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PostWed Apr 22, 2020 1:37 pm 
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* please see also previous post of 04/20/20 *

Tuesday April 21, 2020 16:19 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW seeks information on elk and deer poaching case


SPOKANE – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is partnering with the Idaho

Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) to solve a poaching case that straddles the Idaho/Washington border.

A cow elk and white-tailed doe were illegally killed, and the meat wasted, the night of April 17. Between approximately 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., the animals were shot three miles west of the town of Blanchard, in a privately-owned field off east Blanchard Road in Washington. The hindquarters of the elk were removed, but later dumped off Blanchard Cutoff Road, east of Highway 41 in Idaho.

Necropsies revealed both animals were in the later months of pregnancies.

"This is an egregious crime," said WDFW Police Captain Dan Rahn. "Not only was the shooting outside of the hunting season, but the animals were spotlighted, which is illegal, the meat was wasted, and a total of four animals killed."

Rewards are being offered in this case through both WDFW and IDFG for information that leads to a citation.

If you have information on this case, there are several ways to report it. Call 877-933-9847, email reportpoaching@dfw.wa.gov or send a text tip to 847411. You can also report online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/enforcement/report. Tips can be provided anonymously. A monetary reward or bonus points toward special hunts are available for information leading to an arrest.

-WDFW-

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Schenk
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PostWed Apr 22, 2020 2:08 pm 
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Damn, I drove by there today. There is a golf course and many homes out there. It is unlikely you can shoot anywhere 3 miles west of Blanchard and not be aiming towards a home or structure nearby...
There are still some inbred mouth breathers running around...

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Nature exists with a stark indifference to humans' situation.
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PostWed May 06, 2020 8:55 am 
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* multiple announcements - keep scrolling down *

Monday May 4, 2020 17:26 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Snake River to open for spring Chinook salmon fishing four days per week


OLYMPIA – Anglers on the Snake River will be able to fish for spring Chinook salmon when fishing begins to reopen in Washington on May 5, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced.

Two sections of the river – the area surrounding Little Goose Dam and the area around Clarkston -- will be open on alternating days, giving area anglers four possible days each week for spring Chinook fishing.

"This is always a popular fishery, so we're excited that we can offer an opportunity to fish," said Chris Donley, Region 1 fish program manager with WDFW.

Fishing -- along with state-managed public lands and water access areas -- was closed throughout Washington in late March in order to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Many freshwater and saltwater fisheries reopen beginning May 5.

The two sections of the Snake River opening for Chinook retention are:

Opening Tuesdays and Fridays beginning May 5: The area from the Texas Rapids boat launch to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the walkway area known locally as "The Wall" on the south side of the river below Little Goose Dam.
Opening Wednesdays and Saturdays beginning May 6: The Clarkston area from the downstream edge of the large powerlines crossing the Snake River upstream about 3.5 miles to the Washington state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the WA/ID boundary waters marker on the Whitman County shore).
Anglers in these areas may keep up to 4 hatchery Chinook daily, only one of which may be an adult. The minimum size of any retained Chinook salmon is 12 inches. All wild salmon, bull trout, and steelhead must be immediately released unharmed. Anglers fishing for Chinook salmon must use barbless hooks, and a night closure is in effect for salmon fishing. Anglers cannot remove any Chinook salmon or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit.

Anglers are responsible for knowing the regulations at their intended destination by checking the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations, the Fish Washington mobile app, and WDFW's emergency rules page at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

The fishery is open until further notice, but Donley noted that fishery managers will be watching the run closely to ensure harvest impacts aren't exceeded and Endangered Species Act requirements are met, and will close the fishery when necessary.

Anglers are also asked to continue helping in the fight against COVID-19 by practicing physical distancing at all fishing locations and water access areas. This includes keeping 6 feet between yourself and anyone not in your immediate household, and having a backup plan in case your intended destination appears too crowded or remains closed. Though state lands are scheduled to reopen beginning May 5, some facilities may still be unavailable, and the public is encouraged to carry their own handwashing materials and packing out their garbage.

For the latest updates on WDFW's response to the coronavirus, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates.

-WDFW-

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Monday May 4, 2020 21:38 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Some emergency rules remain in effect as fishing reopens across Washington


OLYMPIA – With fishing scheduled to reopen under standard rules on May 5, following a statewide closure to help combat the spread of COVID-19, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reminds anglers that a number of emergency rules remain in effect for state waters.

While freshwater fisheries and Puget Sound saltwater fisheries (with the exception of shrimp and halibut) reopen beginning May 5 under permanent rules, the harvest of clams, oysters, and mussels remains closed statewide, and all saltwater fisheries off Washington's Pacific coast also remain closed in consultation with local health authorities. This includes all fishing and shellfishing in marine areas 1-4.

At this time, charter and guide industries have not received approval from the Governor's Office to resume operations. WDFW is working closely with guides and charters who have submitted safety and operations plans to the Governor's Office for consideration.

In addition to these ongoing closures, some emergency fishing rules enacted before the statewide closure in late March will now go back into effect.

"We're eager to get everybody back out and recreating responsibly," said Kelly Cunningham, WDFW Fish Program director. "We appreciate everyone's patience during this closure and we're hopeful for continued progress in the fight against COVID-19 so that we can continue to provide safe management of these resources. It's more important than ever that anglers know what's open and what's closed before they head out, not only in terms of whether fishing is open, but also the status of any facilities at their destination."

While many state lands are scheduled to reopen for day use on May 5, many public water access sites might still be closed, including local, federal, or tribal facilities. People should be prepared to make alternate plans if their intended destination remains closed or appears too congested. All camping on wildlife areas and access areas remains closed and anglers should come prepared to provide their own toilet paper and soap and water or hand sanitizer.

Anglers are also urged to recreate within their own communities and to follow physical distancing guidelines, keeping 6 feet between themselves and others and not traveling by car or boat with anyone outside of their immediate household.

"It's on all of us to follow these guidelines and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 without future closures," Cunningham said.

