Yakima Valley Audubon Society (YVAS) has recently submitted comments relating to two different issues of conservation concern:

  1. Comments to the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) relating to the Mitigated Determination of Non-significance (MDNS) for the proposed Goose Prairie Solar Project east of Moxee; and,
  2. Comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) relating to the proposed listing of the Mount Rainier subspecies of White-tailed Ptarmigan as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Goose Prairie Solar Project

YVAS expressed our general support for alternative energy generation projects, like this project. But YVAS support for this Goose Prairie Solar Project is contingent on the developer meeting the mitigation required by the MDNS to minimize negative impacts to birds and wildlife and sagebrush-steppe habitat in the development area, eight miles east of Moxee on the north side of Highway 24.

Here are four links to webpages showing YVAS comments, a Yakima Herald Republic article about the project, an EFSEC webpage showing the status of the environmental review for the project, and an EFSEC webpage with background information.

YVAS Comments on the Listing of Mount Rainier White-tailed Ptarmigan as Threatened under the Federal ESA: YVAS expressed our support for threatened species designation/listing under the Federal ESA for Mount Rainier White-tailed Ptarmigan. This is the subspecies of White-tailed Ptarmigan that is found in the Washington Cascades. YVAS has searched unsuccessfully for these Ptarmigans over the last 15 or more years, both on group outings and backpack trips and as individual trips into the Mount Adams and Goat Rocks Wilderness areas and the William O. Douglas and Norse Peak Wildernesses. It’s clear that climate warming and melting of alpine glaciers and snowfields in the southern Cascades have diminished the habitat these birds need to thrive and have pushed this bird towards complete extirpation from our local mountains. ESA listing is an important first step in protecting these birds.

Here is a link to our YVAS comment submitted August 10th to the USFWS:

Our YVAS comment tracking number is ks6-eo7q-v4ti

Mount Rainier White-Tailed Ptarmigan

On June 16, 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service applied to list the Mount Rainier White-Tailed Ptarmigan as a threatened species. They ‘live year-round on alpine mountaintops, and require a mix of specific moist alpine vegetation communities, rocks and nearby snow or water.’ The listing proposal is based on the decline and degradation of the birds’ alpine habitat due to climate warming ‘within the foreseeable future’. To see the listing press release, go to

The species’ range is in the Cascades Mountains of Washington State from Mount Adams northward into southern British Columbia. This pigeon-sized bird sometimes surprises alpine hikers by flushing from under their feet with a loud squawk. To find out more on the timeline for their predicted habitat loss, go to

Snag Conservation Working Group