The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering a slate of Land Acquisition Projects that are up for public comment (closes 2/12/21). The Washington chapter of BHA sent a letter of support to the WDFW based on the benefit these projects would provide to wildlife, habitat recovery and connectivity, as well as increased access and opportunity for sportsmen and outdoor recreation.
A few projects that we especially like...
This land acquisition would expand access to hunters and anglers in SW Washington, something that is vital as Tacoma, Olympia, and the Vancouver metro areas continue to grow. Getting ahead of the curve and continuing to create new access and opportunities close to urban areas for hunters and anglers is something that will distribute pressure and allow for a more quality outdoor experience. Additionally, the size of the project at 9,800 acres would provide an opportunity to restore degraded habitat on a large scale, which would provide a long term benefit to a number of fish and wildlife species. This geographic area is also a vital corridor for linking the Olympics to the Cascades. Further protection of land that links critical habitats together is a growing need as development and population growth fractures these areas.
Expanding the Chehalis Wildlife Area provides benefits to many stakeholders in the area. From a hunting and angling standpoint, this acquisition would expand waterfowl opportunity and provide benefits to salmonid populations through preserving vital wetlands and floodplains. The Chehalis Basin has a long history of major flood events that cause catastrophic damage to the regions residents and businesses. Keeping intact wetland that can absorb and divert water during major events is something that needs to continue to be a priority in this area.
Expanding the Chester Butte Wildlife Area would add another large parcel of land to the network of state and federal lands in the area. These public lands offer prime hunting access for upland bird and big game hunters, and provide critical shrub steppe habitat for sage grouse and mule deer to name a few.
The deadline to submit public comments is Feb. 12, 2021. To make your voice heard, email them to [email protected] or mail them to: Real Estate Services, PO Box 43158, Olympia, WA 98504