Rules in effect when fisheries reopen May 5 include:

Adult salmon daily limit reduced in Drano Lake.
Adult salmon daily limit reduced on the Klickitat River.
Adult salmon daily limit reduced on Wind River.
Hatchery steelhead season extended on Salmon Creek (Clark Co.).
Willapa Bay tributaries closed to all fishing.
Adult Chinook daily limit reduced on the Kalama River.
Chinook retention closed on the Cowlitz River, Cispus River, and Lake Scanewa.
Salmon season closed on the Lewis River.
Columbia River salmon and steelhead anglers must use barbless hooks from the WA/OR border downstream.
All fishing in the Chehalis Basin closed until the Saturday before Memorial Day. (Includes Chehalis, Elk, Johns, Hoquiam, Newaukum, Satsop, Skookumchuck, Wishkah, and Wynoochee rivers and their tributaries, and Cloquallum and Elk creeks and their tributaries.)
The Columbia River above and below Bonneville Dam is scheduled to open for spring Chinook fishing on May 5, 7, 9, and 13, and a portion of the lower river will open for sockeye beginning May 16.
Two sections of the Snake River will open for spring Chinook fishing on alternating days, four days per week, beginning May 5.
More information on these and other rules is available at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/. As always, anglers should also check the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations before heading out, and download the Fish Washington mobile app for up-to-date regulations.

The new license year began April 1. Anglers must have a current license for any fishery in which they take part.

The lower Columbia River, which is co-managed by Washington and Oregon, has in-season rules determined by the Columbia River Compact, to ensure concurrent rules between the two states. Anyone interested in receiving updates on emergency rules or Columbia River fisheries can sign up for email notifications at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/lists.

-WDFW-

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Tuesday May 5, 2020 03:14 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

CLARIFICATION: Columbia River scheduled to open for spring Chinook on select days beginning May 5

Clarifies which species may be retained in both spring Chinook and sockeye fisheries. This release was originally published May 1.


OLYMPIA – The Columbia River spring Chinook fishery is scheduled to open for four days through mid-May, state fishery managers announced Friday.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) jointly manage the river through the Columbia River Compact process, which met Friday and laid out proposed fisheries for spring Chinook and sockeye.

Anglers will be able to fish for spring Chinook on the river both above and below Bonneville Dam on May 5, 7, 9, and 13. Sockeye retention will open on a portion of the lower river beginning May 16, in conjunction with the steelhead opener.

The Columbia River has been closed to fishing since March 25, when Washington enacted a statewide fishing closure to help combat the spread of COVID-19. Oregon also closed the river to salmon and steelhead fishing to remain concurrent with Washington's rules. Many fisheries will reopen across Washington on May 5.

Since this opening is near the peak of the run and fishing conditions are good, managers will monitor catches daily, and adjust the schedule if catches are projected to exceed allowable quotas.

"We're optimistic that this reopening has come just in time for anglers," said Ryan Lothrop, WDFW Columbia River fishery manager. "The spring Chinook run often peaks in the first weeks of May, which means fishing could be good, but given this year's low forecast, it also means we'll have to keep an especially close eye on the run to make sure we're meeting our goals for the numbers of fish making their way upriver."

Additional details for the upcoming Chinook fisheries include:

Below Bonneville: Open for Chinook May 5, 7, 9, and 13 for boat and bank angling from Warrior Rock line upstream to Beacon Rock, plus bank-only angling from Beacon Rock upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline.
Above Bonneville: Open for Chinook May 5, 7, 9, and 13 from the Tower Island power lines (approximately 6 miles below The Dalles Dam) upstream to Hwy 730 at the Oregon/Washington border, plus the Oregon and Washington banks between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines.
The daily limit is 6 salmonids, including no more than 2 adults, of which no more than 1 may be an adult Chinook. Release wild steelhead and all salmon, except hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho. Shad can also be retained.

In addition to spring Chinook, WDFW and ODFW also announced dates for an upcoming sockeye fishery later this spring.

Sockeye: Sockeye fishing opens May 16-June 15 from Tongue-Point line upstream to the I-5 Bridge. Daily limit is 6 salmonids, including no more than 2 adults, with up to 2 sockeye, 2 steelhead, or 1 of each. Sockeye are considered adults. Hatchery Chinook jacks may be kept as part of the daily limit. Release all other salmon and wild steelhead.
Barbless hooks are required when fishing for salmon or steelhead. For more information on these and other emergency rules, visit https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/. For more information on other fishing regulations statewide, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.

Anglers with either a Washington or Oregon fishing license can fish in jointly managed waters of the Columbia River.

With the response to the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, anglers are urged to be aware of potential restrictions and closures at their intended destinations. Though many state lands, including WDFW lands, are scheduled to reopen beginning May 5, some local or federal lands and facilities may remain closed to public access. Guide and charter services also remain closed in Washington under Gov. Jay Inslee's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order.

"We're asking people to be patient and responsible as seasons open back up," said Lothrop. "That includes staying local, traveling only with members of your immediate household, and keeping 6 feet between yourself and others. If your intended destination looks too crowded or isn't yet open, have a backup plan or be prepared to come another time."

Visit WDFW's coronavirus updates page at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates for additional information on what's open and what's still closed.

-WDFW-

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Tuesday May 5, 2020 17:38 PDT

WDFW WEEKENDER REPORT

A message from WDFW Director Kelly Susewind


Today, some fishing, hiking, and hunting opportunities are reopening, and WDFW staff are working across the state to open gates and welcome you back to your public lands. It's a very exciting day.

With your attentiveness, I believe we can safely spend spring and summer in the outdoors enjoying the activities that bring us joy. To do this, we must remain vigilant about physical distancing, and we must engage in responsible recreation.

To be very clear, a flattening and declining COVID-19 trendline is the best possible news for all of us. Please review our guidelines below, and then let's do our part together to help beat this illness back.

Please be patient as we continue to assess our ability to reopen several remaining closures – notably coastal opportunities, halibut and shrimp, and camping on WDFW lands. Please check our COVID response webpage regularly for updates.

Access to nature is opening again, and we could not be more excited.

Take care,
Kelly Susewind, WDFW Director

Find outdoor activities close to home; recreate responsibly this May

This May, our Weekender Regional Reports highlight opportunities that encourage you to rediscover your local water access site or wildlife area as you explore your public lands. We'll keep these reports updated throughout the month to provide current information about local recreational opportunities.

Here's what you need to know before you head out to enjoy #ResponsibleRecreation in Washington:

Check what's open. While state-managed lands are now open for day-use, many other local, tribal, and federal lands are still closed. Check first to avoid a wasted trip.
Rediscover local sites. Travel is not recommended, and state lands are not open to overnight camping currently, so opt for day trips close to home.
Head out with family and roommates. Recreate with immediate household members only to avoid exposing yourself and others to COID-19.
Go prepared. You may notice limited restroom services as we begin the process to reopen wildlife areas and water access sites. Come prepared with your own toilet paper, soap, water, and hand sanitizer, and wash your hands often. Be ready to pack it in, and pack it out.
Enjoy the outdoors when healthy. If you have symptoms of fever, coughing, or shortness of breath, stay home and enjoy the outdoors another day.
Avoid crowds. Be prepared to go somewhere else or come back another time if your destination looks crowded.
Practice physical distancing. Keep six feet between you and those outside of your household. Cover your face if you end up close to others.
You can find more information about current closures and responsible recreation on our blog.

