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PostThu Oct 24, 2019 5:32 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 have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostWed Oct 30, 2019 11:41 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-

=========================================================

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-

==========================================================

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 8:11 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-

==========================================================

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-

--------------
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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostSun Dec 01, 2019 1:42 pm 
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Monday November 18, 2019 09:56 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Draft plan released to restore Chehalis River basin habitat
Public invited to weigh in on proposed aquatic species restoration plan


Contacts:
Emelie McKain, Chehalis Basin Aquatic Species Restoration Plan Manager, 360-810-0473
Rachel Blomker, Communications, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 360-701-3101, @WDFW
Curt Hart, Communications, Washington Department of Ecology, 360-407-6944, @ecologyWA

CHEHALIS – During the past 30 years, salmon runs have declined 80% in southwest Washington’s Chehalis River basin due to habitat degradation, development, and climate change. By the end of the century, the basin’s spring chinook salmon could become functionally extinct, with fish numbers dropping too low to sustain the population.

But scientists, researchers, and technical experts have developed a draft aquatic species restoration plan designed to protect and restore salmon and other native aquatic species in the Chehalis basin’s 3,400 miles of perennial streams and rivers.

The public is invited to review and comment on the draft restoration plan now through Jan. 14, 2020 at http://chehalisbasinstrategy.com/asrp/asrp-phase-i-draft-plan/.

“The Chehalis basin is one of the state’s only major river systems with no salmon species listed as threatened or endangered,” said Emelie McKain, the basin’s aquatic restoration plan manager for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We want to keep it that way by restoring and protecting their habitat.”

McKain said the basin is also home to Washington’s largest diversity of amphibians such as frogs and salamanders, including the federally-threatened Oregon spotted frog.

Aside from lost and degraded habitat, climate change is causing more frequent and intense storms that scour aquatic habitat in the basin while droughts are becoming more common during the summer, keeping stream flows low and raising seasonal water temperatures to levels that can threaten salmon and other native aquatic species.

The science-based draft restoration plan—with the voluntary cooperation of willing landowners—identifies potential actions that offer the best chance to:

Support healthy, harvestable salmon populations.
Build robust, diverse populations of other native fish and aquatic species.
Foster productive ecosystems more resilient to climate change and human-caused stressors.
The team of technical experts from the Quinault Indian Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, Washington departments of Fish and Wildlife and Ecology, and other entities who developed the draft plan worked with local farmers, foresters, and conservationists, other state and federal agencies, and local governments.

The team and the Chehalis Basin Board will use public comments to inform future phases of the plan’s development and implementation. The board was established by the state legislature to provide long-term oversight of the Chehalis Basin Strategy.

The Strategy is an ambitious collection of potential actions designed to improve and restore aquatic species habitat now and for future generations, while also making the basin a safer place for families and communities affected by flooding.

Ecology’s Office of Chehalis Basin administers legislative funding to put the combined fish and flood strategy in place and works closely with the board, local government representatives from Grays Harbor, Lewis, and Thurston counties, the Chehalis and Quinault Indian tribes, basin farmers and other landowners, and local conservation and salmon recovery entities. More information about the Chehalis Basin Strategy is available at https://ecology.wa.gov/About-us/Get-to-know-us/Our-Programs/Office-of-Chehalis-Basin/Strategy.

-WDFW-

==========================================================

Monday November 18, 2019 15:36 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Celebration to mark first barrier removed to help salmon migrate upstream


Contacts:
Susan Zemek, Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, 360-902-3081
Rachel Blomker, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 360-701-3101

OLYMPIA – Coho salmon will have an easier time swimming up the Middle Fork of the Newaukum River near Chehalis this fall, thanks to a project funded by the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board. This is the first two miles of more than 201 miles of streams slated to open across the state after barriers to fish passage are removed.

The expanded habitat in the Middle Fork of the Newaukum River marks the first completed project of the board’s $46.2 million investment in more than 69 projects statewide since the board was created in 2014. Of those projects, 47% will open access for migrating chinook salmon, a critical part of the southern resident orca diet. Projects are funded and planned in 20 counties across the state, with the next few wrapping up in Asotin and Clallam counties later this year.

In partnership with the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the board funds corrections to culverts, which are large pipes or other structures that carry streams under roads. Culverts are the most common barriers to migrating fish because they can be too high for fish to reach, too small to handle large and fast river flows, or too steep for fish to swim through.

“This first project is an incredible achievement for the board, the people of Washington, and our environment,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. “In addition to improving access for fish, these projects also will enhance the roads that cross over them, support public safety, and protect our communities from flooding.”

