WDFW Completes Eder Ranch Buy

The last part of what’s being called “literally the largest northernmost private holding of shrub-steppe habitat in the United States” was approved for purchase by Washington’s Fish & Wildlife Commission.

A short while ago, WDFW announced it had acquired the final 748 acres of the Eder Ranch in northern Okanogan County, the last part of a project to secure the 5,738-acre property just east of Oroville.

The ranch belonged to Charles and Sally Eder. The asking price for the last jag was $565,000. Funds came from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.

The overall buy provides linkage for shrub-steppe habitat on both sides of the border and protects vulnerable land from development, WDFW says.

“This habitat type is under extreme development pressures on both sides of the lntemational boundary. Along with significant white-tail and mule deer winter range protection, this propertyhas habitat for shrub-steppe obligates, such as sharp-tailed grouse, long-billed curlews, burrowing owls, sage thrasher, loggerhead shrike, Brewer’s sparrow, lark sparrow, sage sparrow, pygmy short homed lizard, desert night snake, spadefoot toad, and pallid
bat.”

Just to the east of the ranch, the land has been subdivided into many smaller parcels.

Of note to hunters, since 2007, WDFW has conducted an annual midsummer raffle to allow a very limited number of riflemen, archers and muzzleloaders to chase deer on the ranch.

PART OF THE EDER RANCH, EAST OF OROVILLE AND NOW OWNED BY WDFW. (WDFW)

The agency began acquiring the ranch in June 2007 with a grant from BPA which allowed for purchase of 3,300 acres.  WWRP funded another 1,692-acre buy in December 2008.

The last 748 acres have also been reserved as “life estates” for the lifetime of the Eders and their children.

The area will be managed as part of WDFW’s Scotch Creek Wildlife Area.

The Commission also approved the purchase of a 448-acre conservation easement on the Hundley property along the Yakima River in Kittitas County to protect riparian habitat used as a migratory corridor for elk, deer and other wildlife.

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