PUBLIC LANDS — More than 700 acres along the Kettle River in Ferry County is among 13 proposed land acquisition areas for fish, wildlife and related recreation the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering in the next three years.
The agency has posted details of the properties on its website and is asking the public to comment on the proposals.
- Comment by Jan. 31 by email to Lands@dfw.wa.gov.
The proposed acquisitions — general and specific — include a 150-acre addition to the Reardan Audubon Lake for migratory birds and bird watching and 3,750 acres for the fourth phase of the the 4-0 ranch acquisitions along the Grande Ronde River to boost everything from steelhead to elk as well as public access.
The parcels also include 2,200 acres in Okanogan County geared to habitat for sharptailed grouse and hunting for other species.
Most of the individual projects are described within their “geographic envelope” – the general area that includes the parcels being considered for acquisition. An envelope is used for planning purposes only. Should the department desire to acquire a particular parcel. WDFW will contact the landowner to determine his or her interest before initiating any acquisition proposal. The department develops acquisition agreements only with willing property owners.
WDFW will not use operating budget funds for these land acquisitions. Instead, the department will seek state and federal grants for most of the proposed acquisitions. Potential grant sources include the State of Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and federal grants through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (also known as “Section 6” funds) and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
Fish and Wildlife officials plan to refer to public comments as they present the proposals at the state’s annual Land Acquisition Coordinating Forum in March. The statewide forum brings together state agencies, local governments, non-governmental organizations, tribes, landowners and other citizens to share ideas about state land actions for habitat and recreation purposes.