“The projects funded by the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board are building on previous fish passage investments by local governments, landowners, and the Washington State Department of Transportation,” said Tom Jameson, WDFW fish passage manager and chair of the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board. “We appreciate the Legislature’s continued support of these salmon and orca recovery efforts.”

Created by the Legislature in 2014, the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board coordinates the removal of barriers that block salmon and steelhead from reaching prime spawning and rearing habitat on state, local, tribal and private land. Funding comes from the sale of state bonds.

The board is named after Brian Abbott, who was a life-long fisherman, avid salmon recovery leader, and spearheaded creation of the board while serving as executive coordinator of the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office.

Other board members include representatives from the Washington Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources, Washington State Association of Counties, Association of Washington Cities, the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the salmon recovery Council of Regions.

-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 Dec 06, 2019 2:40 pm 
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Wednesday, December 4, 2019 15:42 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW seeks applicants for positions on waterfowl advisory group


OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking applicants to serve on a Waterfowl Advisory Group, a citizen advisory group that advises the department on waterfowl management issues.

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind will appoint members to the Waterfowl Advisory Group for three-year terms beginning Feb.1, 2020.

"We're looking for several new candidates, with diverse backgrounds, who can effectively present their views on waterfowl management to WDFW and the public," said Kyle Spragens, WDFW waterfowl section manager. "This group provides important input on hunting regulations, hunter access programs, and state duck stamp wetland enhancement projects."

The application deadline is Jan. 3 at 5 p.m. To apply, fill out the application at wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/wfag.

"We carefully consider recommendations from our advisory groups," said Anis Aoude, WDFW game division manager. "We value the experience that long-standing members bring to the table, and we want advisory groups to represent the diversity of interests that Washingtonians have about wildlife management statewide."

Candidates can submit applications to Kyle Spragens, via email at Kyle.Spragens@dfw.wa.gov or via regular mail at:

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
P.O. Box 43141
Olympia, WA 98504

For more information, contact Kyle Spragens at (360) 902-2522.

The Waterfowl Advisory Group holds at least one single day meeting each year. Members are eligible to be reimbursed by WDFW for travel expenses to attend meetings.

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.

Contact: Kyle Spragens, 360-902-2522
Sam Montgomery, 360-688-0721

-WDFW-

==========================================================

Thursday December 5, 2019 09:09 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Asotin County’s Cougar Creek Road to be closed annually December through March


ASOTIN –Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW), in cooperation with the Asotin County Road Department, is in the process of installing a vehicle gate on Cougar Creek Road near where it intersects with Grande Ronde Road.

Once installed, the gate will be closed annually from Dec. 1 to March 31, the same as other winter gate closures in the area and annual closures on the Asotin Creek Wildlife area. A combination lock will secure the gate, and the combination provided to owners of private properties behind it.

The purpose of the gate is to limit vehicle access to Cougar Creek Road to protect big game during crucial winter months. Elk and deer are particularly vulnerable in cold weather when their fat and energy supplies are extremely low. Annual surveys have shown that area elk populations have declined by up to 25% since the winter of 2017-2018.

During this same period, there has been an increase in vehicle traffic due to the surge in popularity of wintertime recreational antler hunting. While there is not a direct correlation between an increase in human presence in the area and lower elk populations numbers, human disturbance can cause animals to move more than usual, which burns energy reserves that are already in short supply in the winter.

The road closure will also reduce wear and tear on the road, which is soft and susceptible to damage during cold weather months.

-WDFW-

--------------
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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostTue Dec 10, 2019 1:45 pm 
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Tuesday December 11, 2019 10:55 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW Director Susewind invites public to Dec. 16 online open house


Contact: Nate Pamplin, 360-584-7033
Public Affairs: Carrie McCausland, 360-890-0996

OLYMPIA – Kelly Susewind, director of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will host an online, virtual open house on Monday, Dec. 16 to give the public a chance to ask questions and gain information about department policies and direction.

“This is a chance to hear from those who aren’t always able to attend our in-person events and meetings,” said Susewind. “Getting this feedback is incredibly helpful. We learn about what’s on people’s minds and how we can enhance their lives through our work while participants get answers to the things that matter most to them.”

Director Susewind will be joined by wildlife, fish, law enforcement, and habitat leadership. He and his staff will kick off the online event with a brief update on the upcoming legislative season and department budget challenges, current conservation efforts, partner collaborations, efforts to enhance public service, and the department’s work to develop a strategic plan.

The online webinar starts at 6:30 p.m. The public can go to https://player.invintus.com/?clientID=2836755451&eventID=2019121004 during the event to watch and submit questions. After the event, the digital open house video will remain available for viewing from the agency’s website, wdfw.wa.gov.

