Habitat for threatened species including steelhead, northern spotted owl, and fisher
This 915-acre site achieves nearly all of the goals outlined in Columbia Land Trust’s Conservation Agenda for the East Cascades ecoregion which include conserving intact oak habitats; protecting major rivers and their tributaries; and conserving transition zones that link upland and riparian habitats. It also hosts mature and younger cohorts of Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine forest, surrounded by about 6,000 acres of Washington DNR trust land that is managed for timber and wildlife habitat.
Rattlesnake Creek is the largest anadromous tributary to the White Salmon River, and when combined with state owned lands, this parcel protects the entire upper four miles of Rattlesnake Creek. U.S. Geological Survey biologists found that this reach of the Creek remains the coolest throughout the year which is important for climate resilience.
The site is located in the ceded territory of Yakama Nation just south of the Tribe’s Reservation. Our stewardship team is already working on a floodplain enhancement project led by Yakama Nation to increase the creek’s water quality, water holding capacity, and salmonid habitat.
“This place really matters for wildlife,” said Conservation Lead Nate Ulrich, “Federally threatened steelhead and federally at-risk fisher are known to use the riparian areas, and the forested habitat benefits federally threatened northern spotted owls.”
The acquisition was enabled by the Land Trust’s partner, The Conservation Fund who purchased the property in 2021, creating time for us to raise funds to purchase the site and permanently conserve it. Grants funding the purchase came from the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Section 6 Endangered Species habitat conservation program, administered by the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
“Conserving this important site was a major victory because loss of habitat is a very real risk in this area,” said Ulrich. “The Land Trust and our partners were able to act quickly to seize this opportunity to make a difference for nature.”