$1.5M state grant will help protect Washougal River watershed

Columbia Land Trust to buy 307 acres in Skamania County to preserve one of oldest, largest private forests in watershed

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The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) has awarded the Columbia Land Trust, a Vancouver-based nonprofit that works to conserve the land, water and wildlife of the Columbia River region from The Dalles, Oregon, to the Pacific Ocean, with a $1.5 million grant to buy 307 acres in Skamania County to preserve one of the oldest and largest remaining private forests in the Washougal River watershed.

The purchase also will conserve more than three miles of shoreline habitat on the West Fork Washougal River and perennial tributary Jackson Creek for salmon species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, according to the RCO website. The land has steeply sloped forests of mature Douglas-fir, cedar and hemlock.

RCO awarded nearly $190 million to a variety of organizations statewide to renovate parks, build trails, create new places for people to recreate outdoors, and make investments in conserving lands that are homes to plants and animals at risk of extinction and that preserve Washington’s agricultural and forestry legacy, such as working farms and forests, according to a news release.

“These grants advance our priority to protect Washington’s world-class outdoor recreation offerings enjoyed by locals and travelers from across the globe,” Gov. Jay Inslee stated.