-WDFW-

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Tuesday May 5, 2020 21:02 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Island Marble Butterfly listed as Endangered by Federal Government
San Juan and Lopez Island landowners signing up to help conserve species found nowhere else


The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is announcing open enrollment now through May 19 for San Juan and Lopez islands landowners who would like to participate in a voluntary program to help restore Island Marble Butterflies, a species found nowhere else in the world.

Thought to be extinct since 1908, the butterfly was re-discovered by biologists during a prairie survey in San Juan Island National Historical Park in 1998, and a few years later on Lopez Island – but not seen again on Lopez Island since 2006.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published its final rule in the Federal Register today to list the Island Marble Butterfly as an endangered species and designate critical habitat for the species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The rule is effective June 4.

For the next two weeks, WDFW and USFWS are inviting landowners on San Juan and Lopez islands— especially those with open, grassy landscapes—to help conserve Island Marble Butterflies by enrolling in a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurance (CCAA).

The CCAA is a conservation tool under the Endangered Species Act. Conservation measures outlined in the Island Marble Butterfly CCAA's include creating patches of habitat, limiting disturbance to habitat patches, potentially protecting patches through fencing and potentially allowing deer hunting to limit deer consumption of the mustard plants that butterflies depend upon.

"The CCAA is designed to encourage landowners to take specific actions to provide habitat for the butterfly," said Hannah Anderson, WDFW's Wildlife Diversity Division manager. "We are grateful for participation so far and could not conserve this species without landowners willing to help this butterfly," she added.

The agreements also provide regulatory surety for landowners who could be affected by ESA regulations after the butterfly is officially listed as endangered under the Act, she added.  "Although landowners have been signing up for months, there are still two weeks left to sign up to participate in the CCAA before the ESA listing takes effect," said Anderson.

Landowners enrolled in a CCAA—including those engaged in agriculture, ranching, recreation, and other activities—would experience no risk of violating the ESA by inadvertently killing or injuring the butterflies so long as they participate in the agreed conservation measures.

"We are asking landowners to get out ahead of the ESA listing and voluntarily adopt a few best practices that will help the butterfly recover," said Anderson.

Agency personnel welcome CCAA participation with private and public landowners, including those that own or manage state, tribal, non-federal, public or private lands. Landowners can also withdraw from the CCAA at any time. For information on how to enroll in the CCAA, please visit this web page.

"These agreements provide a unique opportunity for landowners to contribute to the conservation of the Island Marble Butterfly," said USFWS Washington State Supervisor, Brad Thompson. "Working together, agencies, organizations and landowners can create and maintain habitat for this rare and beautiful butterfly."

The Island Marble Butterfly does not migrate and is only found on San Juan Island. They are most visible in the spring when they are winged adults. For the rest of the year, they are present as either eggs, caterpillars, or chrysalises.

After an Island Marble Butterfly emerges from its chrysalis where it has resided for more than 300 days of the year, it immediately mates and lays eggs on mustard plant flower buds, flying only a short time before dying. This long growth period and distinctive lifestyle have made this contributor to the islands' ecosystem vulnerable.

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.

There are just over 150 species of butterflies in Washington State, with Island Marble, Taylor's Checkerspot, Monarch, and Mardon Skipper included among the 21 designated as species of greatest conservation need.

-WDFW-

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostWed May 06, 2020 5:52 pm 
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( * be sure to check press releases from Monday and Tuesday just above ^ * )

Wednesday May 6, 2020 16:38 PDT

WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE 

The Skagit River to open for hatchery Spring Chinook


Action: Open part of the Skagit River to retention of hatchery Spring Chinook

Effective date: May 16 through May 31, 2020

Species affected: Chinook salmon

Location: Skagit River (Skagit Co.) from the hwy. 536 bridge (Memorial Hwy. Bridge) in Mt. Vernon to Gilligan Creek.

Reason for action: Sufficient hatchery spring Chinook returns are forecasted to allow for a harvest fishery.

Rules: Daily limit 2 salmon. Min. size 12". Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook. Night closure.

Additional information: Gamefish fisheries will remain closed. This fishery will be actively monitored and may close earlier if the total encounters agreed to are reached. Anglers are asked to cooperate with creel personnel collecting catch information.

Anglers are also urged to recreate within their own communities and to follow physical distancing guidelines, keeping 6 feet between themselves and others and not traveling by car or boat with anyone outside of their immediate household.

-WDFW-

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostWed May 06, 2020 8:15 pm 
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(* check posts above - lots of press releases this week! * )

Wednesday May 6, 2020 20:02 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Annual target shooting restrictions take effect at Wenas Wildlife Area near Yakima


YAKIMA – To reduce the risk of wildfires, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will again restrict target shooting on the 105,000-acre Wenas Wildlife Area near Yakima and Ellensburg.

The restriction, which will be in effect May 6 through potentially Sept. 30, will limit target shooting to the hours between sunrise and 10 a.m., when the risk of starting a wildfire is less severe. WDFW may lift the restriction before Sept. 30 if weather conditions allow.

Public notice of the limited hours will be posted at all entry points and at other target shooting sites on the wildlife area. In addition, the area around the Sheep Company Rd target shooting site continues to be closed for construction activity that will provide improved target shooting opportunities when complete.

The department has restricted target shooting every summer since 2012, with the support of the community based Wenas Wildlife Area Advisory Committee, said Cindi Confer Morris, WDFW wildlife area manager.

"We are implementing these restrictions earlier than normal to reduce the risk of wildfires and the need for firefighters to respond during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Confer Morris. "Target shooting has caused numerous wildfires at the Wenas Wildlife Area in the past, so it's also important these restrictions are in place now as conditions get hotter and vegetation dries out."

WDFW is coordinating the restrictions with the Department of Natural Resources, the state agency responsible for wildfire suppression response. State land managers ask that all visitors to the wildlife area take precautions to avoid igniting a wildfire.

Information about local fire danger is available at https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protection/firedanger/.