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-

--------------
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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostThu Dec 12, 2019 2:40 pm 
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I have created a separate thread for this particular project HERE

Thursday December 12, 2019 08:53 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW invites public comments on 18 land conservation projects


Contacts:
Cynthia Wilkerson, Lands Division Manager, 360-902-2696
Julie Sandberg, Real Estate Manager, 360-902-8149

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is inviting public comments on 18 strategic land conservation projects that would protect fish, wildlife, and public access to the great outdoors. Next steps include seeking funding sources for these projects including state Recreation and Conservation Office grants and federal grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Conservation projects proposed by the department range from habitat protection and restoration opportunities on the Union River Estuary in Mason County to establishing public boating access on Chapman Lake in Spokane County. Descriptions of all proposed projects are available on the department’s land acquisition webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/wdfw-lands/land-acquisitions.

The department will accept written comments through Jan. 3, 2020. People who would like to submit comments can send them by email to lands@dfw.wa.gov or mail them to: Real Estate Services, PO Box 43158, Olympia, WA 98504.

"This is an opportunity to comment on proposals in the early stages of our strategic thinking," said Cynthia Wilkerson, WDFW lands division manager. “Our goal is to protect land and water for people and wildlife throughout the state while preserving natural and cultural heritage.”

The department owns or manages about one million acres statewide, with 33 wildlife areas and nearly 500 water access areas around the state. These public lands help sustain wildlife habitat and public recreation opportunities for current and future generations.

-WDFW-

I have created a separate thread for this particular project HERE

--------------
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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostSun Dec 15, 2019 1:38 pm 
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Friday December 13, 2019 16:12 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW seeks comment on draft recovery plan and periodic status review for the Mazama Pocket Gopher


Contacts:  Hannah Anderson (360) 902-8403;
Jason Wettstein (360) 902-2254

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is taking public input on its draft recovery plan and its recommendation to keep the Mazama Pocket Gopher on the state's threatened species list.

The Mazama Pocket Gopher, a small burrowing animal, inhabits prairie habitats of Thurston, Pierce and Mason counties and sub-alpine areas of Olympic National Park.

WDFW prepares recovery plans to guide conservation and recovery efforts and periodically reviews the status of protected species in the state.

Pocket gophers play an important role in ecological communities, providing benefits for soil structure and soil chemistry, serving as prey for many predators, and providing burrows that are used by a wide variety of other species.

Mazama Pocket Gophers (Thomomys mazama) were formerly more widespread on south Puget Sound prairies, but their distribution has diminished due to habitat loss and degradation.

The species was listed as threatened in Washington State by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in 2006. In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed four subspecies of Mazama Pocket Gopher as threatened and designated critical habitat.

The draft state recovery plan and first periodic status review for the Mazama Pocket Gopher identifies recovery goals, specifies population targets, and outlines recovery strategies and tasks. The document also provides an update on the species' status based on recent research and monitoring.

The draft recovery plan and periodic status review on the Mazama Pocket Gopher is available online. The public can provide comments on the draft through Friday, March 15, 2020.

WDFW staff members are tentatively scheduled to discuss the periodic status review with the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at its April 2020 meeting. Meeting dates and times are listed on the commission webpage.

Written comments on the review and recommendation can be submitted via email to TandEpubliccom@dfw.wa.gov or by mail to Hannah Anderson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, P.O. Box 43141, Olympia, WA 98504-3200.

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. The agency works to keep common species common and restore species of greatest conservation need.

-WDFW-

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PostFri Dec 27, 2019 1:42 pm 
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Friday December 27, 2019 12:19 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Morse Creek Unit near Port Angeles is closed until May 31, 2020


OLYMPIA – The 133-acre Morse Creek Unit, located three miles east of Port Angeles, is closed until May 31, 2020 to address chronic public safety issues.

Brian Calkins, Coastal (Region 6) wildlife program manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the Morse Creek Unit has become a popular site for illegal camping and trash dumping. People camping at the site have damaged important wildlife habitat by cutting trees, digging holes, and clearing brush to build temporary structures.

“We need to close the Morse Creek Unit to assist law enforcement efforts and remove illegal campsites that are impacting legitimate public use of the site,” said Calkins. “We may consider a longer closure of the site, but we would first go through a formal public review process before making that change.”

The Morse Creek Unit is most commonly used by hikers and wildlife watchers, and is part of the North Olympic Wildlife Area. WDFW acquired the 133-acre unit in 2002 to protect habitat for salmon and other wildlife.

The North Olympic Wildlife Area consists of 11 units in Clallam and Jefferson counties, and spans approximately 1,310 acres of managed land. It contains a mix of estuarine, riverine, wetland, oak-prairie, and mixed forest habitats that support a diversity of wildlife, from big and small game species to songbirds, as well as native and federally endangered fish populations.

