DNR to Transfer 1,360 Acres to WDFW in Douglas County to Expand Wildlife Area
December 1, 2020
The Board of Natural Resources approved the grant-funded transaction during its meeting Tuesday
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will transfer 1,360 acres of Douglas County rangeland to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) as part of a grant-funded transaction approved by the Board of Natural Resources on Tuesday morning.
The four rangeland parcels, which are near the Columbia River about 10 miles north of Grand Coulee, are either inholdings or adjacent to WDFW’s Big Bend Wildlife Area. The wildlife area is critical habitat for a variety of species, including the threatened sharp-tailed grouse.
“This transaction is a win-win for the people and the wildlife of Washington state,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who oversees DNR. “Our partners at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife get an opportunity to add meaningful conservation to the Big Bend Wildlife Area, and DNR will be able to acquire properties that are better suited to support our public schools.”
“These properties provide an important habitat connectivity link for sharp-tailed grouse populations in Douglas, Okanogan, and Lincoln counties,” said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. “The transfer of these properties to the Big Bend Wildlife Area is an important component to support our work to maintain and recover endangered and threatened species. The property transfer is also a testament of the collaborative relationship between our agencies to better position these properties for effective operation and management.”
The $331,000 in grant funding for the transaction came from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and was awarded to WDFW in 2016. DNR will use the revenue from the transaction to purchase replacement property elsewhere to benefit the Common School Trust, which funds K-12 school construction across Washington state.
The isolated parcels only generated $1,276 per year in revenue for the Common School Trust. As part of the transaction, WDFW will assume the grazing leases on the parcels.
The Board of Natural Resources meeting was conducted remotely as part of DNR’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Washington State Department of Natural Resources