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PostTue Feb 02, 2021 6:15 pm 
Tuesday February 2, 2021 15:18 PST

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW Police save and release illegally trapped bald eagle; refer charges to Clallam County

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police (WDFW) last week referred charges to the Clallam County Prosecutor against an individual who, among other trapping violations, had trapped a bald eagle with illegal steel jawed leghold traps.

In November 2020, WDFW Police received a report of a domestic dog that had become trapped in a steel jawed leghold trap. The dog’s owners had managed to free the dog but reported that a bald eagle was also caught in another trap just feet away.

WDFW Police Sgt. Rosenberger responded and found a mature bald eagle struggling to free it’s talon from one of the traps. The sergeant was able to immobilize the eagle, remove it from the trap and assess for injuries.

“Thankfully the bald eagle didn’t have any injuries or broken bones,” said Sgt. Rosenberger. “This was a rare poaching incident where the poached animal was still alive and able to be released back into the wild immediately on-site. It was a once-in-a-career event watching the eagle take flight on a crisp sunny day with the surrounding hills colored by fall leaves.”

WDFW officers monitored the trapping site and seized additional illegal traps. The WDFW officer’s investigation led them to a suspect who resides in Clallam County. The suspect admitted to WDFW officers during an interview to setting several unpadded steel jawed leghold traps and wire snares, which were used to capture and kill two coyotes. WDFW Police have now referred 16 criminal charges against the individual to the Clallam County Prosecutor’s office.

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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PostSat Apr 03, 2021 7:27 pm 
Friday, April 2, 2021 15:48 PDT

Public comment period extended for non-native game fish policy development

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is extending an opportunity for the public to weigh in on development of a policy to guide statewide management of non-native game fish species.

The public comment period, previously scheduled to run through April 5, 2021, will now close at the end of the day on May 5, 2021. The comment extension comes after stakeholders requested more time to submit comments on the draft version of the policy.

“This is an important policy, and extending the comment period will help ensure that people have an opportunity to provide feedback on this draft,” said Steve Caromile, WDFW’s Inland Fish Program manager.

Non-native game fish is a category that includes species such as bass, walleye, catfish, crappie, and some trout. Many are popular options for anglers in Washington and can provide economic and biological benefits, but can also affect local ecosystems and native fish populations.

The public can provide comment on the draft policy on the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/non-native-game-fish. WDFW also hosted a public meeting to discuss the draft policy on March 16; a recording of that presentation can be viewed at

If you are unable to access the survey online and need to request a paper copy of the survey, call 360-902-0045. Written comments may be mailed to:

Fish Program
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
PO Box 43200
Olympia, WA 98504

-WDFW-

70805

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PostMon Apr 05, 2021 5:36 pm 
Monday April 5, 2021 16:35 Pdt

WDFW plans Eastern Washington prescribed burns to improve habitat, reduce wildfire risk

Annual prescribed burns on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) lands in eastern Washington are planned to start in April, as conditions allow. Controlled fire reduces the risk of wildfire and improves habitat for animals such as deer, elk, and bighorn sheep.

Prescribed fire is a WDFW forest management practice that burns off accumulations of vegetation and logging debris to create a more healthy forest, both which reduce the risk of high-intensity wildfires that destroy wildlife habitat and devastate communities, like the wildfires that swept through eastern Washington in September of 2020.

“Conducting these prescribed fires helps us to preserve ecosystems, restore nutrients, and leads to more desirable plant growth in the future,” said WDFW Lands Division Manager Cynthia Wilkerson. “In 2021, we’re planning to treat 2,700 acres of WDFW-managed public lands with prescribed fire, or restoration fires, as we sometimes call them. With WDFW lands often located in critical mid-elevation locations close to communities, this work is particularly important to protect habitats and public safety.”

WDFW manages one million acres of public lands and operates two prescribed fire management teams, including five full-time foresters and 18 burn-team members.

