Western Watersheds Project in Washington State
Western Watersheds Project's activity in Washington State extends our efforts into the beautiful shrubsteppe of central and eastern Washington where WWP is working to ensure the recovery of state lands acquired by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife decades ago.
Is Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Playing Politics With Washington's Wildlife Heritage ?
WWP remains committed to holding the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to its word when it promises the citizens of Washington State that land acquired as wildlife areas will be managed as critical habitat for wildlife. Livestock is not wildlife. Unfortunately, pressure from the livestock industry to graze state lands, many of which were acquired to preserve and restore the habitat following decades of abusive livestock grazing in the first place, is mounting and political officials are folding. The move threatens Washington's trend of reducing grazing to benefit wildlife and it writes-off decades of succesful restoration effort to the livestock industry for little to no money and with inadequate environmental review. Washington wildlife managers are spending public financing and time catering to private livestock interests instead of doing the work they were hired to do - ensuring your wildlife and its habitat is healthy and abundant. We deserve for our Washington public lands to be managed as intended - as critical habitat for wildlife - not as private pasture for the livestock industry.
Whiskey Dick, Quilomene, Skookumchuck, Asotin, Pintler
The Whiskey Dick, Quilomene, Skookumchum, Asotin, and Pintler Wildlife Areas contain thousands of acres of pristine wildlife, bird, and fish habitat. Shrubsteppe is among the most threatened habitats in the West critical to sage grouse and loggerhead shrike. Many species of birds are endemic to shrubsteppe habitats and cannot survive elsewhere. In addition to the sage grouse –which now number fewer than 1000 in Washington State - Brewer’s sparrows, sage thrashers, sage sparrows are all shrubsteppe obligate wildlife species. Endangered and rare mammals and fish –including pygmy rabbits, Chinook salmon and bull trout- also depend on streams located on the Wildlife Areas. Bighorn sheep roam the canyons and elk and deer browse.
With less than 10% of shrubsteppe left in Washington, Wildlife Areas and the wildlife, birds, and fish that depend on them cannot afford the devestating impact inevitably accompanying livestock grazing. Weed introduction, soil disruption, polluted and sediment loaded streams and water, habitat fragmentation, competition for forage, pygmy rabbit and burrow trampling, the list goes on and on pervasively denudnig every facet of the Wildlife Areas including all plant and animal communities dependent on this last remaining habitat.