WDFW actively manages approximately 1 million acres of land and over 500 water access areas across the state to preserve natural and cultural heritage, provide access for hunting, fishing, and wildlife-related recreation, and to foster experiences and exploration for thousands of Washingtonians and visitors each year.

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

Contacts: Brian Calkins, 360-249-1222; Rachel Blomker, 360-701-3101

-WDFW-

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PostSat Jan 04, 2020 10:23 am 
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Monday December 30, 2019 09:04 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW uses drone to collect habitat restoration project data in Clark County


OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will fly a drone over a section of the Lower Columbia River and adjacent off-channel habitat to collect information to support river restoration work.

"The drone will collect images and videos of the South Bachelor Island Reconnection Project in Clark County," said George Fornes, WDFW biologist. "We recently completed work to reconnect off-channel wetland habitat to restore access for juvenile salmon."

Periodic monitoring will begin the first week of January 2020 and continue through January 2030. WDFW anticipates approximately two flights per year with about three days per event. Staff will time flights to capture current conditions in January 2020, periods of low flow in late August through early October, and during high-water events.

WDFW excavated a 100-ft wide, half mile-long channel, and used some of the dredged material to create shallow water habitat along the margin of the river. Drones allow WDFW staff to monitor changes to the wetland reconnection to determine that it functions properly.

"With these drone flights, we're hoping to better understand where we can place sand dredged from the Columbia River navigation channel to create the least impact to fish and other aquatic species," said Nicole Czarnomski, Lower Columbia habitat restoration program manager for WDFW. "When we're able to collect images by drone, we can monitor river restoration projects safely and efficiently – this work might not be possible otherwise."

Staff will fly drones between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for approximately 30 to 60 minutes over 2,000 feet of South Bachelor Island upstream of the confluence of the Lake and Columbia rivers in Clark County.

-WDFW-

=========================================================

Monday December 30, 2019 14:46 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Record year for Washington in the prevention of aquatic invasive species


OLYMPIA – Boaters helped the state celebrate a record year for efforts to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species into Washington's waterways, including zebra and quagga mussels, aquatic plants, and fish and amphibian diseases. Aquatic invasive species invade ecosystems beyond their natural historic range, and can negatively impact water quality, power and irrigation systems, native wildlife, and recreational opportunities.

In 2019, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) inspected more than 32,000 watercrafts, a 31% increase from 2018. About one third of inspected watercrafts came from known infested waters in other states. WDFW detected 18 vessels carrying invasive mussels and 1,200 vessels that failed to meet the clean – drain – dry requirements.

"We're at an all-time high in our efforts to prevent the spread of invasive mussels and other aquatic invasive species that can hitch a ride on boats and trailers into our state," said Captain Eric Anderson, WDFW's aquatic invasive species enforcement manager. "We couldn't do this prevention work without the help of incredible regional partners in our neighboring states - and of course, the public. This isn't just a win for invasive species prevention, it's beneficial to the entire Pacific Northwest."

Quagga and zebra mussels can clog pipes and mechanical systems of industrial plants, utilities, locks, and dams. If invasive mussels take hold in Washington, officials estimate it would cost more than $100 million each year to keep Washington's power and water infrastructure running, in addition to causing catastrophic ecological damage.

In addition to watercraft inspections, WDFW took more than 3,500 early detection monitoring samples at 118 water bodies across the state this year. The surveys were primarily conducted to detect zebra and quagga mussels, but some surveys and samples also tested for the presence of environmental DNA of other invasive species such as New Zealand mudsnails and Northern pike.

"Early detection monitoring is the next line of defense for identifying invasions early and preventing invasive species from establishing populations," said Allen Pleus, aquatic invasive species unit manager for WDFW. "And the aquatic invasive species fight requires a broad range of management planning and actions to be successful."

WDFW and partners used data from watercraft inspections and water surveys to produce a risk analysis of Washington's waters that will efficiently direct future invasive species monitoring to the most susceptible lakes, reservoirs, and rivers.

The state also ramped up its efforts to prepare for a possible invasive mussel infestation with a first-of-its-kind mock exercise alongside state, federal, and tribal governments. The exercise, which took place in Kettle Falls, WA in October, included deploying and testing a containment system, boat inspections, public notifications, a decontamination station, shoreline surveys by trained mussel-sniffing dogs, and in-water monitoring by skilled divers and scientists.

"It just goes to show that when we invest in invasive species prevention and control, we're able to do more to keep our state, communities, environment, and economy safe from harmful pests," said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. "Efforts like the ones that worked well this year will need continued support."