Prescribed fires in the following areas will begin in the coming month, weather permitting:

Sherman Creek Wildlife Area, 524 acres in Ferry County, 10 mile west of Kettle Falls
Rustlers Gulch Wildlife Area, 523 acres in Pend Oreille County, 15 miles southwest of Newport
Methow Wildlife Area, 248 acres in Okanogan County, 10 miles northeast of Winthrop
Colockum Wildlife Area, 500 acres in Chelan County, 10 miles southeast of Wenatchee
Oak Creek Wildlife Area, 90 acres in Yakima County, 15 miles west of Naches
Grouse Flats Wildlife Area, 400 acres in Asotin County, 40 miles southwest of Clarkston
4-O Wildlife Area, 387 acres in Asotin County, 45 miles southwest of Clarkston.
Additional burns on department-managed lands in eastern Washington could be announced as conditions allow. Signs will be posted in advance of each burn to inform recreationists about the fires.

Public safety is a major consideration for the controlled burns. They are monitored continuously until out. And, while crews burn when conditions are favorable, smoke can still impact visibility. People living, working or recreating in areas where burning is taking place are asked to keep an eye out for fire equipment and personnel and slow down if experiencing reduced visibility on roadways.

-WDFW-

70939

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PostTue Apr 06, 2021 1:03 pm 
RE: WDFW plans Eastern Washington prescribed burns to improve habitat, reduce wildfire risk

From: Ski
Sent: Monday, April 5, 2021 6:09 PM
To: Lehman, Staci E (DFW)
Subject: WDFW plans Eastern Washington prescribed burns to improve habitat, reduce wildfire risk (WDFW 04/05/21 16:35 PDT)

Ms. Staci Lehman

WDFW

As I said to Mr. Eberlein on the phone a few minutes ago:

I FULLY SUPPORT and ENCOURAGE more prescribed burns on ALL public lands (not just WDFW, but also DNR, USFS, NPS, and BLM lands as well.)

Considering the fact that the native American inhabitants of the North American continent used fire as a landscape management tool for millennia in the pre-Columbian era, it is delusional fantasy to believe that at some point in the distant past what is now the continental United States was covered from sea to shining sea with lush, verdant forest.

Fire reduces the understory fuel load, reducing the possibility of wildfire.

Fire is an effective means of eliminating non-indigenous invasive species without resorting to the use of toxic chemicals.

Per Mr. Eberlein, several of the proposed units are timbered, and host a mix of Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir (and other species.) Both the Ponderosa Pine and the Douglas Fir have been genetically “engineered” to withstand the effects of ground fires, and they’ll do just fine if you ignite the understory growth.

I’ve been regularly visiting the “West Rocky Prairie Wildlife Area” unit near Maytown (here on the west side), and I am seeing WDFW making a herculean effort to contain and eradicate the non-native Scotch Broom (Cytisus Scoparius) with the use of fire – the only means which is truly effective short of hand-pulling it. I am confident that within a few years, they’ll have it under control, which will allow not only the native species of flora to thrive, but also be of great benefit to the native species of fauna which call the area home.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration

==

From: Lehman, Staci E (DFW)
Sent: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 7:47 AM
To: Ski
Subject: RE: WDFW plans Eastern Washington prescribed burns to improve habitat, reduce wildfire risk (WDFW 04/05/21 16:35 PDT)

Thanks for taking the time to write. It’s helpful to hear from people who support WDFW decisions so we can get a gauge on public perception. Prescribed fire is one of the issues that people are still on the fence about, as you probably know. I put up a Facebook post about it yesterday and got many people saying “great idea” while others are concerned about the fire getting out of control, impacts to wildlife and smoke pollution. So, we will continue to work on our outreach and education about controlled burns.

Thanks again for taking the time and I will pass your email on to those who make decisions so they can see we are getting some support.

Staci Lehman
Communications Manager- Eastern Washington

==

From: Ski
Sent: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 11:58 AM
To: Lehman, Staci E (DFW)
Subject: Re: WDFW plans Eastern Washington prescribed burns to improve habitat, reduce wildfire risk (WDFW 04/05/21 16:35 PDT)

Ms. Staci Lehman
Communications Manager- Eastern Washington
Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife

Dear Staci:

No problem, and you are quite welcome.

There is no question that native American people used fire as a landscape management tool.

Per a contact down at the Trout Lake Ranger Station (USFS)(Cheryl Mack ?), from a phone conversation years ago, they burned all up and down the Cascades from about Mt. Lassen clear up into central British Columbia, beginning about 3000-3500 years ago.