For more information on WDFW wildlife areas, see the department's website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/places-to-go/wildlife-areas.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife actively manages about a million acres of land, with 33 wildlife areas and nearly 500 water access sites 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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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostThu May 07, 2020 2:08 pm 
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Thursday May 7, 2020 14:03 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW seeks community involvement in L.T. Murray Wildlife Area Plan


ELLENSBURG – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has kicked off a planning process for the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area located in Kittitas County. The wildlife area provides critical winter range habitat for deer and elk and other habitat valuable to species such as sage-grouse, bighorn sheep, and endangered steelhead.

The wildlife area consists of five units of land covering more than 119,000 acres. Public recreational opportunities on the wildlife area are diverse, and include hunting, camping, fishing, wildlife viewing, target shooting, nature photography, ATV and snowmobile riding, horseback and bicycle riding, hiking, and other activities.

"Protecting wildlife and their habitats while also providing quality access to public lands requires lots of planning and active land management," said Melissa Babik, wildlife area manager for WDFW. "We want the community to be part of developing a plan that will guide what we do on the wildlife area for the next 10 years."

People can learn about the wildlife area planning process and complete a short questionnaire on WDFW's website: https://wdfw.wa.gov/places-to-go/wildlife-areas/lt-murray-wildlife-area. Two short videos and a fact sheet are available under the "Management Planning" tab.

Babik said the public will have other opportunities to provide input on the management plan over the next year as a draft is developed.

WDFW actively manages about a million acres of land divided into 33 wildlife areas across the state. Each wildlife area is guided by a management plan that addresses the status of wildlife species and their habitat, habitat restoration, public recreation, weed management, and other activities to meet the department's mission of preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems.

The department works to preserve Washington's natural and cultural heritage, provide access for hunting, fishing, and wildlife-related recreation, and foster outdoor experiences and exploration throughout the state.

-WDFW-

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostFri May 08, 2020 7:06 pm 
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Friday May 8, 2020 16:51 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW seeks public input on management plan for Scatter Creek Wildlife Area


OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) wants to hear from the community on a draft management plan for the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area located in Thurston and Grays Harbor counties. Public input is welcome through June 8.

"We greatly appreciate and value input from neighbors, partners, and visitors," said Darric Lowery, wildlife area manager for WDFW. "Your feedback helps us craft a more relevant and attainable plan so we can make WDFW-managed lands better for both wildlife, and the community."

Consisting of six separate units, the wildlife area covers about 3,601 acres and is popular for hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, horseback riding, and hunting dog training.

The wildlife area encompasses portions of unique South Puget Sound prairies and oak woodlands, as well as aquatic, forest, and wetland habitats that support a variety of wildlife species, including the federally endangered Taylor's checkerspot butterfly and the threatened Mazama pocket gopher.

A local citizen advisory group helped develop the draft management plan, which will guide how the department makes operations and budgeting decisions on the wildlife area for the next 10 years.

The draft management plan is undergoing a 30-day State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) public comment period and is available on WDFW's website under "Management Planning" at https://wdfw.wa.gov/places-to-go/wildlife-areas/scatter-creek-wildlife-area.

WDFW staff had to cancel plans for a public meeting due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but incorporated some community input into the draft plan from a public meeting held in March 2019.

People can provide feedback on the draft plan on WDFW's website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/environmental/sepa/open-comments or by mail to Lisa Wood, SEPA/NEPA Coordinator, WDFW Habitat Program, Protection Division, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504.

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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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostMon May 11, 2020 8:05 pm 
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Monday May 11, 2020 18:40 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW and WSU confirm case of elk hoof disease in Yakima elk herd


YAKIMA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today that test results from samples taken from a juvenile elk in the Yakima herd confirmed the presence of elk hoof disease, known scientifically as treponeme-associated hoof disease (TAHD).

The disease can cause hoof deformities leading to hooves sloughing off and even death. This is the first confirmed case of the disease in the Yakima herd.

"For many years, we've been surveying for hoof disease in the Yakima area, but we have never had a case of a limping or lame elk associated with hoof disease," said Kyle Garrison, WDFW ungulate specialist. "The case, confirmed by Washington State University, was an early grade lesion and probably wouldn't have affected the animal's gait initially."

The infected elk was discovered as WDFW and WSU College of Veterinary Medicine staff captured elk from central Washington feeding sites to support WSU's elk hoof disease research facility.

First documented in the early 2000s, hoof disease has since been found in 17 Washington counties, primarily west of the Cascades, affecting eight of Washington's 10 elk herds. California, Idaho, and Oregon have also reported cases of the disease. In 2019, WDFW confirmed the disease in Walla Walla County – the eastern-most detection in Washington state.

Throughout western Washington, about 12% of successful hunters reported abnormal hooves on their harvest, which serves as a measure of prevalence. However, in eastern Washington – where the disease has been confirmed in the Blue Mountains and recently the Yakima elk herd – less than 1% of hunters report hoof abnormalities.

Scientists suspect several factors contribute to elk hoof disease development, including wet or moist environmental conditions and an elk's individual condition. Outside of southwest Washington prevalence has remained very low.

"We're going to increase our surveillance, continue our cooperation with WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine, and we're also asking eastern Washington hunters and recreationists to keep an eye out for limping elk or elk with hoof deformities," said Garrison.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent TAHD, nor are there any proven options for treating it in the field. There is no evidence that the disease affects humans.

State wildlife managers are asking hunters and other members to report any observations of limping elk or elk with abnormal hooves via WDFW's online reporting tool: https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/diseases/elk-hoof

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

-WDFW-

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PostTue May 12, 2020 9:31 pm 
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Tuesday May 12, 2020 16:27 PDT

NEWS RELEASE

Commission to consider utility easement and discuss Puget Sound steelhead restoration during May meeting


OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider approval of a utility easement on department-managed land in Clallam County and hear a briefing on management strategies to restore Puget Sound steelhead during its May 15 virtual commission meeting.

The Commission will kick off with committee meetings at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, May 14, to discuss the department's strategic plan update, cougar safety, proposed hunting contest rule changes, and fisheries management topics.

At the Friday May 15 commission meeting, members are scheduled to make a decision on whether to allow CenturyLink to use an existing utility easement on department-managed land in Clallam County to improve internet services for the Neah Bay community.

The Puget Sound Steelhead Advisory Group (PSSAG) will provide a briefing to the Commission to summarize the results of a more than three-year process of proactive management strategies to restore Puget Sound steelhead and fisheries.

The Commission will take open public comment on Friday morning. To support COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, the meeting will be available to the public through webinar or conference call. For more information and to view an agenda, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings. The meeting will be recorded and posted online so people can also watch the meeting afterwards at their convenience.

