Donate Now! Subscribe

Washington Wild Signs Letter in Support of Funding to Protect Taneum Watershed

Posted on Jun 2, 2022 in Conservation News, WA Wild Blog
An aerial view of checkerboard forest lands

Aerial view over Plum Creek / Checkerboard Forest lands along the I-90 corridor. The Nature Conservancy acquired the lands from the Plum Creek Timber Company, including lands in the eastern Cascade Mountain Range of Washington and in the Blackfoot River Valley in Montana to conserve the forestland to protect clean water, forests, and wildlife habitat for people and wildlife. Photo credit: © Benjamin Drummond

Washington Wild joined eight other Conservation organizations to call on Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to support funding for the Washington Cascades Yakima River Watershed Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Project.

This project would protect 12,000 acres of private  checkerboard forestlands in the Taneum watershed in Kittitas county.  The total funding need is $14.5 million, yet President Biden’s FY2023 budget only  provides $6.5 million for the project. To fill the $8 million funding gap, the Nature Conservancy has submitted a congressionally designated spending request, also known as an earmark, for the project. 

In 2020, the Great American Outdoors Act passed and doubled the amount of funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. While this was a huge victory, unfortunately here in Washington, we have not seen a commensurate increase in funding for Washington based LWCF projects. In fact, Washington state received less than 1% of total project funding in 2021.

Both Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell have been champions for Land and Water Conservation Fund projects. Advocating for earmark spending to fill the gap is a chance for Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell to bring the funding home and make up for lost ground.

The Washington Cascades Yakima River Watershed project is the last major checkerboard project in the I-90 corridor. Protecting these lands will build on the legacy of the Cascades Conservation Partnership and offer an opportunity to leverage the benefits of the Great American Outdoors Act here in Washington.