Per communications with two former archaeologists at Olympic National Park, they burned extensively out on those prairies between Forks and Quinault, and out at Ozette. (see “The Ozette Prairies of Olympic National Park: Their Former Uses and Management” © 2009 M. Kat Anderson, Olympic National Park)(The document can be downloaded on the web in *.pdf format)(As near as they were able to ascertain, that activity started approximately 3000-3500 years ago, although there is evidence of human activity on the Olympic Peninsula dating back to about 12,500 years ago.)

In 1902, when Arthur Dodwell and Theodore Rixon – the first USGS surveyors to survey that part of the Olympic Peninsula which is now Olympic National Park, floated out to the coast on the Queets River, they noted in their journals that there were entire townships along the lower end of the Queets River that were burned over. (Bear in mind that the Queets Valley is considered a prime example of temperate “Rain Forest”.)

When French explorers Renè de Laudonnière (1564) and Jean Ribaut (1562) sailed along the coast of what is now Florida, they noted in their journals that the native inhabitants had started huge fires along the coastline, and were out on the beaches dancing and jumping up and down and screaming.

As recently as the early 20th Century, an early U.S. Forest Service ranger noted in his daily journal that he had to run down from his fire lookout and extinguish fires that had been deliberately set by local native tribesmen in what is now the “Indian Heaven Wilderness” (Gifford Pinchot National Forest), and had a difficult time understanding why they were doing it and trying to explain to them why they should not be starting fires.

(Most of the above I’ve cited in a thread on nwhikers.net HERE: http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7963729)

Mr. Buddy Rose, who worked for the U.S. Forest Service at the Randle Ranger District from 1966 until he retired about 30 years later, recently forwarded me his memory of a conversation he had long ago with James K. Agee (author of “Fire Ecology of Pacific Northwest Forests”):

Years ago, in my previous life at the USFS, I talked with James Agee, a fire ecologist from the U of W. He had done a lot of work about fire in the PNW. He said that during the 1400s-1500s, when temps in the Northern Hemisphere were much warmer and it was dryer, virtually all forests in WA burned from the summit of the Cascades to the saltwater. He found evidence of those fires and the timing and noted there were only a few small areas that survived, including around Mt. Rainier, in the Olympic Mtns on the peninsula and in the northern Cascades. Hence, there are very few stands of timber over about 500 yrs of age. Individual trees, yes, but very few blocks of trees together. That was irrespective of Native American burning although it could have been associated with it at times.

I’ve taken the liberty of attaching a document Mr. Rose forwarded to me some time ago regarding fire in the Pacific Northwest.
He also directed me to a book written by Robert Boyd on Native American use of fire: https://osupress.oregonstate.edu/book/indians-fire-and-land-in-pacific-northwest

One Mr. Woodrow R. Clevinger authored an article in The Seattle Times in 1951 about a long-ago-forgotten fire which burned a good portion of southwest Washington: http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=323738#323738

In summary, all evidence indicates that what is now the continental United States was never, at any point during the last 12,000 years, covered by unbroken forest. Rather, it was intensively “managed” with fire by native American tribesmen, primarily for the purpose of making it easier to find food. Additionally, fire was used as a weapon of war (see Clevinger article for speculation on that.)

James K. Agee, and Robert Van Pelt, both considered experts in their fields, have posited that Pacific Northwest forests burned regularly, irrespective of human activity, and irrespective of climate. During the summer of 2015, the lightning caused “Paradise Fire” burned 962 acres in the upper Queets Valley, which by definition is the epitome of “rain forest”.

Ergo: there is NO “natural” state when it concerns the landscape of the North American continent. What we have now, and what existed in the pre-Columbian era, is and always has been an artificial, man-made landscape.

In response to the “concerns” you mention in your communication:

Sometimes fires get out of control. Fortunately it doesn’t happen very often in modern times, due to the very careful and conservative planning done by public lands management agencies. Off the top of my head, I can think of ONE, but I can’t remember the details it’s been so long ago. Perhaps I’ve been misinformed. Have there been enough incidents involving prescribed burns getting out of control on public lands that it even needs to be a matter of concern?

Certainly fire will have some impact on wildlife. Wild animals will run like the devil was chasing them when fire approaches. Certainly there have been tragic mass kills of animals when fires get out of control, as happened recently in Australia, but when you’re talking about the puny little plots that lands management agencies are setting alight with drip torches, those concerns are unwarranted. If the historic use of fire on the North American continent by native American tribesmen had any significant effect on the native fauna, it would have been population increases, as the fires created more foraging habitat.