The Commission is a citizen panel appointed by the governor that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). 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-

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

Tuesday May 12, 2020 16:30 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Special hunt permit application deadline extended to May 21


OLYMPIA – Hunters can now submit special hunt applications through midnight Thursday, May 21 for deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep, and fall turkey 2020 seasons in Washington.

"The original deadline was May 18," said Eric Gardner, WDFW Wildlife Program director. "Unfortunately, the printed pamphlets shipment to our dealers have been behind schedule due to COVID-19 complications, so we want to give hunters a few more days to review and submit applications."

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will conduct a random drawing to select permit winners in June. Hunters who receive special permits qualify to hunt beyond the times and places authorized by a general hunting license.

Instructions and details on applying for special permit hunts are on pages 16-17 of Washington's 2020 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Regulations pamphlet: http://www.eregulations.com/washington/hunting/

"We've also created instructional videos on how to apply for special permits," Gardner added. "Watch the videos for how to submit permits for individuals or groups "

A printed version of the pamphlet is now available at dealer locations across the state, though WDFW region offices remain closed. Residents are advised to call local WDFW offices or their local license vendor to determine if they are open before making an in-person visit. The pamphlet has been available for download since April 20: https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/big-game

The department does not anticipate COVID-19 related impacts to these future big game hunting seasons. However, should the department have to cancel these hunting seasons, hunters would be entitled to a refund or point restoration. 

To apply for a deer or elk special permit, hunters must buy an application and hunting license, and submit the application with their preferred hunt choices. Applicants for mountain goat, moose, and bighorn sheep do not need to buy a license before they submit.

Hunters can buy applications and licenses from license vendors statewide or on WDFW's website https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/#/login They must submit their applications on the website or call 1-877-945-3492 toll-free.

Hunters buying and applying online must create a username and password in the department's WILD system. They can find more information about creating their WILD system account https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/content/pdfs/WILD-Account-Instructions.pdf
Hunters can also click the "Customer Support" link on the WILD homepage for additional assistance.

Most special hunt permit applications cost $7.10 for residents, $110.50 for non-residents, and $3.80 for youth under 16.

Resident applications for mountain goats, bighorn sheep ram, moose, and "quality" categories for deer and elk cost $13.70.

WDFW will post the results of the special hunt permit drawing online by the end of June. This date is not expected to change as a result of the application extension. WDFW will notify winners by mail or email by mid-July.

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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PostWed May 13, 2020 5:20 pm 
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Previous WDFW News Release regarding Closure of Morse Creek Wildlife Area / Dec. 27, 2019

Wednesday May 13, 2020 16:22 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW proposes to extend closure of Morse Creek Wildlife Area Unit near Port Angeles


OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is proposing to close the Morse Creek Wildlife Area Unit, located two miles east of Port Angeles, for up to a year to address chronic impacts to natural resources and public safety resulting from homeless encampments at the site.

WDFW previously closed the Morse Creek Wildlife Area Unit to the public last December, with the temporary closure scheduled to last until May 31, 2020.

"We believe it's necessary to extend the Morse Creek Wildlife Area Unit's closure for up to another year," said Brian Calkins, coastal region wildlife program manager. "We want to reopen the unit as soon as we can make it safe for all visitors and protect valuable habitat."

Calkins said the 133-acre Morse Creek Wildlife Area Unit has been damaged by people dumping trash, cutting trees, digging holes, and clearing brush to build temporary structures.

WDFW is conducting an environmental review on this proposed action in accordance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and invites the public to provide input on environmental considerations through May 27.

People can submit comments online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/environmental/sepa/open-comments or by mail to Lisa Wood, SEPA/NEPA Coordinator, WDFW Habitat Program, Protection Division, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504.

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.

-WDFW-

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PostThu May 14, 2020 4:53 pm 
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Thursday May 14, 2020 15:19 PDT

NEWS RELEASE

Workgroup to hold public webinar to discuss Columbia River salmon management policy


OLYMPIA – The Columbia River Salmon Fishery Policy Workgroup will hold a virtual public meeting later this month to continue its work reviewing the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission's policy on salmon management in the Columbia River basin.

The workgroup, made up of three Commission members, will meet May 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The meeting will be conducted via webinar in response to continued concerns about the spread of COVID-19. The public will be able to view the meeting online and provide testimony.

An agenda and other meeting materials – including instructions on how to watch the meeting online – will be available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/columbia-river-policy-review beginning early next week. The meeting will be recorded and posted online later for those unable to attend the webinar.

The workgroup encourages members of the public throughout Washington to provide testimony, including suggestions for allocating the recreational harvest of spring Chinook between different regions in the basin.

The Columbia River Salmon Fishery Policy Workgroup is charged with making recommendations to the full Fish and Wildlife Commission. More information on the Commission's Columbia River salmon management policy is available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/policies/columbia-river-basin-salmon-management.

The Commission is a citizen panel appointed by the governor that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.

- Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission -

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

Thursday May 14, 2020 15:23 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Columbia River to open for four days of spring Chinook salmon fishing


OLYMPIA – The Columbia River is scheduled to open for an additional four days of spring Chinook salmon fishing beginning Friday, state fishery managers have announced.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) agreed Wednesday to open the river to recreational spring Chinook fishing above and below Bonneville Dam on May 15, 16, 17, and 20. The river previously opened to spring Chinook for four days earlier this month, following a statewide recreational fishing closure to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

"We saw good effort from anglers earlier this month, and we hope these additional days help others get back on the water as well," said Ryan Lothrop, WDFW's Columbia River fishery manager. "That said, with this year's low forecast and with fishing happening during what's usually the peak of the run, we'll be watching catch numbers carefully and taking a conservative approach to make sure we're staying within our allowable impacts."

Fishery managers agreed to open the following sections of the Columbia River on the designated days:

Below Bonneville: Open for Chinook May 15-17 and May 20 for boat and bank angling from Warrior Rock line upstream to Beacon Rock, plus hand-cast, bank-only angling from Beacon Rock upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline.
Above Bonneville: Open for Chinook May 15-17 and May 20 from the Tower Island power lines (approximately 6 miles below The Dalles Dam) upstream to Hwy 730 at the Oregon/Washington border, plus the Oregon and Washington banks between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines (hand-cast deployed only).
For salmon and steelhead in both of these locations, the daily limit is 6, and no more than 2 adults may be retained, of which no more than 1 may be an adult Chinook. Salmon minimum size is 12 inches. Barbless hooks are required.

Above Bonneville, only hatchery Chinook and hatchery steelhead may be retained.