This year's record-setting efforts in expanding inspections, monitoring, and rapid response capacity were made possible by several federal grants from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation that were instrumental in leveraging and enhancing state funds received from aquatic invasive species fees on annual recreational boater registrations.

How Boaters Can Help

Clean: When leaving the water, clean all equipment that touched the water by removing all visible plants, algae, animals, and mud. This includes watercraft hulls, trailers, shoes, waders, life vests, engines, and other gear.

Drain: Pull your plug or otherwise drain any accumulated water from watercraft or gear, including live wells and bilge, before leaving the water access area.

Dry: If transporting watercraft from outside Washington State, clean and drain everything before starting the journey. Once home, let all gear dry fully before using it in a different water body.

Avoid Fines: The penalty for transporting aquatic invasive species in Washington State can range from a $95 fine to a class C felony. Boat owners should call the Aquatic Invasive Species hotline at 1-888-WDFW-AIS (1-888-933-9247) before their trips for guidance on if they need free decontaminations for their boats or trailers.

WDFW also reminds operators of watercraft not registered in Washington State, seaplanes, and commercial transporters of specified vessel types, that they must buy an Aquatic invasive species prevention permit. These permits are valid for one year and may be purchased for $24 online or from any of WDFW's authorized license dealers.

For more information on aquatic invasive species in Washington, visit the WDFW website.

-WDFW-

=========================================================

Thursday January 2, 2020 16:19 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW to use helicopters to capture mule deer


SPOKANE- Starting in early January, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will conduct mule deer captures from helicopters in three study areas along the east slope of the Cascades in Okanogan, Chelan, and Kittitas counties.

The Department will use contracted professional crews to capture approximately 50 adult female mule deer in each area. Humane methods and experienced crews are used to make the captures as safe as possible for both deer and humans.

The deer will be fitted with GPS/satellite collars so wildlife managers can track them to evaluate movement and migration patterns and learn more about habitat use of the populations. Each animal will be collared and released at the site where they are captured. The collars are programmed to remain on the deer for four years before dropping off.

The studies in Chelan and Kittitas counties are funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. They are part of a major collaboration between the U.S. Department of the Interior and WDFW. Captures and collaring in Okanogan County are part of an ongoing collaboration between WDFW and the University of Washington called the Washington Predator-Prey Project that is studying interactions between mule deer and large carnivores in the Methow watershed.

"The information gained from these studies will be used to assess the movements of each population and help prioritize habitat conservation and management efforts in eastern Washington," said Sara Hansen, WDFW Deer Specialist.

Mule deer have lost winter habitat in recent years along the lower elevations of the east slope of the Cascades due to human development. This could impact mule deer populations in the long term.

Captures are scheduled to begin in Okanogan County the first week of January and continue south as work is completed in each study area.

Mule deer are broadly distributed in Washington from the crest of the Cascade Mountains east to the Idaho border, providing hunting and viewing opportunities for thousands of people each year.

-WDFW-

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PostWed Jan 08, 2020 1:32 pm 
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Tuesday January 7, 2020 16:14 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Genetic testing confirms first case of white-nose syndrome in a fringed myotis bat


OLYMPIA – White-nose syndrome, an often-fatal disease of hibernating bats, has been confirmed for the first time in a fringed myotis (Myotis thysanodes) in King County, Washington. This finding brings the total number of bat species confirmed with the disease in North America to 13.

First seen in North America in 2006 in eastern New York, white-nose syndrome is a fungal disease that has killed millions of hibernating bats in eastern North America and has now spread to 33 states and seven Canadian provinces. The disease does not affect humans, livestock, or other wildlife.

The disease is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which attacks the skin of hibernating bats and damages their delicate wings, making it difficult to fly. Infected bats often leave hibernation too early, which causes them to burn through their fat reserves and become dehydrated or starve to death.

The Cedar River Education Center near North Bend reported a dead bat outside its facility in April 2017. A biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) retrieved the dead bat and did a field test using Ultraviolet (UV) light to detect the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. Under UV light, bats with white-nose syndrome usually have an orange glow on their wings.

The bat was later confirmed to have white-nose syndrome by the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. To identify the bat species, the Northern Arizona University's Bat Ecology and Genetic Lab tested the bat using a genetic method than can identify 92% of the world's bat species. Although the results did not show a conclusive identification, scientists were able to narrow it down to two closely-related bat species – long-eared myotis and fringed myotis.

"With the possibility of a new bat species affected by white-nose syndrome, we explored ways to confirm the species using additional genetic testing," said Abby Tobin, white-nose syndrome coordinator for WDFW. "Fortunately, our partners at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, WI stepped up to the challenge."

Jeff Lorch, a microbiologist at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, used nuclear DNA testing to confirm the bat as a fringed myotis in December 2019.