As to “smoke pollution”, our air is cleaner now than it’s been in over half a century. No longer is the western horizon charcoal gray from the smoke of slash burns all up and down the coast and the Olympic Peninsula, as it was when I was growing up in South Tacoma. In the larger picture, the small parcels that are being burned by lands management agencies are of little consequence.

Thank you again for your time and consideration.

70972

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostWed Apr 07, 2021 6:25 pm 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks for sharing all of this, Ski.

Buddy Rose is an insightful historian, an experienced and knowledgeable forester, a life-long outdoorsman, and a talented writer.  You are in good company collaborating with him.

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PostThu Apr 08, 2021 12:09 pm 
runup check your inbox.

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PostFri Apr 09, 2021 5:47 am 
I will check mine also

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PostFri Apr 09, 2021 9:56 pm 
PM sent 04/09/21 21:56 PDT (GMT - 8hrs)

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PostThu Apr 15, 2021 5:19 pm 
Thursday April 15, 2021 16:17 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW recommends retaining unlisted status for Steller sea lions


OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is taking public input on its state status review for Steller sea lions.

The department removed Steller sea lions from Washington’s threatened species list in 2015.  WDFW biologists at that time assessed Washington Steller sea lions as fully recovered.

Under further periodic review required by state law, agency wildlife managers continue to recommend unlisted status for Steller sea lions given sustained population growth.

“Steller sea lion recovery has met with success in the state, with pup counts rising over the decades under protective status in Washington, and Steller sea lions still protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, said Taylor Cotten, Conservation Assessment section manager at WDFW. “With Steller sea lions recovered, the agency can now devote greater attention to other species in more dire straits.”

Public comment on the report and listing recommendations will be accepted through July 14, 2021. The Steller sea lion report is available at our species status review webpage. https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/at-risk/status-review

WDFW staff members are tentatively scheduled to discuss their reports and recommendations with the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at its August meeting. For meeting dates and times, check the commission webpage at wdfw.wa.gov/commission.

Steller sea lions are the larger of the two sea lion species found in Washington. The species initially received federal protection in 1990. In October 2013, with populations rising from some 18,000 animals in 1979 to more than 70,000, the National Marine Fisheries Services removed Endangered Species Act protections for the population of Steller sea lions living in the area from southeastern Alaska south through Washington and into northern California.

As populations have recovered, increasing numbers of Steller sea lions have travelled up the Columbia River to forage, and can prey on imperiled salmon and steelhead runs at choke points like Bonneville Dam. As a result, state and tribal managers last year received expanded authorization to lethally remove sea lions in a stretch of the lower river.

Although Steller sea lions have been delisted federally and in Washington, the species still receives protection under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Under current status as delisted in Washington, the Steller sea lion continues to be classified as protected wildlife in the state.

Written comments on the reports and recommendations can be submitted via email to TandEpubliccom@dfw.wa.gov or by mail to Taylor Cotten, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

Forty-six species of fish and wildlife are protected as state endangered, threatened or sensitive species.

-WDFW-

==

Thursday April 15, 2021 16:20 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Trout fishing season kicks off April 24 as hundreds of lowland lakes open, trout derby gets underway


OLYMPIA – The statewide trout fishing season heats up beginning April 24, when hundreds of lakes throughout Washington open for business and the annual statewide trout derby kicks off for 2021.

“Many lakes throughout Washington are open for trout year-round, but opening day is a major event that brings people out to fish from all over the state,” said Steve Caromile, Inland Fish Program manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Opening day also marks the beginning of the annual statewide trout derby, where anglers can win prizes by catching tagged trout in lakes across Washington. There are more than 1,000 prizes available in 2021, with a total value of more than $38,000. The derby runs through Oct. 31.

WDFW stocks lakes year-round with a variety of species, including over 16 million trout and kokanee in the past year. Opening-day lakes are often stocked in the days prior to the opening of their six-month season; to see where lakes have been recently stocked, or when lakes in your area may be stocked throughout the year, visit WDFW’s website. https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports/stocking

To participate in the opener and the derby, Washington anglers must have an annual freshwater, combination, or Fish Washington fishing license valid through March 31, 2022. Licenses can be purchased online https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/#/login ; by telephone at 1-866-246-9453; or at hundreds of license dealers across the state. https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/dealers

WDFW asks all anglers to follow responsible recreation ( https://www.recreateresponsibly.org/ ) guidelines by practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and having a backup plan if their preferred destination appears too crowded. Give people space at boat ramps, parking areas, and other shared public spaces.

