Written by Luke Hollister

This article was originally published on The Wenatchee World website on 4/16/21.

The Chelan-Douglas Land Trust has entered into a conservation easement for 2,480 acres of working lands and habitat on Badger Mountain. The deal was announced Friday.

The easement will be “a good spot for sage grass for years to come,” said Land Trust Executive Director Curt Soper.

Soper said the arrangement with landowner Vernon Breiler will help protect a whole host of shrub-steppe wildlife, including all kinds of birds.

This easement permanently restricts certain uses on the land while setting up a conservation agreement to help protect the area, he said.

The Badger Mountain easement was sold to the Land Trust for an undisclosed amount and will prevent areas from being sectioned-off and developed.

The newly protected land covers a roughly 10-mile patch of sagebrush and grasses.

Mule deer and the greater sage-grouse both use habitat within the easement, according to a Land Trust news release. The sage grouse is a threatened species and has lost over 90% of its Washington habitat.

What remains of the sage-grouse population is primarily spread across Douglas County on privately owned land.

Breiler is a fourth-generation rancher who raises dryland crops on the land and maintains over half of the property, according to the news release.

Funding for the easement came from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, state Farmland Preservation program as well as donations from the Tina Scull Opportunity Fund.

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