Western Watersheds Project (WWP) works throughout eastern and central Washington to rein in livestock grazing on federal and state lands and to advocate for the protection of native wildlife. Eastern and central Washington’s shrub steppe is home to dwindling populations of pygmy rabbits and greater sage-grouse. These species are in precipitous decline due in large part to habitat loss and degradation caused by livestock grazing, weed introduction, soil disruption, habitat fragmentation, and fire among many other things. In 2021 sage grouse were up-listed and placed on the state endangered species list, recognizing the challenges that these birds face in Washington.
Wolves are establishing in Washington and despite the fact that they remain listed as state endangered species, they are regularly killed in response to livestock depredation incidents. The majority of these incidents take place in the steep, rugged, and heavily treed Colville National Forest of northeastern Washington. Cows are placed out on these forested public lands grazing allotments with few defenses and then wolves are killed when they attack cattle. WWP is actively engaged in the state’s rule-making process governing how wolf-livestock interactions are managed as well as working to eliminate cattle grazing on the Colville National Forest.
WWP is also engaged with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on numerous issues relating to wildlife management. We are working hard on removing livestock grazing from WDFW lands. WDFW is the only agency in the state with the direct mission to protect and conserve wildlife and this must take priority over continuing to allow livestock grazing on State Wildlife Areas. WWP is also engaged in efforts to transform WDFW and the Fish and Wildlife Commission into a modern, science-based agency that prioritizes conservation and preservation.