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PostThu Oct 24, 2019 4:32 pm 
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Thursday October 24, 2019 17:54 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Razor clam digs get go-ahead at Twin Harbors and Long Beach


OLYMPIA The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today that razor clam digging will move ahead at Twin Harbors and Long Beach this weekend, after tests revealed that shellfish from these coastal beaches are safe to eat.

Testing conducted by the Washington Department of Health (WDOH) on Thursday showed domoic acid levels were low enough for the digs to go ahead, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

"The health and safety of clam diggers is always our first concern, so we appreciate people's patience while we worked with our partners at WDOH to confirm that these clams are safe to eat," Ayres said. "We hope that everyone is able to get out and enjoy safe, productive digs at these beaches."

The upcoming digs are scheduled for the following days and low tides:

- Oct. 26, Saturday, 5:59 pm, 0.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

- Oct. 27, Sunday, 6:47 pm, -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

- Oct. 28, Monday, 7:33 pm, -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

- Oct. 29, Tuesday, 8:18 pm, -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

-Oct. 30, Wednesday, 9:03 pm, -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

- Oct. 31, Thursday, 9:50 pm, -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

- Nov. 1, Friday, 10:38 pm, -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

These digs join previously approved digs at Mocrocks and Copalis beaches beginning this weekend. Additional information on those digs can be found in the news release at https://wdfw.wa.gov/news/wdfw-announces-seven-days-digging-razor-clams-beginning-oct-26.

More information can be found on WDFW's razor clam webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

WDFW is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities.

-WDFW-

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostWed Oct 30, 2019 10:41 pm 
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Wednesday October 30, 2019 14:48 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW to use drone in Grant County waterfowl surveys


SPOKANE Biologists with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) plan to fly a drone over Game Reserve wetland habitat in Grant County this November and/or December.

These flights will test the capability and effectiveness of drones in detecting and recording imagery of waterfowl. If successful, they will be used to estimate abundance and species presence in dense vegetation. In the past, these surveys were carried out from fixed-wing planes, which is expensive and can be dangerous. Using a drone will reduce safety risks and conserve limited resources of time and funding.

Flights will occur before the end of December in the Frenchman, North Potholes, and/or Winchester Game Reserves; all areas where hunting is prohibited. Flights will most likely take place between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. and will depend on weather conditions, suitable flight conditions, and schedules. Flights will not take place in, or near, areas where hunting legally takes place and flying over private lands will be avoided when possible.

Waterfowl are valuable members of ecosystems, provide viewing and hunting recreation, and provide economic benefits statewide. The use of a drone is expected to provide high resolution photos and videos of them. Every effort will be made not to disturb birds with these flights. Harassment of wildlife with a drone is a violation of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), as is using drones to scout for wildlife for hunting purposes. Flight plans and procedures will be carried out in accordance with WDFW Policy and Procedures, and within FAA requirements for drone operation.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlifeis the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

-WDFW-

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Wednesday October 30, 2019 14:50 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Wolf post-recovery scoping public comment period extended two weeks


Your chance to comment on how Washington's gray wolves should be managed once they are no longer state-listed and where they are managed under state authority is being extended two weeks, until Nov. 15. This gives people more time to submit input, especially those in rural areas without internet service.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is using a multi-year State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process to develop a post-recovery wolf management and conservation plan. The plan development includes an extensive public outreach component. The public can provide input through 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15. After that, the next opportunity will be when WDFW drafts an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in late 2020 that evaluates actions, alternatives, and impacts related to long-term wolf conservation and management.

"The current plan the department uses to guide wolf conservation and management was started in 2007 and developed over five years specifically to inform wolf recovery. Because wolves are moving toward recovery in Washington, it is time to develop a new plan," said Julia Smith, WDFW wolf coordinator. "This is just the start of the process, so if you don't get your input to us by Nov. 15, there will be more opportunities in 2020."

Since 2008, the state's wolf population has grown an average of 28 percent per year. With a minimum of 126 individuals, 27 packs, and 15 successful breeding pairs during the last annual population survey, biologists are confident that Washington's wolf population is on a path to successful recovery. 

