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PostWed Dec 05, 2018 7:04 pm 
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Wednesday December 05, 2018 18:53 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Fishers released in North Cascades: Elusive carnivores once considered extinct in Washington state


SEDRO WOOLLEY, WA – State, federal, and partner biologists released six fishers today in the Skagit River watershed of Ross Lake National Recreation Area, a unit of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex, as part of an effort to restore the species to Washington state. This is the first release in the North Cascades.

Fishers are about the size of a house cat and are members of the weasel family. They were eliminated from Washington by the mid-1900s through over-trapping and habitat loss.  Fishers are currently listed as an endangered species by the state, and are being reviewed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

A voluntary fisher conservation program is available to private forest landowners that provides regulatory assurances should the species become listed. To date 49 landowners have enrolled 2.98 million acres in fisher conservation. Fisher reintroduction efforts occurred in recent years on the Olympic Peninsula and near Mount Rainier in the South Cascades.

The five females and one male released today 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 over time. Conservation Northwest supports ongoing fisher monitoring with volunteers and remote cameras through its Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project.

In late 2015 and early 2016, 23 fishers, including 11 females and 12 males were released in Washington’s southern Cascades in Gifford Pinchot National Forest (GPNF). In late 2016 and early 2017, 46 fishers were released in nearby areas of GPNF and in Mount Rainier National Park. Since then, monitoring efforts show released animals have successfully established themselves throughout the Olympic Peninsula and the southern Cascades, and have begun to reproduce.

Joining the partners in today’s event were representatives from the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, Lummi Indian Nation, and Nooksack Indian Tribe. Staff from the offices of Senator Cantwell and Representative DelBene were also in attendance.

“Watching the fishers return to their native forests of North Cascades National Park Service Complex after a long absence was inspiring,” said Karen Taylor-Goodrich, North Cascades National Park Service Complex Superintendent. “It was an honor to have the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, Lummi Indian Nation, and Nooksack Indian Tribe attend, bringing their blessings and songs.”

“We are excited to work with so many committed people to reintroduce fishers into another area where they have lived historically,” said Hannah Anderson, WDFW’s listing and recovery manager. “Fisher enthusiasts ranging across nations have come together to work toward robust wildlife populations with the reintroduction of these animals in Washington.”

Fishers are related to wolverines and otters and are native to the forests of Washington, including the Cascade mountain range. This elusive carnivore preys on various small mammals – mountain beavers, squirrels and snowshoe hares – and is one of the few predators of porcupines.

“The North Cascades are a wild and iconic piece of the Pacific Northwest’s natural heritage and today they’re wilder and healthier with the return of the fisher to North Cascades National Park Service Complex,” said Mitch Friedman, Executive Director of Conservation Northwest. “We’re thrilled to be a part of this historic reintroduction effort, and thankful to all the scientists, agencies, and supporters who made it possible.”

“As one of Canada’s leading conservation organizations, we are delighted to lend our expertise in the field of reintroduction science to this international collaboration focusing on this endangered species,” says Dr. Clément Lanthier, president and CEO, Calgary Zoo. “Fishers know no borders and it is only we when work together without divisions that we can truly make a difference for species at risk around the world.”

The state recovery and implementation plans for fisher reintroduction in the Cascades can be found at: http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisher/reintroduction_cascades.html

Support and funding for fisher reintroductions comes from WDFW, NPS, Conservation Northwest, 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.

[See photos of wildlife biologists and volunteers releasing a fisher at the Newhalem Visitor Center at https://wdfw.wa.gov/news/attach/dec0518a_01.jpg and https://wdfw.wa.gov/news/attach/dec0518a_02.jpg]

-WDFW-

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Anne Elk
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PostThu Dec 06, 2018 1:27 am 
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I wonder how long it will take before the WDFW has to go on a cull because of fisher predation on various chicken coops in Maple Falls, Concrete and Darrington?  Chicken ranchers will be furious that they weren't consulted about this. Certain critters were eliminated for a reason, ya know. Just ask those ranchers over in eastern WA.
Sorry, I had to snark about that.  vent.gif I haven't even looked at the wolf thread, it's so upsetting.

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PostFri Dec 07, 2018 7:54 pm 
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Pure speculation on my part, but I would guess that the demise of the fisher most likely had more to do with trapping for fur than for the purpose of eliminating a predator of chickens.