Below Bonneville, only hatchery Chinook, hatchery steelhead and sockeye may be retained. Sockeye are considered adults. Shad retention is also permitted.

Shad fishing opens under permanent rule beginning May 16. Sockeye fishing also opens May 16 on a portion of the river below the Interstate 5 bridge, under a previously adopted emergency rule. That rule can be found at  https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=2493.

As always, anglers should check the fishing regulations at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations and emergency rule updates at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ before heading out.

With the response to the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, WDFW reminds anglers to be aware of potential restrictions and closures at their intended destinations, and to be prepared to change plans if a site is closed or appears too congested to maintain physical distancing of 6 feet from others.  Anglers are also asked to avoid interfering with tribal members who may be fishing for fish to be used in tribal ceremonies and for distribution to elders and family members who cannot travel. During the pandemic, obtaining these fish for their communities has taken on even greater importance than normal.

Visit WDFW's coronavirus updates page at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates for the latest information on the department's response to COVID-19.

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, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

-WDFW-

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

Thursday May 14, 2020 16:24 PDT

WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE 
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia, WA 98501
https://wdfw.wa.gov/

May 14, 2020

Snake River Spring Chinook Fishery Change

Action: Close spring Chinook salmon fishery at Location B (Clarkston) listed below.

Effective date: May 15, 2020 until further notice

Species affected: Chinook salmon and steelhead

Location:

A) Below Little Goose Dam: Snake River from Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river upstream of the mouth of Tucannon River) to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the rock and concrete area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility (includes the walkway area locally known as "the Wall" in front of the juvenile collection facility);

B) Clarkston: Snake River from the downstream edge of the large power lines crossing the Snake River (just upstream from West Evans Road on the south shore) upstream about 3.5 miles to the Washington state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the WA / ID boundary waters marker on the Whitman County shore).

Reason for action: Spring Chinook salmon returns to the Clearwater River are lower than predicted in preseason estimates. In order to protect hatchery brood stock needs within the Clearwater, WDFW is closing the Clarkston area of the Snake River (see area B above), as it is adjacent to the mouth of the Clearwater.

Additional information:

Salmon: Section B (Clarkston): Closed.

Salmon: Section A (Little Goose): Open on Tuesdays and Fridays until further notice. Daily limit 4, of which up to 1 may be an adult; min. size 12 inches. Only hatchery Chinook, as evidenced by a clipped adipose fin with a healed scar, may be retained. Release all other salmon. Any chinook over 24 inches is considered an adult.

When the Snake River opens for steelhead fishing on May 23, salmon fishing remains open only on Tuesdays and Fridays. On these days, anglers may not continue to fish for salmon or steelhead once the adult salmon daily limit has been retained.

Anglers fishing for Chinook salmon must use barbless hooks. A night closure is in effect while fishing for salmon. Anglers cannot remove any Chinook salmon or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit.

WDFW will monitor this fishery and the returns of spring Chinook throughout the season and may close the fishery at any time due to harvest levels, impacts to fish listed under the Endangered Species Act, in-season run adjustments, or a combination of these things. Please continue to check emergency rules if you are planning to fish for spring Chinook in the Snake River.

Anglers are reminded to refer to the 2019/2020 Fishing in Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other regulations, including safety closures, closed waters, etc.

-WDFW-

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PostThu May 21, 2020 7:47 am 
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Wednesday May 20, 2020 15:20 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Oregon Vesper Sparrow recommended for listing as endangered in Washington;
WDFW seeking public comments on species' status report


OLYMPIA – With a declining population and an estimate of just 300 left in the state, the Oregon Vesper Sparrow is struggling to maintain its foothold in Washington and the Pacific Northwest coast.

Decline in native prairie and savannah habitat and reduction of genetic diversity in remaining populationspose serious challenges to the continued viability of the species.

Today, WDFW wildlife managers are working with partners like Joint Base Lewis McChord, American Bird Conservancy and the Center for Natural Lands Management to oversee a strategy of prairie protection, banding, and monitoring to bring these birds back. 

Large-scale loss of native prairie habitat likely played a major role in the decades-long decline of the population, which breeds in western Washington, western Oregon, and extreme northwestern California. The birds are present in the state from April to September.

Washington's population of about 300 individuals is found primarily at sites in Thurston and Pierce counties with a smattering more—numbering only in the dozens—estimated for both San Juan Island and islands in the lower Columbia River.

The birds once occupied breeding locations dispersed widely from southwestern British Columbia and the San Juan Islands through the southern Puget lowlands.

WDFW staff members are tentatively scheduled to report on the listing recommendation with the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at its meeting on October 2. The commission is a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for WDFW. For meeting dates and times, check the commission webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission .

The status report on the Oregon Vesper Sparrow listing recommendation is available on WDFW's publication website and the agency is welcoming review and comment on its findings.

The public can provide comment on the status report through August 17, 2020.  Submit written comments on the report document via email to TandEpubliccom@dfw.wa.gov  or by mail to Taylor Cotten, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, P.O. Box 43141, Olympia, WA 98504-3200.

In addition to Washington's state endangered status recommendation, the Oregon Vesper Sparrow is currently scheduled for review for listing under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

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, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

Forty-five species of fish and wildlife are listed for protection as state endangered, threatened or sensitive species in Washington today.

-WDFW-

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

Wednesday May 20, 2020 15:23 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia, WA 98501
http://wdfw.wa.gov/

May 20, 2020
Contact: Sam Montgomery, 360-688-0721

WDFW invites public comment on target shooting rule update

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) invites the public to submit written comment on a proposed target shooting rule update by June 10.

The proposed rule update defines recreational target shooting, identifies when and where target shooting is allowed or prohibited, and describes allowable and prohibited targets for use on WDFW-managed lands.

The proposed rule also defines a required backstop as an unobstructed earthen mound or bank at least eight feet in height which must stop the progress of and contain all projectiles, ricochets, and fragments in a safe manner.

"We want your feedback on the proposed rule to help guide our rulemaking process," said Joel Sisolak, WDFW planning, recreation and outreach section manager. "Let us know if the proposed rule meets the goal of continuing to provide quality shooting opportunities while improving public safety and protecting habitat."

WDFW is conducting an environmental review on this proposed action in accordance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The public can provide input on environmental impacts via this survey or email comments to SEPADesk2@dfw.wa.gov. WDFW must receive comments by June 10.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission will host a public hearing for this rule update at their June 12 meeting. Visit the department's website for more information on target shooting.

WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities. The department manages about a million acres of land, with 33 wildlife areas and nearly 500 water access sites around the state. These public lands help sustain wildlife habitat and public recreation opportunities for current and future generations.

