Category: Wildlife Area Management
Published: November 2006
Author(s): Pete Lopushinsky and Leray Stream
The Colockum Wildlife Area was established in the mid 1950â€™s to provide and protect critical summer and winter range for deer and elk as well as to perpetuate and improve upland game bird habitat. The wildlife area is located in Central Washington, approximately 15 miles south of the city of Wenatchee in Chelan and Kittitas Counties. Of the 91,603 acres that make up the Colockum Wildlife Area, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) owns 46,019 acres. The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) owns 34,561 acres, which is interspersed in checkerboard fashion with WDFW lands. WDFW also manages 11,023 acres of U.S. Bureau of Land Management land through a memorandum of understanding. The property was purchased with funds from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Fund.
The primary management concerns and public issues identified in the Colockum Wildlife Area Plan are:
- Protecting and enhancing shrub-steppe, riparian and forest habitats.
- Maintaining fish and wildlife populations through habitat protection and enhancements.
- Monitoring and managing the impacts of public use on wintering elk.
- Providing public access compatible with fish, wildlife and habitat protection.
- Controlling noxious weeds such as knapweeds and thistles.
- Controlling trespass livestock grazing and damage to riparian areas.
- Using managed livestock grazing as a tool to manipulate habitat.
In 2006 WDFW continued efforts to improve habitats for big game through forage plantings, thinning overstocked timber stands, and ongoing weed control. An effort to monitor motor vehicle and public use was started with the purchase and installation of numerous car counters. Several miles of boundary fencing were built in problem areas and many miles of fence were maintained.
Projects planned for 2007 include removal of several stream-adjacent roads in Tekison and Stray Gulch, as well as removal of several stream diversions and culverts to improve fish passage and reduce entrapment. A major fertilization project is planned to enhance heavily used elk winter range. Monitoring of public use will continue. Measures to reduce harassment of wintering big game, such as restricting public access during the winter months in critical areas, are being considered. A proposal to trade lands to consolidate ownerships is also underway between WDFW and DNR. This exchange will redefine the Colockumâ€™s boundaries and enhance management efficiency.
Draft documents are provided for informational purposes only. Drafts may contain factual inaccuracies and may not reflect current WDFW policy.