The North West Company (later Hudson's Bay Company), under the auspices of the British Crown, engaged in a military-style campaign to trap out every river and creek in what are now the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to discourage settlement by the Americans.
The thinking at the time was that the land, being hilly and tree-covered, had no hope of being agriculturally productive and the only thing that would attract any settlement was the abundance of fur-bearing animals.

I don't know what would be upsetting about the "Wolf Thread", other than the fact that WDFW is just now figuring out that there is no such thing as "management" other than by eliminating entire packs after the animals have figured out that the local cattle rancher is providing them an easy meal ticket, and that millions of tax dollars are being wasted on a nonsensical farce.

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PostFri Dec 07, 2018 7:58 pm 
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Friday December 07, 2018 15:54 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW seeks public participation in South Puget Sound Wildlife Area plan


OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will hold a public workshop Dec.19 to kick off an updated planning process for the South Puget Sound Wildlife Area in western Washington.

The workshop is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m., Dec. 19, at North Mason High School, 150 E. North Mason School Road, Belfair.

The wildlife area consists of seven separate units that cover roughly 5,560 acres in Mason, Kitsap, Pierce, and Thurston counties. The management plan will address the status of wildlife species and their habitat, wildlife restoration efforts, and public recreation, said Darric Lowery, wildlife area manager.

At the upcoming meeting, WDFW staff members will review the wildlife area's history, discuss the planning process, and ask for public comments, Lowery said.

"We want to hear from the public about how people use this area as well as what recreation and natural resource values are important to them," he said. “We’re also looking for interested citizens to sit on the wildlife area advisory committee.”

The South Puget Sound Wildlife Area advisory committee guides development of the wildlife area plan and ongoing management activities, including those involving volunteers, Lowery said. Those interested in serving on the committee can contact him at 360-701-5145 or darric.lowery@dfw.wa.gov

Lowery said the public will also have opportunities to comment at upcoming advisory committee meetings and when the draft plan is developed.

Information on the wildlife area's seven units is available on WDFW's website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/south_puget_sound/.

-WDFW-

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Anne Elk
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PostSun Dec 09, 2018 2:22 pm 
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Ski wrote:
I would guess that the demise of the fisher most likely had more to do with trapping for fur than for the purpose of eliminating a predator of chickens.

Aw, gee, Ski.  Of course.  But you weren't appreciating my cynical humor there.  frown.gif

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PostMon Dec 10, 2018 2:09 am 
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Sorry... sometimes my own cynicism causes me to be a bit thick.

I'm at a loss for words on the wolf thing... my understanding has always been that the people calling the shots at WDFW and USFWS were educated, intelligent, and reasonable people.
I have to wonder if they're so mired down in their own folly that they are unable to grasp how absolutely ridiculous the whole sham has become.

I hope you're planning on attending the social on Friday.

BK

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PostThu Dec 13, 2018 11:22 am 
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Tuesday December 11, 2018 12:31 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Commission to hear public input on Columbia River salmon, sturgeon policies


OLYMPIA – The public will have an opportunity to provide comment on a recent review of a policy that guides management of Columbia River salmon at an upcoming Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting in Olympia.

In addition, the commission will take public comment on a management policy for sturgeon in the lower Columbia River.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will meet Dec. 14-15 in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday and at 8 a.m. Saturday.

A full agenda is available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html.

On Saturday, the commission will discuss a recently completed review of the Columbia River Basin Salmon Management Policy, next steps in the process – including achieving concurrency with Oregon for 2019 – and take comments from the public. The 5-year-old policy was designed to promote orderly fisheries, wild salmon and steelhead conservation, and economic stability in fisheries.

Strategies for achieving those goals included allocating more salmon to sport fisheries, promoting the use of alternative fishing gear in commercial fisheries and increasing the production/releases of salmon in the off-channel areas. The recent review, available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/, assessed the results of these and other provisions of that policy.

Also on Saturday, the commission will receive a briefing and take public comments on the Lower Columbia River Sturgeon Policy, including potential updates. The policy provides guidelines to promote a healthy white sturgeon population and sustainable fisheries in the lower Columbia River.

In other action, the commission will consider two land transactions, one of which would add 140 acres near Merrill Lake in Cowlitz County to the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area. About 30 of those acres would be donated to the state by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, while the remaining land would be purchased with a grant from the state Recreation and Conservation Office.