There are more than 7,000 lakes, ponds and reservoirs in Washington, and hundreds of WDFW-managed water-access areas, including some with areas accessible for people with disabilities. Other state and federal agencies operate hundreds more. Details on water access area locations can be found on WDFW's website. https://wdfw.wa.gov/places-to-go/water-access-sites

Anglers parking at WDFW vehicle water-access areas are required to display the WDFW Vehicle Access Pass – free when you purchase an annual fishing license – or a Discover Pass. Anglers visiting Washington State Parks or Department of Natural Resources lands need a Discover Pass. Information on the pass can be found at WDFW’s online licensing website. https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/#/login

Before heading out, anglers should also check WDFW’s fishing regulations webpage and emergency rules webpage. https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/

WDFW employees and their immediate families are not eligible to claim fishing derby prizes.

-WDFW-

71716

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PostMon Apr 19, 2021 4:36 pm 
Monday April 19, 2021 16:15 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Public invited to submit art highlighting the dangers of releasing pets and plants into the wild

OLYMPIA –The Washington Invasive Species Council and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) invite artists of all ages to participate in an art contest through May 14 as part of the “Don’t Let it Loose” campaign. ( https://invasivespecies.wa.gov/campaigns/dont-let-it-loose/ )  The campaign explains the dangers of releasing unwanted pets and plants into the wild and highlights other ways to rehome them.

“Many people release their unwanted pets into the wild thinking it is the humane thing to do, but, sadly, it is not humane as most of those pets end up dying in the wild because they aren’t adapted to this climate,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. “Those pets and plants that do survive can go on to become invasive species, and our native wildlife species don’t have defenses against them or the diseases they may carry.”

Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that cause economic or environmental harm and could spread to new areas of the state. Invasive species can out-compete and overwhelm local species, disrupting entire ecological systems.

“Prevention is the most effective and cheapest tool we have when it comes to managing invasive species,” said Allen Pleus, WDFW’s aquatic invasive species manager. “By helping to spread the message of “Don’t Let it Loose,” artists can help educate others that a seemingly small action can have a big impact on our environment and economy.”

Bush said that with the recent detection of invasive mussels in aquarium moss balls, it is especially important to remember that people should not release pets or dump aquarium water or plants into the wild.

In March 2021, invasive freshwater mussels were detected in aquarium moss balls across Washington. ( https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/invasive/dreissena-polymorpha/moss ) WDFW is asking anyone who has purchased moss balls from any retailer to inspect the aquarium plants for invasive zebra mussels and take steps to prevent contaminated moss balls and aquariums from spreading the problem.

“By improperly disposing of an aquarium plant or algae, we could inadvertently introduce freshwater invasive mussels into our waters and impact our drinking water, irrigation, and hydroelectric systems,” Bush said. “This problem is easy to avoid by remembering the mantra “Don’t Let It Loose,” and we’d like your help in conveying this message through art.”

The contest runs now through Friday, May 14. Art should depict pets or plants that people might release into Washington’s waters, parks, and wildlands. Entries should convey that releasing invasive species can harm the state’s native plants and animals and include explanations or illustrations showing other options to rehome unwanted pets or plants.

Artists can submit a wide range of entries, including drawing, photography, dance, music, and more. Winners will receive an award, ranging from stickers to gift cards, and have their entries displayed on the Washington Invasive Species Council and WDFW websites. For full contest rules and inspiration, visit the council’s website. ( https://invasivespecies.wa.gov/event/2021-invasive-species-art-contest-dont-let-it-loose/ )

“The recent detection of invasive mussels on aquarium moss balls reminds us that invasive species can easily hitch a ride into Washington in unexpected ways,” Bush said. “The most basic action we ask everyone to take is reporting anything that could be a problem and looks out of place. Your report could find the first instance of a new problem and end up saving hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, in long-term costs.”

WDFW and the Washington Invasive Species Council recommend that anyone who thinks their aquarium might be carrying invasive mussels to report it online. ( https://invasivespecies.wa.gov/report-a-sighting/ ) It is as easy as taking a photo and submitting for an expert to review.

