County authorizes first Habitat Conservation Plan acquisition of land for Tenino pocket gophers


The Board of County Commissioners approved on Tuesday, April 16, the purchase of a five-acre property for $149,500 so it could use the land for generating mitigation credits.

The property, currently owned by Daniel Lee Cooper, is located at 2644 Angus Road, near Old Highway 99, about three miles north of Tenino.

Senior Planner Andrew Deffobis explained that the county is buying the property so it can manage the land for prairie and wildlife habitat in accordance with its habitat conservation plan (HCP). Conserving the land would generate mitigation credits, which will be used to offset anticipated development in the area.

“This would be the first HCP acquisition within the Tenino pocket gopher service area and would put the county approximately two years ahead of projected demand in the area,” Deffobis said.

According to documents prepared for the meeting, the specific subspecies of the Mazama pocket gopher (Thomomys mazama) local to Tenino’s surrounding area have not yet been documented on the property. Still, they have been found on an adjacent property owned by Puget Sound Energy.

The conservation of the property may also lead to mitigation opportunities for the Taylor's checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha taylori) and the Oregon vesper sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus affinis).

Deffobis said that once the purchase agreement is closed, the county would have to draft conversation easements and develop a management plan and the related documents to prepare the future release of mitigation credits for the conservation of the site.


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  • bonaro

    How many land owners have suffered and realized losses as the result of gopher protection?

    This critter exists in several Counties but Thurston is the only one who crusades for it. Now they are buying property for gopher habitat that has no evidence of gopher presence. What good does this do other than creating another way to expend taxpayer money?

    Saturday, April 20 Report this

  • Southsoundguy

    We need more housing…for rodents!

    Saturday, April 20 Report this

  • JW

    The county and their precious gopher resulted in monetary and scheduling impacts for me and plenty of increased stress and turmoil to my family.

    I only wish my property actually had gophers because I'd relish the opportunity to trap them.

    Saturday, April 20 Report this

  • ChuckCross

    Insanity! Land owner D. L. Cooper can't, won't or isn't required to manage his land in accordance with the County HCP(habitat conservation plan). Our tax dollars have purchased Cooper's land, which has no verified gopher presence, to develop a management plan, conservation easements, plus documents, for release of mitigation credits!! Sounds like a cluster **** to me. Pass an ordinance resulting in our County purchasing land, to receive mitigation credits(!!), from some agency (the County??), so that future private development can happen in the future!! Our tax dollars continue to spin the merry-go-round.

    Sunday, April 21 Report this

  • Boatyarddog

    These land owner do not speak for the rest of for county.

    They have specific interest in their approach.

    Many in the County LOVE Habitat Preseveration.

    Maybe they Could complain about wasted Tax dollars to the Real Money Pits..

    Like The Port of Olympia.

    Any Conservation Plans WILL benefit future Generations.

    Good Job Commissioners

    Sunday, April 21 Report this

  • 52237123abc

    Agree with Chuck Cross!

    Monday, April 22 Report this

  • wildnature

    Agree with Boatyard Dog

    Monday, April 22 Report this

  • oldbaymare

    I just wonder what you plan to do about Mr. Cooper's uncle who owns the land next door and has turned it into a cesspool!! I hope you plan to stop him from using the land you purchased as a way to access the Fish & Wildlife land across the fence. He and his cronies have dumped garbage out there in the past and rod around in trucks etc. Have you actually looked at this property?

    I think you could have done better by investing in the schools or anything else. We are tired of hearing about these non-existent gophers that were not native to this area anyway! I'm with Mr. Cross on this one. I also do know from what I speak.

    Wednesday, April 24 Report this