Forterra purchased 480 acres of forest habitat for permanent conservation on Dec. 11, 2011. The Mt. Amabilis property, located a few miles northeast of Easton in Kittitas County near the Shore of Kachess Lake, provides critical wildlife habitat and serves as an important piece of the long-range strategy to conserve habitat lands near the planned I-90 wildlife bridges.
Contributes to Habitat Goals of The Cascade Agenda
The acquisition was funded by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to compliment a habitat conservation plan on nearby lands. Forterra will own the land and the Washington Department of Natural Resources will hold a conservation easement on the property, ensuring the land will be permanently protected. Forterra will steward the land to maintain and enhance wildlife habitat values to support deer, elk, cougar, bear, bobcat and other species that use it as part of a key connectivity corridor through the central Cascades.
“Permanent conservation of the Mt. Amabilis property marks an important step forward in both our Cascade Agenda land conservation goals for the region and the effort to improve human and wildlife safety along the I-90 corridor,” said Gene Duvernoy, Forterra president.
“The Amabilis property is one of the first projects we have completed under our new name, Forterra,” Duvernoy continued. “It shows we not only are still doing core conservation work, but that we are succeeding at securing multiple goals critical to our region. Forterra continues our unwavering commitment to conserving the great lands of this region.”
The Cascade Agenda, the long-range action plan for the region’s lands and communities spearheaded by Forterra, aims to conserve almost 1.3 million acres of land. Projects like Mt. Amabilis are critical for meeting that goal.
Habitat Corridor to I-90 Wildlife Bridges
“The conservation of the Mt. Amabilis property adds significant protection to the habitat leading to the wildlife structures to be built in future phases along I-90 once funding is secured, increasing their effectiveness,” said Don Whitehouse, Regional Administrator for Washington Department of Transportation. “Forterra’s work is a great example of the partnerships we have established in this corridor and how we are working together to improve safe travel for both people and animals.”
The I-90 wildlife bridges project is part of Washington Department of Transportation’s plan to expand a 15-mile stretch of the highway between Hyak and Easton to reduce traffic problems and improve road conditions, freight mobility, safety and ecological connectivity. The wildlife bridges will allow animals to safely cross I-90. Forterra purchased the property from Merrill and Ring Forest Products for $1.37 million. Prior to the purchase, the company had divided the 480 acres into six parcels, which were being marketed for second home development.
With the Mt. Amabilis purchase, Forterra has conserved over 3,000 acres of wildlife habitat along this corridor over the past five years. The U.S. Forest Service and other agencies have also acquired property in the corridor to help serve wildlife and recreation needs.
About Forterra: Forterra fills a unique and important niche as the largest conservation and community building organization dedicated solely to this region. As a national leader, Forterra is shaping a future that will flourish environmentally and economically. We partner with thousands of leaders and residents across the region to create healthy, livable and prosperous communities. For over 20 years, Forterra has led efforts to conserve more than 173,000 acres of forests, farms, shorelines, parks and natural areas and restore critical landscapes.