WDFW is requesting $2.8 million in new state funding this legislative session to help address the threat of aquatic invasive species. For more information on aquatic invasive species in Washington, visit the WDFW website. ( https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/invasive )  For more information on the Washington Invasive Species Council, visit InvasiveSpecies.wa.gov. ( https://invasivespecies.wa.gov/ )

-WDFW-

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PostTue Jun 22, 2021 6:54 pm 
Wednesday June 9, 2021 16:15 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

The Conservation Fund Purchases Ranch in Tenino, Washington


The more than 1,500-acre property is now one step closer to protection for the benefit of people and wildlife

THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. (June 9, 2021) — Today, The Conservation Fund announced its purchase of the 1,567-acre ranch just west of the City of Tenino, Washington. This acquisition is a critical step to establishing the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW)’s future Violet Prairie Wildlife Area Unit.

The Conservation Fund is a nationally recognized nonprofit that focuses on land conservation that makes both environmental and economic sense. The Conservation Fund will work with WDFW and hold the Violet Prairie property until adequate funding is available for the ultimate purchase, long-term management, and protection of this important habitat.

“Beautiful and ecologically-rich ranchlands like this one face high threats of development,” said Gates Watson, northwest director of The Conservation Fund. “Our purchase of the property helps eliminate that threat, while buying time for WDFW to secure the funding needed for its ultimate protection of the land. We’re thrilled to be aiding in this effort and are excited for the opportunities the future wildlife area unit will bring to the community.”

In the short term, the property will remain closed until appropriate provisions are made for public use. When the property is eventually open as a wildlife area, it will support public recreational opportunities such as hiking, hunting, and wildlife viewing. The new unit will be managed as part of the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area.

“Our mission is to conserve land and water for people and wildlife in Washington,” said Larry Phillips, Coastal Region Director at WDFW. “We are fortunate to have a strong partnership with The Conservation Fund to make this land acquisition possible, and we are thankful for the collaboration and support from Thurston County, the City of Tenino, and the Thurston Economic Development Council.  We look forward to opening this beautiful property to public access in the coming years.”

Phillips said protection of the Violet Prairie property is a high priority for the state due in part to its unique habitat features. Its makeup of Puget lowland prairies, wet prairie-oak woodlands, riparian areas, and conifer forests provides habitat for various wildlife, including the federally threatened Mazama pocket gopher.

The partners are appreciative of Dr. William Barnett, the former landowner, for his commitment to keeping his land conserved. Dr. Barnett said, "I would like to thank Troy Dana of Fay Ranches for his extraordinary effort working with The Conservation Fund and many others to get this done. I am pleased we were able to preserve this unique property for generations to come."

Fay Ranches' dedication to conservation for nearly 30 years has guided efforts to conserve land as agricultural ground as well as quality fish and wildlife habitat coast to coast. “This was a great outcome for both The Conservation Fund and Dr. Barnett,” said Troy Dana, Fay Ranches Principal Broker of Washington.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 8.5 million acres of land. Learn more: conservationfund.org

-WDFW-

====

Tuesday June 22, 2021 15:44 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Construction to improve popular WDFW Waikiki Springs Unit trail starts in July


SPOKANE – Maintenance work starts July 12 to improve the trail through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)-managed Waikiki Springs Unit of the Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area in northwest Spokane. The plan is to keep the trail open, with the construction area cordoned off and spotters used to keep trail users safe, but the trail may need to be closed for short periods of time. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of August.

This project will repair erosion damage created by an unstable slope caused by a mixture of run-off from rain and natural springs, and years of people walking outside of the designated trail area. Contractors will install catch basins  and berms to redirect runoff to locations where it won’t damage infrastructure or water quality. Some side trails will be closed and fencing added to keep users on the main trail. A rockslide area will be reinforced and seeded to establish vegetation to reduce erosion.

“This area is extremely popular with kayakers, paddle boarders, fishermen, wildlife watchers, bicyclists, and joggers and it shows from wear and tear to the landscape over the years,” said WDFW access area manager Dan Dziekan. “While we hope there won’t be disruptions to trail use, we want people to know there is a chance the trail  could be closed for short periods to keep users safe. We ask for your patience as the minor inconvenience will be worth it when the work is complete.”

Dziekan plans to host volunteer work parties this fall to plant areas with new, native vegetation and provide a few other final touches.