Also during the two-day meeting, the commission will take public comment on the North of Falcon salmon-season setting policy.

In other business, WDFW staff will brief the commission on seal and sea lion predation on salmon and steelhead, and the status of the abalone population in Washington.

-WDFW-

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PostThu Dec 20, 2018 6:31 am 
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Friday December 14, 2018 15:56 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Randi Thurston, (360) 902-2602

WDFW seeks members for advisory group on hydraulic regulations that protect fish life


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking candidates to fill up to 11 positions on a citizen group that advises the department in administering a state law designed to protect fish life in Washington waters.

That law, known as the Hydraulic Code, has been in effect since 1943 to ensure that projects such as bulkheads, culverts, and dock construction meet state standards for fish and shellfish protection.

The department will accept applications and nominations to its Hydraulic Code Implementation Citizen Advisory Group through Jan. 16, 2019.

The advisory board provides input to WDFW staff on implementation of the Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) permitting program to:

Maintain and improve consistency and effectiveness of the HPA program.
Improve the soundness of permits.
Increase public understanding about the importance of the HPA in protecting fish life.
Improve HPA implementation outcomes for fish and people.
Randi Thurston, WDFW protection division manager, said the advisory group includes representation by environmentalists, landowners, contractors, mineral prospectors, salmon-recovery groups, foresters, and others affected by HPA rules.

"We count on our advisory group members to let us know whether our implementation of the HPA permitting program meets their needs and provides adequate protection for fish life," Thurston said. "This input is critical in helping WDFW meet the needs of both fish and the people affected by these regulations."

The advisory group also provides recommendations on operational procedures, compliance, consistency, outcomes, and communications with the public, she said.

Applications and nominations must be submitted in writing and address the following items:

The applicant or nominee's name, address, telephone number, and email address. (People or groups making nominations must also submit their own names and contact information.)
The candidate's relevant experience, organizational affiliations, and reasons why they would be an effective advisory group member.
Familiarity with Washington's HPA permitting program and issues with HPA implementation.
A written response to one of the following topics: 1) The biggest challenges facing WDFW in permitting of hydraulic projects, or 2) Ways WDFW can improve the administration of the HPA program.
Application letters must be received by WDFW no later than 5 p.m. Jan. 16, 2019. Submit applications and nominations by email to randi.thurston@dfw.wa.gov, or send them to:

Attn: Randi Thurston
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
P.O. Box 43200
Olympia, WA  98504-3200

WDFW will conduct phone interviews with prospective candidates and appoint new members before the March 14, 2019 meeting of the group. Contact Ms. Thurston at (360) 902-2602 or randi.thurston@dfw.wa.gov with questions about this opportunity.

More information about the advisory group is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/HCICAG/. The department's HPA program website is located at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/hpa/.

-WDFW-

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Friday December 14, 2018 19:08 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Chad Herring, 360-249-1299

WDFW seeks nominations for Grays Harbor salmon advisory group


OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking nominations through Jan. 11 for membership on its advisory group for salmon management in Grays Harbor.

The advisory group consists of up to 12 members. The group advises WDFW on policy issues associated with conservation and management of salmon stocks in the Grays Harbor watershed.

While the advisory group focuses primarily on salmon management, it also advises the department on issues associated with steelhead and sturgeon management in the watershed, said Chad Herring, regional fish policy analyst for WDFW.

"We are looking for representatives from recreational and commercial fishing groups as well as conservation and habitat organizations," Herring said.

The advisory group typically meets approximately six times a year with most meetings scheduled January through April in conjunction with the annual salmon season-setting process, known as North of Falcon. The advisory group also will be asked to provide feedback on management actions considered during the salmon fishing season.

Advisors may be asked to comment on written material throughout the year. Advisors serve two-year terms and can be re-appointed. Current members are encouraged to reapply. Appointments become effective in February 2019. Advisors do not receive compensation for their work.

Any group or individual can nominate a candidate to the advisory group. Self-nominations are also accepted. Nominees do not need to be affiliated with an organized group. Nominations must include the following information:

The nominee's name, address and telephone number.
The nominee's affiliations, if any.
The name, address and telephone number of any organization submitting a nomination.
Experience, including the type of experience, and any species or areas of interest, as well as references.
Nominations to the Grays Harbor Salmon advisory group must be received by Jan. 11, 2019. Nominations may be submitted to Chad Herring by mail: 48 Devonshire Road, Montesano, WA, 98563; or by email at Chad.Herring@dfw.wa.gov. More information is available by contacting Chad Herring at 360-249-1299.

