding restoration As the Columbia Highlands campaign director working solo out of a Spokane home office, I still engage frequently with other Conservation Northwest staff in our efforts to gain protections for wilderness, improved wildlife habitat and management, and better forestry and forest restoration on the Colville National Forest. I spend a lot of time traveling around the sprawling Columbia Highlands of northeast Washington and have deep respect and empathy for local views, struggles, and concerns. When not at my desk or on the road for Conservation Northwest, I prefer to be out on foot, ski, or bike enjoying the special places and wildlife we work to protect. Protecting wild areas in the Kettle Range and Selkirk Mountains of northeast Washington has been a centerpiece of Conservation Northwest's work for nearly a decade. Yet it has not been our singular focus. Our Columbia Highlands Initiative, launched in 2010, is a balanced package that includes protecting wildlife habitat between public lands on working ranches A culvert at Pierre Creek aids passage for fish, including bull trout. The project puts new forest restoration funding to work. Derrick Knowles guiding project development, we wrote comments and visited the field to review prescriptions that would protect large and old trees. In 2011, we learned that the final proposed project would include temporary roads and logging that would increase sediment and peak flows into Eightmile Creek and other nearby waterways. Therefore, we proposed removing additional roads to improve the watershed. The Forest Service agreed with our vision. Measures to reduce sedimentation included immediate restoration Keeping the Northwest wild Derrick Knowles Columbia Highlands campaign director, and science-based forest restoration work on prime wildlife habitat between the Cascades and Rocky Mountains. While wilderness and other protections for the wild areas of the Colville National Forest remain a top priority to be pursued when the time is right, our capital campaign to raise funds for conservation easements and ranchland habitat is nearly complete. We have also made good progress on our Columbia Highlands forest restoration goals. This progress is likely one of the biggest conservation success stories in the Columbia Highlands in recent years. Kettle Falls based staffer David Heflick and others at Conservation Northwest played a major role in researching, writing, and then lobbying for a Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) grant for the Colville National Forest. He worked collaboratively with other members of the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition and national forest staff. The wildly successful grant proposal brought just under $1 million in additional funding for forest restoration activities to the Colville. An additional $1 million are expected for restoration activities each year for the ten-year life of the program. What makes this restoration funding important for wildlife in the Columbia Highlands? The funding directly benefits some of the best mid-to-low elevation habitat between the wildlands of the Kettle Crest and nearby communities. In the Kettle River Range, collaborative projects will protect water quality and fisheries, control invasive plants, lend resiliency to forests, and restore habitat for lynx and other wildlife. If fully funded by Congress over the life of the program, restoration work will be completed on about 120,000 acres. In the coming year, Conservation Northwest staff in the Columbia Highlands are leading the charge for using the best and latest science to guide implementation of CFLRP restoration projects, and we continue to advance protections for wild areas in the Kettles and Columbia Highlands. of 4.5 miles of road and decommissioning and removal of 27 miles of road by project completion. Our engagement did not end there. This year, we provided $9,000 in private funding to the district to help ensure that immediate restoration work is completed. I toured the project area with district staff and partners, and I look forward to monitoring implementation as the snow melts. After decades of tracking the details and the sales, Eightmile Creek, its forests and wildlife, are almost out of the woods. George Wooten in the field. Our staff have been part of the positive changes for national forests. Winter 2013 13

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