The 115-acre Waikiki Springs Unit is located on the Little Spokane River. It is named for the many springs that flow from the hillside into the river, keeping the water temperature moderate year-round. This area is a hidden gem of natural area in the middle of densely populated neighborhoods in northeast Spokane and an important piece in maintaining the ecology of the Little Spokane River. It features miles of walking trails and is also popular for dog walking,  cross country skiing, snowshoeing, plus river access.

-WDFW-

75792

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PostMon Jul 12, 2021 4:27 pm 
Monday July 12, 2021 16:05 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

WDFW-managed wildlife area units closed due to Lick Creek fire


SPOKANE – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has closed several wildlife area units in southeast Washington for public safety due to the Lick Creek (formerly known as Dry Gulch)(https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7615/) Fire burning in Asotin County, as well as to give firefighters space to respond.

Closed areas include the W.T. Wooten Unit of the W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area, the 4-0 Ranch and Grouse Flats units of the Chief Joseph Wildlife Area, and the Asotin Creek and Weatherly units of the Asotin Creek Wildlife Area.

“While these closures may be inconvenient to some, we feel it is the safest and most responsible action we can take to keep members of the public and first responders safe,” said Steve Pozzanghera, WDFW’s Eastern Region Director. “Other public lands agencies are also closing areas to the public and we support their efforts to fight this fire and make safety a top concern.”

WDFW’s closures are in coordination with fire-related U.S. Forest Service closures (http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/2021/07/umatilla-national-forest-temporarily.html) on the Umatilla National Forest. WDFW expects that the wildlife area units may be closed for approximately a month or until conditions improve. Other areas could be closed as needed. Signs will be posted at all closed areas.

Popular water access areas on the Grande Ronde River that are not within the closed wildlife area units remain open at this time, including Boggan’s, Heller Bar, and Cougar Creek.

More information on this fire is available at: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7615/. For more information about fire prevention on public lands, visit the Washington Department of Natural Resources' website (https://www.dnr.wa.gov/WildfirePrevention) or the U.S. Forest Service’s website (https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/fire)

-WDFW-

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PostFri Jul 16, 2021 5:32 pm 
Thursday July 15, 2021 16:36 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

First female grizzly bear captured, radio collared, and released onsite in Washington

SPOKANE – In a first for Washington state, wildlife biologists recently captured and fitted a female grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) with a radio collar. The bear, accompanied by three yearling offspring, was then released to help biologists learn more about grizzly bears in Washington state.

“Understanding how the bears are using the landscape will aid biologists in advancing recovery of the species” said Hannah Anderson, WDFW’s Diversity Division Manager.

The bear was captured about ten miles from the Washington-Idaho border near Metaline Falls in northeast Washington on U.S. Forest Service land by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) biologists. The three yearlings dispersed into the surrounding woods while biologists did a general health check on the mother and fitted her collar, then returned to be with mom when the humans went away.

Biologists were alerted to the presence of the bear through images captured on cameras, inside the Selkirk Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone in a remote area of the Selkirk Mountains. The area is one of six Recovery Zones identified by the Service’s species’ Recovery Plan. Grizzlies in that area roam between northern Idaho, northeastern Washington, and southeastern British Columbia. The population in the Selkirk Recovery Zone is considered healthy and is growing at a rate of about 2.9% per year. Biologists believe the recently collared female is a resident of the area, not a dispersing bear from outside of Washington.

“A group of bears - a mother and three cubs - were photographed on another occasion on a game camera in the same area three to four weeks prior to the capture,” said Wayne Kasworm, grizzly bear biologist with Service. “The natal collar - the white ring around the neck - of one of the cubs leads us to believe this is the same family of bears.”

Four adult males were captured in 1985, 2016 and 2018, but this was the first instance of a female capture, and in this case a female with young.

“Currently there are believed to be at least 70 to 80 grizzly bears in the Selkirk Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone,” said Kasworm. “About half those bears live on the Canadian side of the border, with the other half on the U.S. side.”

Many people are surprised to learn that there is a population, although small, of grizzlies in northeast Washington.

“Grizzly bears once occupied much of the Cascade and Selkirk Ranges, but their numbers were severely reduced as a result of persecution by early settlers and habitat degradation. Grizzly bear recovery started in 1981 and it took 40 years to confirm the first known female in Washington, that’s pretty remarkable,” said Rich Beausoleil, a bear and cougar biologist with WDFW. “Wayne and his team have been working hard and deserve a lot of credit, they’ve been great partners.”

