Defenders in the Northwest
Sage-Grouse, Photo: USFWS Pacific Southwest Region

Additional Priorities

"Smart from the Start" Renewable Energy Development

Pursuing renewable energy will put our nation on a path to energy independence, lower our greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce the amount of pollution that results from extracting and burning fossil fuels. But renewable energy projects must be developed responsibly, in a way that doesn’t harm native wildlife or damage their habitat. This is especially true in the Pacific Northwest, where large areas of healthy, connected habitat still remain.

Defenders is also promoting conservation planning for sage-grouse that accommodates responsible siting for smart, clean energy development across the West.

Reintroduction of West Coast Fishers

Fishers lived in the low to mid elevation forests of Washington State up until the mid-1900’s, but were extirpated due to loss of forest habitat and over-trapping. In 1998, the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) listed the fisher as an endangered species at the state level. In partnership with the National Park Service, WDFW reintroduced fishers to Olympic National Park in January of 2008. Defenders is taking this work one step further by working to list west coast fishers under the federal Endangered Species Act, and by enhancing funding and outreach in the next wave of the reintroduction plan for Washington state.

Restoring Marbled Murrelets

Mature conifer forests along the Pacific Coast of Washington and Oregon are nesting grounds for a threatened seabird, the marbled murrelet. This species listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1997. It was only in 1974 that scientists learned that this secretive bird nests as far as 50 miles inland, usually 120 to 150 feet above the ground in large blocks of forests that have very large, tall trees with broad, deep crowns and multiple canopy layers. Forest roads, timber harvest, and other related activities have had a huge detrimental impact on the species

Defenders is pressing for permanent protection of state-managed forest land in Southwest Washington as part of the Long Term Conservation Strategy (LTCS) being developed by the State of Washington. The LTCS is a requirement of the Habitat Conservation Plan the state completed in 1997 in order to protect nesting habitat for the marbled murrelet. 

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