The Nature Conservancy today applauded Sen. Patty Murray for her leadership in securing $1.5 million to preserve a spectacular eastern Washington landscape found nowhere else in the world, the Channeled Scablands of the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.
The Channeled Scablands were carved out during the ice age by the largest flood in geological history. Today, Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge encompasses an island of this unique habitat near Cheney. Here sagebrush and grasslands meet ponderosa pines, with a mosaic of ponds, marshes and wetlands that offer some of the last high-quality breeding, migrating and wintering habitat for waterfowl in eastern Washington.
The recently completed Interior and Environment appropriation legislation delivers $1.5 million in Land and Water Conservation Funds to enable the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collaborate with the Conservancy on acquiring nearly 500 acres to add to the 16,000-acre refuge.
The refuge is Spokane’s backyard, providing wildlife viewing and other recreational opportunities. In addition to expanding those opportunities, the acquisition will protect both the quality and quantity of fresh water for the community and for the refuge. Spokane County’s population has grown by 30 percent in the last 20 years and with at least 200 groundwater wells within a mile of the Refuge, such proactive conservation efforts are essential for sustaining water for wildlife and the surrounding agricultural and ranching communities.
"Senator Murray has shown great leadership in securing funding to protect this unique landscape, a tremendous resource for the Spokane and Cheney community as well as for all of Washington,” said Karen Anderson, state director for The Nature Conservancy.
“I was proud to secure this funding to preserve the incredible Channeled Scablands of the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge,” said Sen. Murray. “Conservation of this unique pristine land will protect groundwater, preserve a vital habitat, and maintain the area for recreational use today and for generations to come.”
In addition to The Nature Conservancy, this funding was supported by Friends of Turnbull NWR, Inland Northwest Land Trust, Ducks Unlimited, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Parks and Recreation, Washington Department of Natural Resources and the Spokane Chapter of the Audubon Society.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund program provides funding for land acquisition by the following federal agencies: the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Parks Service, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is funded by receipts from off-shore oil and gas leasing and development.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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