"There are two parts of a cell that carry DNA – the nucleus and the mitochondria," said Lorch. "Most bat genetic testing has used mitochondria DNA, which does not allow us to distinguish the long-eared bat from the fringed bat. By using nuclear DNA, we were able to get more accurate results."

Fringed bats are widely dispersed in dry forests throughout western North America from Mexico to British Columbia. However, there is a lack of data on the bat's population size, health trends, or where they hibernate in winter.

"Tracking white-nose syndrome and its effects on bat populations is challenging when little is known about bats in Washington, and this species in particular," said Tobin. "The confirmation of white-nose syndrome in another bat species is a reminder of how much we still have to learn about this devastating disease."

In 2016, scientists first documented white-nose syndrome in Washington near North Bend in King County. Since then, WDFW has confirmed 46 cases of the disease and/or the fungus in four bat species in the state. A timeline of fungus and white-nose syndrome detections in Washington is available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/bats.

WDFW staff urge people to not handle wild animals, and to not touch bats that appear sick or are found dead. Even though the fungus is primarily spread by bats themselves, humans can unintentionally spread it as well. People can carry fungal spores on clothing, shoes, or recreation equipment that touches the fungus.

Those who find sick or dead bats, or notice bats acting strangely, such as flying outside during the day or in freezing weather, can report their sighting online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/bats or call WDFW at 360-902-2515. WDFW also seeks reports of groups of healthy bats.

To learn more about the disease and the national white-nose syndrome response, and to get the most updated decontamination protocols and other guidance documents, visit www.whitenosesyndrome.org.

For more information on Washington bats, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/living/species-facts/bats.

-WDFW-

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PostSun Jan 12, 2020 2:15 pm 
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Friday January 10, 2020 14:17 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Fisher reintroduction goals met with release of four fishers at Mount Rainier National Park
Latest release marks culmination of multi-year partnership between state, federal and non-profit organizations to restore elusive mammal to Washington


Mount Rainier National Park, WA – State, non-profit and federal biologists released four fishers today in the Nisqually River watershed of Mount Rainier National Park. Overall, the partnership led by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the National Park Service (NPS), and Conservation Northwest has now met their goal of releasing more than 250 fishers in the Cascade Range and Olympic Peninsula, completing the final phase of a reintroduction program that began in 2008.

Fishers, a housecat-sized member of the weasel family, were eliminated from Washington by the mid-1900s through over-trapping and habitat loss. They have been listed as a state-endangered species since 1998.

Experts working on the Washington State Fisher Recovery Plan (wdfw.wa.gov/publications/00228) determined that a self-sustaining population was not likely to become re-established in the state without human intervention and that reintroductions were the only means of recovery in western Washington.

The return of fishers to the Cascade Range marks a significant turnabout after their loss from the region for some 75 years.

Since 2008, state, federal, and partner biologists have released 85 fishers in the North Cascades region, 90 on the Olympic Peninsula, and 81 in the South Cascades, a significant step toward recovering the species in Washington.

"Our work this year represents progress in the collective effort to recover fishers in Washington," said WDFW biologist Jeff Lewis. "People have been working tirelessly to restore this mysterious and rare carnivore to the Cascades, and now that reintroductions are complete, we think it's likely that fishers will continue to settle into the recovery areas, find mates, and provide the foundation for a large, healthy population in Washington."

Follow-up monitoring via cameras and hair snare stations will be deployed over several years allowing partners to track re-establishment and recovery in Washington, he adds.

The public can also add their observations and sightings of fishers via WDFW's wildlife observations webpage (wdfw.wa.gov/get-involved/report-observations) .

A video produced earlier this year by WDFW (www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i-w5koqRuE) documents the third fisher reintroduction of the season in the North Cascades and provides additional information about fisher recovery in Washington.

This year's fisher releases continue the work of a broad public-private collaboration aimed to down-list and ultimately recover the species in Washington. Numerous First Nations and American Indian tribal partners provided crucial support throughout the life of the project. The first and final releases of fishers in the South Cascades occurred in the Nisqually Indian Tribe's Designated Use Area in Mount Rainier National Park.

"By restoring fishers to Washington State, we're restoring both our natural and cultural heritage for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations," said Tara Chestnut, Mount Rainier National Park ecologist.

In addition to state, federal, nonprofit, tribal, and international partner organizations, 58 private landowners with 3.03 million acres of forest have joined voluntary Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA) that provide important habitat for fisher reintroduction and recovery efforts.

The fishers released in Washington were humanely live-trapped in Canada with coordination by Conservation Northwest (conservationnw.org/the-fisher-journey) and with support from The Calgary Zoo, local trappers, First Nations, Canadian Provincial Ministries, and veterinarians.