"Although it may be a few years before meeting wolf recovery goals, we want to proactively start the conversation about how we should conserve and manage wolves in Washington for the long-term in our state, post-recovery," said Smith.

More information, background, and frequently asked questions on wolf post-recovery planning is on the WDFW website.

An online survey and online commenting are available at wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/at-risk/species-recovery/gray-wolf/post-recovery-planning. There is also a comment form that can be printed and mailed to the Department or general comments can be sent through the U.S. Mail to Lisa Wood, SEPA/NEPA Coordinator, WDFW Habitat Program, Protection Division, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504. Comments submitted via mail must be postmarked by Nov. 15.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlifeis the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

-WDFW-

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Wednesday October 30, 2019 16:45 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Public comment extended on Cooke Aquaculture proposal to raise rainbow trout/steelhead in Washington waters


OLYMPIA The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today that it is extending a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) public comment period related to a proposal by Cooke Aquaculture to farm sterile (triploid) rainbow trout/steelhead in Puget Sound.

Earlier this month, WDFW posted a SEPA mitigated determination of non-significance regarding Cooke's proposal to transition from farming Atlantic salmon to farming steelhead in several of the company's existing facilities in Puget Sound.

The SEPA public comment period, which was originally scheduled to close on Oct. 22 before an initial 10-day extension, will now close at 5 p.m. on Nov. 22.

Cooke's proposal applies to four net pens currently operating near Rich Passage and Skagit Bay, but in the future may cover three more Puget Sound net pens owned by Cooke. Cooke submitted a five-year Marine Aquaculture permit application to WDFW in January of this year, and a SEPA checklist with supporting documents in July.

The extensions are meant to give the public ample time to review the proposal and submit comments, said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind.

"We know that there is significant public interest in this proposal," Susewind said. "We want to provide stakeholders with the best opportunity to make their voices heard in this process."

To submit comments and to view the determination and supporting documents, visit the SEPA documents available for public comment webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/environmental/sepa/open-comments. Only written comments will be considered.

WDFW is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities.

-WDFW-

--------------
"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostFri Nov 08, 2019 7:11 pm 
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Monday October 28, 2019 07:21 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW and partners release eight fishers in North Cascades; State, federal and non-profit partners take next step to restore elusive mammal once considered extinct in Washington


Darrington, WA State, federal, and partner biologists released eight fishers Thursday in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest as part of an effort to restore the species to Washington State.

The four female and four male fishers were captured in Alberta, Canada as part of a multi-year project to reintroduce approximately 80 fishers to the North Cascades. They underwent veterinary checkups at The Calgary Zoo and were equipped with radio transmitters to track their movements and population recovery over time.

This latest fisher release is part of an ongoing partnership led by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the National Park Service and Conservation Northwest to restore these elusive carnivores to Washington's Cascade Mountains and the Olympic Peninsula.

Fishers are a house cat sized member of the weasel family. They were eliminated from Washington by the mid-1900s as a result of both over-trapping and habitat loss, and are listed as Endangered by the state of Washington.

Fishers are related to wolverines and otters and are native to the forests of Washington, including the Cascade mountain range. Fishers prey on various smaller mammals mountain beavers, squirrels and snowshoe hares and fishers are one of the few predators of porcupines.

"Fishers are vulnerable, and we are working alongside partners, demonstrating creativity and persistence together to bring them back," said Kelly Susewind, WDFW Director. "Fisher restoration is a great example of how we work at this agency."

"Watching the fishers return to their native forests of North Cascades after a long absence has been inspiring," said Karen Taylor-Goodrich, North Cascades National Park Service Complex Superintendent. "The work just is not possible without the distinctive partnership between the federal government, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and conservation organizations like Conservation Northwest and The Calgary Zoo."

In addition to the releases in the North Cascades, fishers have been reintroduced in recent years on the Olympic Peninsula and near Mount Rainier in the South Cascades.

"Fisher reintroduction has been a model collaboration; a public-private partnership that has grown to include local communities, Indigenous nations, forestry and others," said Mitch Friedman, Executive Director of Conservation Northwest. "Everyone is pleased, except perhaps the porcupines and hares. It's inspiring to see more of these charismatic creatures returned to the Cascades, and exciting to consider the possibilities that collaborative conservation holds for Washington's natural heritage."