-WDFW-

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PostWed Jun 19, 2019 8:31 am 
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Wednesday June 19, 2019 09:18 PDT

WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE 

Anderson Lake in Jefferson County will close to fishing


Action: Closes Anderson Lake (Jefferson County) to fishing.

Effective date: June 20 until further notice.

Species affected: All species.

Location: Anderson Lake (Jefferson County), located in Anderson Lake State Park.

Reason for action: Toxins produced from blue-green algae blooms have risen far above levels safe for recreation. As a result, Washington State Parks has closed the lake to recreational access. Given the extreme danger of being in contact with toxins in the water, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is also closing the lake to fishing until further notice.

Additional information: The Jefferson County Public Health Department provides information on algae blooms in Jefferson County and regular updates on the status of Anderson Lake on their website: https://www.jeffersoncountypublichealth.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=305

Information contact: Mark Downen, 360-202-7005

-WDFW-

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PostThu Jun 27, 2019 4:20 pm 
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Thursday June 27, 2019 16:40 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW seeks public input on 38-acre Duckabush restoration project


OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public input on a proposed restoration project on the Duckabush River estuary in Jefferson County. The project would reconnect the Duckabush River to neighboring floodplains and wetlands by modifying local roads and elevating Highway 101 onto a bridge spanning the area where freshwater from the Duckabush River meets saltwater of Hood Canal.

WDFW will collect public comments to help identify what to evaluate in a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from June 27 to July 26, 2019. People can provide their input online, by mail, or in person. Comments should be succinct and focus on impacts that could significantly affect the environment.

Community members are invited to join WDFW staff at a public meeting on Saturday, July 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Brinnon School (46 Schoolhouse Rd., Brinnon, WA 98320). Comment forms will be available at the meeting.

The Duckabush River estuary is impacted by fill, dikes, and road infrastructure, including Highway 101, which blocks water channels and limits habitat for fish and wildlife.

"Healthy estuary and wetland habitats are rare in Puget Sound due to extensive development over the last century," said Theresa Mitchell, WDFW environmental planner. "It's exciting to realize there is this opportunity to restore important habitat in the Duckabush. This project has the potential to provide long-lasting benefits to fish, wildlife, and people."

WDFW is working in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group on the proposed restoration project.

"This estuary restoration project has the potential to greatly improve conditions for multiple species of salmon, including endangered Hood Canal summer chum," said Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group Executive Director Mendy Harlow. "We look forward to continuing our long-term efforts working with landowners in the Duckabush area to communicate the importance of this project to the Hood Canal ecosystem."

More information on the project, including an online comment form, is available on the WDFW website: https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/habitat-recovery/nearshore/conservation/projects/duckabush.

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-

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PostFri Jun 28, 2019 4:48 pm 
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Friday June 28, 2019 17:06 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW restricts campfires, other activities in eastern Washington wildlife areas and water access areas


SPOKANE – The impending arrival of hot, dry weather has prompted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to restrict campfires and other activities on department-managed lands in eastern Washington beginning July 1.

Cynthia Wilkerson, manager of the WDFW Lands Division, says these restrictions help to reduce the risk of fire in state wildlife areas and access areas.

"Observing fire restrictions and exercising common sense will go a long way toward preserving public recreation lands, wildlife habitat, and safety for local communities and the recreating public," Wilkerson said.

A temporary restriction on firearm use also starts Monday, July 1 on WDFW-managed lands. Target shooting and other gun use will be prohibited, but discharge of a firearm for legal hunting will still be permitted.

Overall, the emergency order that imposes restrictions east of the Cascades prohibits:

Fires or campfires, including those in fire rings. Personal camp stoves and lanterns fueled by propane, liquid petroleum, or liquid petroleum gas are allowed.

Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle.

The discharge of firearms for target-shooting or other purposes by anyone not engaged in lawful hunting.

Welding and operating chainsaws, including the use of an acetylene torch or other open flame.

Operating a motor vehicle away from developed roads. Parking is permitted within designated parking areas, including developed campgrounds and trailheads; and in areas without vegetation that are within 10 feet of roadways.