Fishers released on the Olympic Peninsula and in the South Cascades originally came from British Columbia. After large fires there in 2017, fisher acquisition shifted to Alberta, where their population is robust. Obtaining fishers from two separate source populations is expected to boost genetic diversity in the reintroduced population.

"Our Canadian partners have been vital to the success of this effort, and we deeply appreciate their support," said Dave Werntz, Conservation Northwest Science and Conservation Director. "We've got a great team up north, and they really care a lot about the animals, our restoration goals, and the scientific information that this collaborative restoration project is generating."

-WDFW-

==========================================================

Friday January 10, 2020 15:44 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW asks for public's help reporting empty net pen structure in stormy southwest Washington waters


OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) was working Friday to locate and retrieve an empty net pen structure that came unmoored along the Columbia River one day earlier, but severe weather was hampering search efforts.

WDFW is asking the public to report any sightings of the net pen structure.

The net pen frame has not contained any fish since 2018, and has no netting or mesh attached to the structure. It is not considered to be a threat to fish or wildlife. If intact, the structure should be visible above the waterline.

The WDFW-owned, empty net pen frame was first spotted in the Columbia River around 2 p.m. Thursday. WDFW staff determined it had originated near the Cathlamet Marina, where it had been moored since 2018. It was last spotted by WDFW staff near Chinook, Washington shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday.

WDFW was able to launch a vessel from Cape Disappointment to search for the net pen Thursday evening, but called off the search around 8 p.m. due to inclement weather and darkness. WDFW also requested help from the Coast Guard and asked the commercial crabbing fleet to report any sightings of the net pen structure.

It's possible that the net pen structure may be caught in a side channel, or has moved offshore, said WDFW Enforcement Capt. Dan Chadwick.

Chadwick also said that stormy weather along the Columbia River and Washington coast was hampering the search Friday.

"Today, we've been restricted to shore-based search efforts," Chadwick said. "Due to safety concerns, we haven't been able to search via boat."

WDFW is developing plans to respond and recover the empty net pen structure if it's spotted or washed ashore. Anyone who sees the empty net pen structure should call Chadwick at 360-581-3337.

The structure is approximately 90 feet long by 60 feet wide. It is an array of eight individual pens lashed together, and is made primarily of PVC or HDPE piping, with wooden decking around the outer perimeter.

WDFW is investigating how the empty net pen frame became unmoored.

-WDFW-

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PostTue Jan 14, 2020 12:03 am 
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Monday January 13, 2020 16:35 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Commission to discuss whale entanglements, Willapa Bay and Puget Sound salmon management at January meeting


OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider ways to reduce the risk of whale entanglements at its January meeting, as well as hear updates on forest restoration projects, Willapa Bay salmon policy, and a long-term plan for Puget Sound Chinook salmon management.

The Commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will meet Jan. 16-18 in room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia. The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Individual committee meetings will be held Thursday from 1-6:30 p.m. in room 175 A & B.

Commissioners are expected to decide on two proposed land transactions in Yakima County, as well as proposed rule changes meant to reduce the number of whales entangled in crab fishing gear off the Washington coast.

On Friday, commissioners will hear briefings on several topics, including implementation of the hydraulic project bill 1579, which granted WDFW new civil compliance tools to help landowners follow fish protection standards. WDFW staff will also brief the Commission on current and completed work of forest thinning and prescribed burning project efforts and request approval of two new projects. Additionally, commissioners will hear from Puget Sound Partnership Executive Director Laura Blackmore about current activities and collaborations with WDFW.

On Saturday, WDFW staff will brief commissioners on efforts to update the Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy, as well as provide a briefing on the Puget Sound Chinook Resource Management Plan, developed by the department and co-managers to help guide fishery management in Puget Sound. Co-managers expect to submit the plan to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by the end of January.

A full agenda is available online at wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings. The meeting will stream online at https://www.tvw.org/. The public is also invited to speak and provide testimony at Commission meetings. For more information on how to participate, visit wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings#publictestimony.

-WDFW-

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PostThu Jan 16, 2020 4:14 pm 
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Thursday January 16, 2020 13:33 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW seeks advisory committee members for the Snoqualmie Wildlife Area Advisory Committee


Contact: Sam Montgomery, 360-688-0721

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) seeks advisory committee members to serve on the Snoqualmie Wildlife Area Advisory Committee. The role of an advisory committee member is to provide public perspectives in wildlife area planning and management activities.

Member responsibilities include:

Actively participate in 2-4 meetings per year (about two hours each)
Serve as spokespeople for stakeholders and communicate WDFW's plans to interest groups
Identify issues of concern
To join the Snoqualmie Wildlife Area Advisory Committee, contact the Snoqualmie Wildlife Area Manager to request an Advisory Committee Registration Form at 425-327-4869 or brian.boehm@dfw.wa.gov.