-WDFW-

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PostThu May 21, 2020 7:08 pm 
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Thursday May 21, 2020 15:52 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Spring Chinook salmon season comes to a close on Columbia River 


OLYMPIA – Recreational fishing for spring Chinook salmon on the Columbia River has ended for this year as continued low returns raised concerns about meeting conservation objectives.

Fishery managers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) held a Columbia River Compact hearing to consider a five-day recreational fishery to open over the Memorial Day weekend, as well as a one-day mark-selective commercial tangle-net fishery. After hearing updates on the run and returns to hatcheries throughout the Columbia River basin, as well as testimony from a wide cross-section of stakeholders, the states decided not to proceed with those fisheries.

The estimated size of this year's spring Chinook run was downgraded to just 72,000 fish, even lower than last year's return of 73,100 fish, and the lowest since 1999.

"We would have liked to offer some additional opportunity for spring Chinook this year, but it was clear that the run wouldn't support it," said Bill Tweit, special assistant with WDFW." Many of our stakeholders also made clear that conserving these fish and getting closer to our hatchery goals was more important than a few extra days of fishing. The testimony we heard yesterday really demonstrated how much both recreational and commercial fishers value this resource."

Even without the additional fishing, some hatchery facilities in the Columbia River basin may fall short of broodstock goals due to the low numbers of returning fish.

"Hopefully we'll be able to backfill some of those shortfalls from other hatcheries that do meet their goals," said Tweit. "This is really about seeing to the health of the species throughout the basin."

Fishing for other species on the Columbia remains open under normal regulations, and several tributaries are open as well. See the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations, and be sure to check for any emergency rules at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ before heading out.

-WDFW-

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

Thursday May 21, 2020 15:56 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Meeting scheduled on planned rotenone treatments of Eastern Washington waters


OLYMPIA – State fishery managers will host an online public meeting in early June to discuss plans to treat four lakes and a stream in Eastern Washington with rotenone, a naturally occurring pesticide commonly used to remove undesirable and illegally stocked fish species from lakes and streams.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is proposing to treat McDowell, Keogh, Hatch, and Little Hatch Lakes in Stevens County.

"These lakes will be treated with the goal of restoring popular trout fisheries by removing illegally introduced yellow perch, pumpkinseed, and tench," said Kenneth Behen, WDFW warmwater fish program manager. "These fish compete with stocked trout fry for food and some prey upon them, rendering stocking efforts ineffective."

WDFW is also proposing to treat a 4-mile section of Flume Creek to remove non-native eastern brook trout and restore native westslope cutthroat trout, Behen said.

WDFW has scheduled an online public meeting to discuss the planned lake and stream treatments from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

Information on how to log in and participate in this meeting will be posted at https://wdfw.wa.gov/get-involved/calendar/event/rotenone-treatments-eastern-washington-lakes.

In addition to input received at the public meeting, WDFW will also consider written comments received no later than June 10, 2020. The public can comment on WDFW's State Environmental Policy Act website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/environmental/sepa/open-comments or send comments directly to:

Kenneth Behen
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
P.O. Box 43200
Olympia, WA 98504-3200

Contact: Kenneth Behen, 360-902-2826

A decision on whether to proceed with the planned treatments will be made by the WDFW director in late June.

Rotenone is an organic substance derived from the roots of tropical plants, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved for use as a fish pesticide. It has been used by WDFW in lake and stream rehabilitations for more than 70 years, and is commonly used by other fish and wildlife management agencies nationwide.

-WDFW-

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PostSun May 24, 2020 12:46 pm 
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Friday May 22, 2020 14:12 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW invites public comment on proposed rules to set salmon fishing seasons
Public comments open through June 8, public hearing June 9


OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public comments on proposed rules for this year's recreational and commercial salmon fishing seasons.

These fishing rules are the culmination of a multi-month effort as part of the annual North of Falcon process, which gathers state, federal and tribal fishery managers to plan the Northwest's recreational and commercial salmon fisheries, with input from the public. This year's process included more than a dozen public meetings, originally scheduled throughout the state, that occurred virtually to support public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We realize that this year's salmon season-setting process looked a little different for everyone involved," said Kyle Adicks, WDFW salmon fisheries policy lead. "We're so appreciative of the time everyone shared with us to dial or tune in virtually, and want to give those interested another opportunity to participate in this process as we move to finalize these rules."

To see the full rule-making package, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/regulations/development#pending

The public can submit comments online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/north-falcon/public-input. WDFW is also accepting comments by email to Rules.Coordinator@dfw.wa.gov or by mail to WDFW Rules Coordinator: P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504-3200.

WDFW will also take public comment at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 9, during a public hearing. To support continuing COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, the hearing will be available to the public through webinar or conference call.

-WDFW-

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

Friday May 22, 2020 14:22 PDT

WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE 

Snake River spring Chinook fishery closure


Action: Closes spring Chinook salmon fishery on the Snake River.

Effective date: May 23, 2020.

Species affected: Chinook salmon.

Location: Below Little Goose Dam: Snake River from Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river upstream of the mouth of Tucannon River) to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the rock and concrete area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility (includes the walkway area locally known as "the Wall" in front of the juvenile collection facility).

Reason for action: Based on effort and harvest observed to date, harvest allocation is expected to be reached May 22.

Additional information: This rule closes all spring Chinook fishing in the Snake River as the Clarkston Area fishery previously closed on May 15.

For additional fishing opportunities, seasons and rules please see the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet found at https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/02077/wdfw02077.pdf.

-WDFW-

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

Friday May 22, 2020 18:22 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Recreational spot shrimp fishery scheduled to open May 28 in some Puget Sound areas, June 11 in others


OLYMPIA – Some areas in Puget Sound are scheduled to open for recreational spot shrimp fishing on May 28, while other areas within central Puget Sound and Hood Canal are scheduled to open June 11 under seasons announced today by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The process of finalizing dates this year has taken longer than usual due to COVID-19 related challenges and public health considerations, said Don Velasquez, a shellfish biologist for WDFW.

"It took a lot of coordination, but we are happy to have found a way to work with communities to offer shrimp fishing and the peace of mind that comes with a day outside on the water," said Velasquez.

The dates approved reflect a conscious effort to offer opportunities to harvest while still abiding by public health recommendations, such as keeping participants distributed, allowing physical distancing, limiting travel and discouraging overnight stays, he added.