All temporary restrictions will remain in effect until the risk of wildfire decreases, Wilkerson said. Any changes to these restrictions will be posted on the department's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov.

Fireworks are prohibited year-round at all 33 WDFW wildlife areas and 600-plus water access areas around the state. Throwing a lit cigarette or any other burning material from a motor vehicle on a state highway is also prohibited year-round.

WDFW stewards over 700,000 acres of public land in eastern Washington which are managed to protect lands and water for wildlife and people. For more information about fires and fire prevention on public lands, visit the Washington Department of Natural Resources' website (http://www.dnr.wa.gov) or the U.S. Forest Service website (http://www.fs.usda.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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PostFri Jun 28, 2019 7:01 pm 
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* be sure to see notice of 06/28/19 just above regarding fire restrictions *

Friday June 28, 2019 17:13 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Washington's 2019-2020 fishing regulations now available


OLYMPIA - Start planning for your next fishing trip with the 2019-2020 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, now available from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The new pamphlet is effective July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, and features rules and regulations for hundreds of lakes, rivers, and marine areas around the state, as well as species including trout, salmon, shellfish, sturgeon, and many more.

The regulations are available online now at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations, and at hundreds of license dealers and WDFW offices throughout Washington. Find a WDFW license dealer near you at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/dealers.

Some of the changes to this year's regulations that anglers should be aware of include:

Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement: Beginning July 1, the Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead endorsement is no longer required to fish for salmon or steelhead on the Columbia River and its tributaries.

Smelt: Beginning July 1, a saltwater or combination license is now required for anglers fishing for smelt in saltwater. Previously, a license was not required if fishing for smelt in saltwater.

Barbless hooks: Barbless hooks are no longer required when fishing for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River mainstem from the mouth (Buoy 10) to Chief Joseph Dam, and all tributaries from the mouth to McNary Dam.

Additionally, the Legislature this year approved new boating regulations meant to protect endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. All boaters must stay 400 yards away when in front of or behind orcas, and 300 yards away at all other times. Any boat within a half-mile of the whales must also reduce speed to 7 knots or less. Learn more about WDFW's orca conservation efforts at https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/at-risk/species-recovery/orca.

WDFW issues updates and corrections to the pamphlet as needed. Before you go, be sure to review these changes by visiting https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations and selecting "2019-2020 sport fishing rules."

Anglers can also stay up to date with regulations by downloading the Fish Washington mobile app on their smartphone. More information can be found at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/app.

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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PostMon Jul 01, 2019 10:22 pm 
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Monday July 1, 2019 15:03 PDT

NEWS RELEASE

Commission approves changes to fall bear-hunting rules


OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved changes to the fall bear-hunting rules during their conference call on June 28.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), asked department staff to review and provide a recommendation for black bear season rule changes at a meeting earlier this year.

At the June meeting in Port Angeles, department staff presented two recommendations to simplify bear regulations and make them consistent statewide.

The first recommended change standardized the statewide season start date to Aug. 1. The new season start date provides more hunting days in six of the 11 hunting areas. The second change standardized a two bear bag limit statewide. The previous rule allowed for harvest of two bears during the season, but only one could be from the east side of the state.

"Our field biologists are currently conducting new hair snare monitoring in two districts to learn more about our current black bear populations," said Eric Gardner, WDFW wildlife program director. "We chose to bring these two changes forward because they will simplify the regulations and have little impact on our goal of maintaining sustainable black bear populations in Washington."

The commission approved the rule changes with a 6-1 vote. The changes will take effect Aug. 1, 2019.

WDFW staff will continue hair snare monitoring for several years. This monitoring will inform WDFW's black bear management and provide better information to assess Washington's black bear populations.

"We'd like to remind hunters that they are required to report on their black bear season through the WILD System by Jan. 31, 2020," said Gardner. "Also, we'd like to remind hunters to submit the bear tooth samples on or before the January date as well. Submitting these reports and samples improves our harvest data quality, which informs our black bear management decisions."

WDFW will seek additional public comment when they consider changes to all hunting related rules during the three-year season setting process in summer 2020.

