Commission approves land purchases for habitat, outdoor recreati - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Commission approves land purchases for habitat, outdoor recreation

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OLYMPIA, WA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission today approved three land purchases, including the acquisition of 975 acres in Cowlitz County and 705 acres in Kittitas County.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), approved the acquisitions on the first day of its two-day meeting (Nov. 4-5) in Olympia.

The purchase of 975 acres in Cowlitz County is part of an effort by the department to protect diverse fish and wildlife habitat north and west of Merrill Lake. Acquiring the land, allows the department to preserve habitat for numerous species, including salmon, steelhead and elk, and provide public access for outdoor recreation. The purchase price is $2.1 million. 

The commission also approved the purchase of 705 acres in Kittitas County to protect critical habitat for a variety of wildlife, including mule deer, elk and northern spotted owls. The parcel, which is south of Cle Elum, will cost $811,000.  

Both purchases will be funded with grants from the state Recreation and Conservation Office’s Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.   

Additionally, the commission approved the purchase of 2.65 acres in Wahkiakum County for the construction of a spawning and rearing side channel for chum salmon off Skamokawa Creek. The project is sponsored by the Lower Columbia Fish Advisory Board and funded through a grant from the state Department of Ecology.

All land transactions were appraised by independent, state-certified appraisers.

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