Washington is one of the most ecologically rich places in America. The state is home to an incredible diversity of fish and wildlife, from the greater sage-grouse and pygmy rabbits that rely on the shrub-steppe habitats of the Columbia Plateau, to the songbirds and black bears that inhabit the mountain forests of the Cascades and Olympics; from the iconic salmon and steelhead that spawn in our rivers, to the shorebirds, sea otters, orcas, and fish that flourish off the coasts of Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean. Washington's unique array of habitats and the species they support are invaluable to our economy, culture, and quality of life, which is why restoring and protecting these precious resources have been important goals for Washingtonians.
Washington's ambitious Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS), which was developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as a framework for activities funded under the federal Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program and the State Wildlife Grants Program, provides a critical blueprint for achieving the goal of safeguarding our wildlife and natural habitats in the face of growing pressures from urban development, agriculture, industry, and invasive species.
Climate change is exacerbating and intensifying many of these existing problems and will result in new sets of impacts and stressors that pose a tremendous threat to the health of our ecological systems, even with aggressive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Accordingly, it is imperative that efforts to cope with climate change play an important role in the implementation of the CWCS as well as the Washington Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (WBCS) and other conservation strategies across the state and region.
Ideas for safeguarding Washington's fish and wildlife in an era of climate change.
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