FCCDContact: Jonathan Merz, District Manager
Tel: 509.630.1266
Email: jmerz@fostercreekcd.org
Address: PO Box 398 Waterville, WA 98858

Foster Creek Conservation District celebrates completion of General Conservation Plan

Preserving farmland and sage grouse habitat

Preserving farmland and sage grouse habitat

WATERVILLE – On October 26th, 2015, the Foster Creek Conservation District (FCCD) will hold a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the General Conservation Plan (GCP) for Douglas County — a collaborative resource management approach 17 years in the making. The GCP provides a process for farmers and ranchers to receive Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulatory assurances for certain agriculture activities, in return for implementing practices that conserve and protect four federally listed and unlisted wildlife species. The covered species include the endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit, the sage-grouse, the sharp-tailed grouse, and the Washington ground squirrel.

The celebration will take place at the NCW Fair Grounds, Waterville, WA. A two hour tour of sage-grouse habitat will take place at 9:00am. Lunch will be served at 12:00 pm, with the ceremony starting at 1:00 pm. The public is welcome to attend. Please RSVP by visiting the FCCD website (www.fostercreekcd.org) or contact FCCD at 509-888-6372.

After many years, and with the help of many people, the FCCD is proud to be the first conservation district in the nation to lead and complete a GCP. The district began planning in 1998 and worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop the final GCP. The land management guidance provided in the plan is designed to protect the four covered species over approximately 879,000 acres of private lands for the next 50 years. Farmers and ranchers are under no obligation to join the GCP, but if they don’t they will not receive the regulatory assurances available under the ESA.

The FCCD recognizes that rural agriculture lands in Douglas County are economically important and provide important habitat for rare species. The district also believes that farming, ranching, and rare species can coexist. The FCCD worked to develop a plan that continued agricultural opportunity and conserved species, and the GCP is the result of that planning.