The wildlife area is 2,800 acres in King and Snohomish counties bordering the Snoqualmie and Snohomish river and estuary. The wildlife area contains wetlands, agricultural habitat, and natural areas managed for the protection of sensitive species. 

"We are seeking advisors to represent diverse interests including wildlife area neighbors, the agricultural community, and various recreational user groups," Fenner Yarborough, WDFW wildlife regional program manager.

WDFW actively manages public lands and waters for people to explore and engage, to support lifestyles and livelihoods to foster shared experiences and to preserve Washington's proud natural and cultural heritage. The agency relies on input from the public to inform management direction.

-WDFW-

also posted HERE

=========================================================

Thursday January 16, 2020 13:35 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Public safety concerns prompt WDFW to restrict target shooting at Gloyd Seeps Wildlife Area Unit near Ephrata


EPHRATA – Due to safety concerns, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will no longer allow target shooting from Road 12 of the Gloyd Seeps Wildlife Area Unit near Ephrata in Grant County.

WDFW received a complaint from a neighboring landowner that a stray bullet from target shooting hit one of his buildings on Dec. 21, 2019. The Grant County Sheriff's Office investigated and confirmed the validity of the report.

"There isn't a good area at the Gloyd Seeps Unit to direct target shooting," said Rich Finger, WDFW lands operations manager, "There are several residences and outbuildings that are well within range of a rifle bullet and hunters and anglers heavily use surrounding areas."

Finger also said the wildlife area unit has a long history of target shooting issues, including damage to signs and gates, and debris left behind by careless shooters.

People can report target shooting violations or safety concerns to WDFW Enforcement at 1-877-933-9847. To report an incident in progress, call 911.

"There are many safe places in the region to target shoot," said Jim Brown, WDFW regional director for North Central Washington. "But chronic problems at the Gloyd Seeps Unit, including this latest incident, show that this isn't one of them."

WDFW has designated shooting ranges on the Methow, Asotin Creek, and Wooten wildlife areas. Improvements are also underway on designed target shooting locations on the Wenas Wildlife Area near Ellensburg and at the Swakane Wildlife Area Unit near Wenatchee. Funding for improvement projects came from the Capital budget and grants from the Recreation and Conservation Office, National Rifle Association, and Wenatchee Sportsman's Association.

WDFW manages the 12,141-acre Gloyd Seeps Wildlife Area Unit as part of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area. The unit includes shrubsteppe uplands, basalt scablands, wetlands, and ponds, and supports a small population of Washington ground squirrels. The unit offers a variety of recreation opportunities, including pheasant hunting and a selective gear trout fishery on Homestead Lake.

The department owns or manages about one million acres statewide, with 33 wildlife areas and nearly 500 water access areas around the state. These public lands help sustain wildlife habitat and public recreation opportunities for current and future generations.

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

-WDFW-

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PostThu Feb 06, 2020 12:32 pm 
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Thursday February 6, 2020 10:37 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Public comment period open for proposed cougar management guidelines, digital open house, Feb. 13


OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public comments on proposed recommendations to the cougar management guidelines that set the framework for recreational harvest.

From Feb. 6 through Feb. 26, WDFW will accept public comments to help finalize hunting rules and regulations proposed for the upcoming year. The proposals are available on the department's website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/season-setting.

WDFW will propose four options related to the cougar harvest guidelines. The public can watch a video explaining the four options here: youtu.be/8G_naHin_ys. Information on how the department currently manages cougars is also available in this video: youtube.com/watch?v=slfoanRAK9s&t=2s.

Options include maintaining the current harvest guideline, but using a median instead of mean to calculate density. Some options include changing the way WDFW counts animals toward the guideline. Other options look at increasing the guideline in areas with historically higher harvest and conflict.

The department will host a digital open house about the proposed cougar changes, on Feb. 13 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Eric Gardner, Wildlife Program Director and Anis Aoude, Game Division Manager will explain the options in more detail and host a live question and answer session. View the open house at player.invintus.com/?clientID=2836755451&eventID=2020021000.

"If you're interested in how cougars are hunted in Washington and would like to provide input on the 2020-2021 hunting season, please take time to watch our videos or attend our digital open house," said Anis Aoude, WDFW game division manager. "We need your input to provide our Commission with the best information about the public's desires for cougar harvest management."

The Commission, which sets policy for WDFW, will accept public comments on the proposed recommendations at its March 13-14 meeting in Kennewick. Final action by the Commission is scheduled at a public meeting April 10-11 in Olympia.

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

-WDFW-

* my comment on this in following post *

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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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