Conservation Northwest has coordinated work with trappers in Alberta to humanely acquire fishers for release, which are then health-screened and housed by The Calgary Zoo. The non-profit also supports fisher monitoring with volunteers and remote cameras through its Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project.

Fishers have been released in the North and South Cascades and on the Olympic Peninsula. Other release locations have included Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Mount Rainier National Park. Monitoring efforts show released animals have demonstrated signs of establishing themselves throughout the Olympic Peninsula and the southern Cascades, and that they have begun to reproduce.

Re-establishing viable populations of fishers in the Olympic and Cascade Mountains are important steps to down-listing the species in Washington State. The state recovery plan and implementation plan for fisher reintroduction in the Cascades can be found at: https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/pekania-pennanti#conservation.

A voluntary fisher conservation program (https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/pekania-pennanti#conservation) is available to private forest landowners that provides regulatory assurances should the species ever become listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. To date 60 landowners have enrolled 3.32 million acres in fisher conservation.

This work is supported by trappers, local native American tribes, and international partners like the Calgary Zoo and Canadian First Nations.

"As one of Canada's leading conservation charities, the Calgary Zoo is thrilled to bring our internationally recognized expertise in reintroduction science to such an important conservation initiative," said Dr. Clement Lanthier, president & CEO of the Calgary Zoo. "Reintroductions are one of the best tools we have in the fight against species loss and seeing these strong and healthy Alberta carnivores released into pristine forest habitat, is very rewarding."

Support and funding for fisher reintroductions comes from WDFW, NPS, Conservation Northwest, The Calgary Zoo, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, Washington's National Park Fund, Northwest Trek, Pittman-Robertson Funds and State Wildlife Grants, and State Personalized License Plates, among others.

-WDFW-

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Thursday October 31, 2019 15:55 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW recommends drivers take extra precautions to avoid deer collisions this November


OLYMPIA Sunday, Nov. 3, is the end of daylight saving time, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recommends that drivers take extra precautions to prevent deer vehicle collisions over the next month.

"Your risk of colliding with a deer on rural and suburban roads is much higher during November," said Brock Hoenes, WDFW deer and elk section manager.  "Deer have started their mating season so their behaviors and movements are atypical in ways that make them very risky for motorists. For example, deer are less afraid of crossing a roadway and may be oblivious of their need to evade an oncoming vehicle."

Here are four easy things that drivers can do to avoid animal collisions.

Slow down Higher speeds mean you have less time to react and a greater chance of animal collision. Pay attention to the deer crossing signs and stick to the posted speed limits.

Eyes on the road - Stay focused on the roadway and scan for hazards near forests and farms.

Use high beams, when appropriate Deer are most active in the evening and early morning hours. Using high beams when there are no oncoming vehicles will allow you more time to react to a deer or other obstacle in the road.

Brake for one animal and expect more Frequently, more than one deer will cross the road in quick succession. Don't assume that you're safe once a single animal passes.

According to a recent analysis of insurance claims by State Farm newsroom.statefarm.com/animal-collision/ the odds of a Washington driver hitting a deer, moose or elk was 1 in 258 for 2018-2019. Average costs to repair damage from a deer collision are more than $4,000 per incident. That damage estimate doesn't include the hassle, time, potential for injury, and stress that go along with colliding with a large animal.

Drivers can see where there have been deer-vehicle collisions by checking the attached map or visiting data.wa.gov/Natural-Resources-Environment/2016-2019-WDFW-Deer-and-Elk-Salvage-Permits/mcp7-tcwf. If users select the visualize option, they can view a statewide map. People submitted these reports to WDFW to salvage vehicle-killed animals.

In Washington, people can salvage and transport a deer or elk that is accidentally killed by a motor vehicle collision, except for any deer killed by a motor vehicle collision in Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum counties. Anyone who takes possession of a deer or elk carcass must get a free, printable permit at wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/roadkill-salvage within 24 hours. The permittee must then keep a hardcopy of the signed and dated salvage permit with the meat until they consume all the edible parts.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.

-WDFW-

--------------
"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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