WDFW is asking for cooperation from shrimp fishers to reduce risk.  "Patience and courtesy will be needed at boat ramps and launches," said Velasquez. "Shrimp fishers should allow extra time for launching their boats to adhere to health authorities' advice for physical distancing."

All shrimp -- including spot, dock, coonstripe, and pink shrimp -- can be kept as part of the daily limit. However, because only larger mesh (1 inch) traps are allowed during these seasons, most harvest will be spot shrimp, said Velasquez. Also known as prawns, spot shrimp are the largest shrimp in Puget Sound and may grow up to nine inches in length.

2020 Puget Sound recreational spot shrimp seasons are as follows:

Marine Area 4 remains closed
Marine Area 5 (western Strait of Juan de Fuca): Open daily beginning May 28, daylight hours. The recreational spot shrimp season closes when the quota is met.
Marine Area 6 (Port Angeles Harbor, eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, excluding the Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open May 28, June 1-13 (daily), and then Thursdays through Sundays each week beginning June 18 until quota is met. Daylight hours.
Marine Area 6 (Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 11, 15 and 28.
Marine Area 7 South (Iceberg Point, Point Colville, Biz Point, Salmon Bank): Open May 28 and June 1, 11, 15, 26, 28 and 30. Daylight hours.
Marine Area 7 East (northern Rosario Strait, Bellingham Bay, Sucia and Matia islands, Strait of Georgia): Open May 28 and June 1, 11, 15, 26, 28 and 30. Daylight hours.
Marine Area 7 West (San Juan Channel, Speiden Channel, Stuart and Waldron islands): Open May 28, June 1-13 (daily), and then Thursdays through Sundays each week beginning June 18 until quota is met. Daylight hours.
Marine Areas 8-1 (Saratoga Passage, Deception Pass) and 8-2 (Port Susan, Port Gardner, Everett): Open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 11.
Marine Area 9 (Edmonds, Port Townsend Bay, Admiralty Inlet): Open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 11.
Marine Area 10 (Elliott Bay): Open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 11 (this is the portion of Marine Area 10 east of a line from West Point to Alki Point).
Marine Area 10 (outside Elliott Bay): Open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on June 11 (this is the portion of Marine Area 10 west of a line from West Point to Alki Point, which includes the Bainbridge Island shrimp fishing grounds).
Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island): Open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 11.
Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal Shrimp District): Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 11, 15, 26, 28 and July 15, 28.
Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound, Carr Inlet): Closed for spot shrimp harvest this season due to low abundance.
Additional dates and times may be announced if enough quota remains after the initial fishing days listed above.

In all areas of Puget Sound fishers are limited to 80 shrimp a day (if open) during the month of May. Beginning June 1, the daily limit is 10 pounds of all shrimp with a maximum of 80 spot shrimp.

A valid 2020-21 combination license, shellfish license, or Fish Washington license is required to participate in the fishery.

Velasquez reminds shrimpers that traps can be set one hour before official sunrise during any open period in the marine areas without specified harvest hours. These include marine areas 5, 6 (except for the Discovery Bay Shrimp District), 7 East, 7 South, and 7 West.

The pots must be removed from the water in these same areas by one hour after sunset at the end of an open period. The start and end times for all other areas are listed above.

More information on recreational shrimp seasons, and a description of the marine areas, is available on WDFW's recreational shrimp fishing website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/shrimp.

Seasons for non-spot shrimping (dock, coonstripe, and pink shrimp only) will begin later this year and will be announced separately.

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, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

For the latest updates on WDFW's response to the coronavirus, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates.

-WDFW-

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

Friday May 22, 2020 18:32 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Some recreational fishing to reopen in Washington's coastal waters
Columbia River crabbing will also open; Marine Area 4 remains closed


OLYMPIA – After two months of closures due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington, many of the state's coastal waters are set to reopen for fishing on May 26, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

Marine areas 1-3, including Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, will open for bottomfish, shellfish, mussels, clams, oysters, and other species as described in the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet. Crabbing on the Columbia River is also set to resume under normal regulations on May 26.

Halibut and razor clam harvest will remain closed in these areas for now due to continued port closures and concerns about the spread of coronavirus in local communities.

Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay) also remains closed to all recreational fishing and shellfish harvesting.

WDFW continues to communicate with public health experts, port commissioners, and tribal co-managers regarding these opportunities in the future.

"We've continually said we will only open fisheries when local communities feel it is safe to do so, and with the full cooperation of public health officials," said Larry Phillips, director of WDFW's coastal region. "While not everything is reopening right away, this is a huge step toward returning to typical fishing seasons along the coast. Some of Washington's best fishing takes place in the ocean, and we're excited to see people getting back out there, even if the experience is somewhat different."

The open marine areas include waters off Washington's Pacific coast from the mouth of the Columbia River on the Washington-Oregon border north to Cape Alava on the Olympic Peninsula, as well as Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor.

Anglers should check ahead of time if their preferred destination or launch is open. Some local marinas or facilities – including tribal lands – remain closed, and anglers should be prepared to change plans if their first choice is closed or too congested.

Notably, the Makah and Quileute reservations, including marinas and all services, remain closed to visitors. Anglers should not attempt to access the ocean from these areas.

Additional fishery closures may be implemented if anglers attempt to launch from closed access sites.

Anglers will also need to follow state guidelines by continuing to recreate in their local communities, traveling only with family or other members of their immediate household, and practicing physical distancing by keeping 6 feet apart.

"We're reopening in consultation with local public health officials, and consistent with the governor's phased approach," Phillips said. "It's extremely important that we all continue to do our part to keep ourselves and our communities safe and healthy."

Coastal razor clam digs will remain closed. The governor's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order prohibits large gatherings through May 31. Razor clam digs can draw thousands to congregate in small coastal communities and on public beaches.

Clam, mussel, and oyster harvest also remains closed on Puget Sound beaches (marine areas 5-13) at this time.

The Governor's Office authorized guide and charter fishing services to reopen on May 14, though they are subject to a number of new requirements, including a limit on the number of passengers depending on their home county's phase of reopening.  More information about those requirements can be found at http://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19Phase1and2OutdoorRecreationGuidance.pdf.

Anglers interested in booking a trip with a charter or guide should check in with the operator regarding their availability. WDFW and charter/guiding industry representatives continue to work with the Governor's Office to reopen operations under the phased approach to outdoor recreation. Many of these businesses, which are critical to the economic stability of coastal communities, are currently restricted or not operating at full capacity. 

As always, anglers should check the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations and WDFW's emergency rules page at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ before heading out, and download the Fish Washington mobile app for up-to-date regulations at their destination.

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, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

-WDFW-

052420 51561

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