The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the final purchase of a 20,000-acre acquisition last week.
The state will buy 7,217 acres of former ranch land for $3.1 million. That’s the final piece of a 20,000-acre wildlife area to be named the Big Bend Wildlife Area. Much of that land is seven miles downstream from Grand Coulee Dam.
The purchased acreage will preserve wildlife habitat and support public recreation. Specifically, the land will protect sharp-tailed grouse habitat. The sharp-tailed grouse is a state threatened species.
“This property has special importance, because it connects sharp-tailed grouse populations in Douglas County with those in Okanogan and Lincoln counties,” said Cynthia Wilkerson, WDFW lands division manager in a news release. “Securing this habitat could make a real difference in the effort to recover this species.”
The purchase will also open four more miles of Columbia River frontage for anglers.
Additionally, there are plans to open thousands of acres to hunting for mule deer, upland birds and waterfowl, the news release said.
The final purchase was financed through grants from the state Recreation and Conservation Office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The commission approved the purchase during their public meeting Feb. 8-10 in Olympia.
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