Victory for wildlife in Snoqualmie Pass

last updated August 23, 2023

Hatcheries early victory - motion to dismiss

The state of Washington has invested millions of dollars in wildlife restoration efforts, including building highway crossings for wildlife like elk, deer, coyote, beaver, and bobcat, to pass under and over the 6-lane I-90 highway safely. Photo by Washington Department of Transportation.

Victory! Crag secured a victory protecting wildlife, fish habitat, and wetlands in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington. On behalf of our client Conservation NW and a local resident, Crag attorney Meriel Darzen and co-counsel Wyatt Golding filed a lawsuit in June 2023 to challenge a rezone that would open up 150 acres of sensitive habitat and migration corridor in the Pass to dense development. Today, the Washington Growth Management Hearings Board ruled that rezoning the property without a proper environmental review violated the Washington State Environmental Police Act (SEPA) and state laws protecting wetlands..

“This is a great victory for one of Washington’s special places – Snoqualmie Pass. In the last 20 years, the state and federal government and Tribes have invested millions in restoring and maintaining habitat in this critical watershed and migration corridor. Rezoning this area without any environmental analysis would have led to fragmentation of this sensitive habitat, hurting recovery efforts.” 

– Meriel Darzen, Crag Staff Attorney

What’s at stake

In the last 20 years, the State of Washington and its partners have spent millions of dollars to protect and enhance fish and wildlife habitat along I-90 highway. The Washington Department of Transportation built highway crossings for wildlife to pass under and over the 6-lane highway safely. In 2021 alone, wildlife including beaver, bobcat, coyote, deer, elk, crossed the highway over 4,400 times. We are fighting to keep this area protected forestland so these animals can continue to enjoy a safe habitat.

Meriel and co-counsel Wyatt Golding in front of the Gold Creek Critical Wildlife Corridor sign.

Photos of coyote, beaver, and baby white tailed deer by George Gentry from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service PNW, and Brent Lawrence from USFWS. License:

Team Effort

Crag Law Center attorney Meriel Darzen and Wyatt Golding of the Ziontz Chestnut law firm in Seattle co-counsel this case and represent Conservation NW and a local resident.

  • Conservation NW is a nonprofit conservation organization whose mission is to protect, connect, and restore wildlands and wildlife from the Washington Coast to the British Columbia Rockies. 

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