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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PostTue Jul 02, 2019 5:19 pm 
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Tuesday July 2, 2019 17:12 PDT

WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE 

Chehalis River and tributaries to close to fishing


Action: Closes Chehalis River, South Fork Chehalis River, North Fork Newaukum River, South Fork Newaukum River, and Skookumchuck River to fishing.

Effective date: Immediately until further notice.

Species affected: All species.

Location: Chehalis River, South Fork Chehalis River, North Fork Newaukum River, South Fork Newaukum River and Skookumchuck River.

Reason for action: Streams and rivers where spring Chinook hold and stage through the summer are experiencing lower than normal stream flows. Spring Chinook hold and stage in the Chehalis River, South Fork Chehalis River, north and south forks of the Newaukum River and the Skookumchuck River. Low stream flows decrease holding and staging refuges and elevate vulnerability and pressure on these Chinook. Any encounters of spring Chinook could subject these fish to stress, injury, or death.

Additional information: Please see the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet or visit the WDFW website at wdfw.wa.gov for additional fishing opportunities and regulations.

Information contact: Chad Herring, Willapa Bay/Grays Harbor Fishery Policy Lead Region 6, 360-249-4628, ext. 299.

-WDFW-

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostTue Aug 13, 2019 1:12 pm 
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Tuesday August 13, 2019 12:42 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW partners with Forterra and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to protect 4,486 acres of land near Yakima for wildlife and people


YAKIMA – Working closely with Forterra and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recently finalized the purchase of 4,486 acres of land near Yakima in the foothills of the eastern Cascades. WDFW will manage the new property as an addition to the Cowiche Unit of the Oak Creek Wildlife Area.

The site serves as key habitat and a migration corridor for an astonishing array of species, including mule deer, elk, Neotropical birds, raptors, bats, and more than 70 butterfly species. The expanded Cowiche Unit will also conserve more than seven miles of Cowiche Creek, an important spawning and rearing habitat for bull trout, coho, and chinook salmon.

Recreational opportunities are abundant on the new property, and include hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, and bird watching. The low-elevation and close proximity to Yakima make it an ideal destination for local outdoor recreationists and visitors.

"This property is an important link to surrounding state, federal, and private conservation lands," said Mike Livingston, WDFW's south central regional director. "With the help of our partners RMEF and Forterra, we're able to permanently protect the area where up to 2,000 Rocky Mountain elk migrate between their summer and winter ranges, and where elk calves are born each year."

RMEF took the lead on negotiations with the landowner, the Van Wyk family, starting in the early 2000s and solidified a path forward in 2017.

"This is the latest example of RMEF's work with partners to protect a key elk migration route where butterflies are also known to migrate. The project is built on RMEF and WDFW's history of securing quality public access in the East Slope of the Cascades," says Jennifer Doherty, RMEF's director of lands. "While this project was an important step toward protecting this landscape for wildlife and recreationists, we need to recognize and thank Van Wyk family members for their vision to protect this land."

Forterra, a nonprofit land conservation organization, stepped up to meet the cost obligations necessary to make the final transaction happen. In addition, for the first time on WDFW-managed lands, Forterra will hold a stewardship easement on the property, which allows the organization to work closely with WDFW to conduct restoration and maintenance work. To help pay for this stewardship and cover transaction costs, Forterra needs to raise $300,000, and has launched a fundraising effort to that end.

"The Van Wyk property is more than a stunning stretch of stream, steppe, and forest," said Michelle Connor, President and CEO of Forterra. "It's a puzzle piece that connects all of the protected land surrounding it. In the face of climate change, species like the elk and butterfly found here will rely more and more on un-fragmented ecosystems like this one. We're thrilled to help secure this special place, and we look forward to working with the state to protect it for generations to come."

WDFW used funds from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service habitat grant and a Pacific Power mitigation agreement to make their portion of the purchase.

"PacifiCorp's commitment to enhancing wildlife habitat in areas we serve is a keystone of our overall dedication to environmental stewardship," said Brian King, PacifiCorp environmental manager. "It is great to work with partners such as Forterra, WDFW, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to help conserve habitat in the essential Cowiche corridor. The funding provided is part of a mitigation agreement connected with PacifiCorp's major transmission project in the area. We are balancing economic development, improving service reliability, and conserving wildlife habitat through this innovative agreement."

WDFW actively manages approximately 1 million acres of land and over 600 water access sites 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 outdoor recreation opportunities.

-WDFW-

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