Snow Mountain Ranch, November 9, 2019.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to host a virtual open house for residents of Yakima, Kittitas, Benton and Franklin counties  from 7-8 p.m. Monday.

Leadership from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Forterra will be on the call to join a discussion on the role of public lands for people and wildlife in the region. Those efforts to buy privately owned land from willing sellers help connect critical habitat and protect valuable ecosystems, creating greater resilience in the face of climate change.

Those acquisitions have also drawn some opposition from those concerned about the wildlife department not providing enough payment in lieu of taxes to counties, an ongoing issue in the state legislature.

Members of the public will be given the opportunity to ask questions about various conservation efforts and land purchases, including recent work to buy land west of Snow Mountain Ranch along the South Fork Cowiche Creek, where up to 2,000 elk migrate. To join the discussion, follow the links at wdfw.wa.gov or go to the Zoom call at https://zoom.us/j/92362051075.

Reach Luke Thompson at luthompson@yakimaherald.com and on Twitter: @luketscribe