Today, grizzly bears are listed as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act and classified as an endangered species in Washington. WDFW works collaboratively with the Service, which is the lead agency for monitoring grizzly bear survival, reproduction, home range use, food habits, genetics, and causes of mortality. Other partners in grizzly bear conservation within this region include the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Kalispel Tribe of Indians, Colville National Forest, Idaho Panhandle National Forests, Idaho Fish and Game, Idaho State Department of Lands, and Stimson Lumber.

People recreating in grizzly country should know what to do in the case of an encounter with a grizzly or black bear and how to use bear spray. Information is available on the WDFW and  Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) websites. Being a federally threatened and state-listed endangered species, the grizzly bear has added protections for its conservation, so it is important to be able to differentiate between grizzlies and the other species of bear in Washington, black bears.  Killing a grizzly bear, either unintentionally or intentionally, sets back recovery efforts and can bring fines and penalties. For these reasons, black bear hunters in parts of Washington state must successfully complete the WDFW bear identification test or an equivalent test from another state and carry proof of successful completion. WDFW’s video on identifying bears can also help.


-WDFW-

77212

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PostTue Jul 20, 2021 4:07 pm 
Tuesday July 20, 2021 14:42 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

State wildlife areas close to overnight use amid high wildfire danger


SPOKANE – In response to increased fire risk and nationally depleted firefighting resources, all eastern Washington wildlife areas, including water access areas within wildlife areas, managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will be open for day use only, starting Friday, July 23.

The announcement comes on the heels of recreation access closures to the Methow Wildlife Area in north central Washington announced over the weekend due to the proximity of the Cub Creek 2 Fire. Those closures include the Pearrygin Lake water access site, and the Rendezvous, Early Winters and Methow units of the Methow Wildlife Area.

Previously, WDFW closed several wildlife area units in southeast Washington for public safety due to the Lick Creek (Dry Gulch) Fire in Asotin County. Closed areas include the W.T. Wooten Unit of the W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area, the 4-0 Ranch and Grouse Flats units of the Chief Joseph Wildlife Area, and the Asotin Creek and Weatherly units of the Asotin Creek Wildlife Area.

The overnight use and Methow and southeast Washington wildlife areas closures will be in effect until further notice. State land managers will meet weekly to assess the possibility for further closures or reopenings. Current closures apply to both motorized and on-foot uses. Water access areas that are not part of a wildlife area will not be limited to day use only unless posted otherwise.

A reminder that an emergency order issued in early July is still in effect and being enforced on department lands east of the Cascades, which 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.
Members of the public engaged in these high-risk activities will be ticketed as WDFW enforcement officers will be applying a zero-tolerance approach.

In addition to overnight closures and the existing closures in north central and south east Washington, smaller area-specific road or other closures may also be implemented as necessary. The public is asked to check wdfw.wa.gov/wildlifeareas for further details before departing to their intended destination.

WDFW officials also ask the public to abide by other land manager closures, such as those announced by the Department of Natural Resources, and follow voluntary additional prevention safety tips, such as avoiding roads where vegetation is visible growing in or near the road surface.

-WDFW-

77480

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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 4:28 pm 
Wednesday August 25, 2021 16:06 PDT

WDFW NEWS RELEASE

Former WDFW Commissioner and fish and wildlife advocate donates land for improved public access


SPOKANE- A donation of land by Larry and Marilou Cassidy is providing improved access to the Grande Ronde River in southeast Washington for members of the public.

Cassidy, a western Washington resident with property in Asotin County, has a long history of conservation and public service in our state. His property that adjoins the popular Snyder Bar public access area, managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), had been in his family since 1979. Cassidy has long allowed members of the public to use the site to access the river but recently decided to donate the land when property line questions arose.

“I said, ‘I’m not sure (about the property lines) either, but I’ll tell you what. I’ll make it easy on you’,” Cassidy said. “I’ll give you the property. And so, we decided to donate it.”

Today, that land is known as Cassidy Hole and a plaque has been mounted on a large boulder along the shore of the river to recognize the contribution. Cassidy’s donation is significant for the unique access it provides to the Grande Ronde River for people, especially those fishing.

“It’s elbow to elbow here during the steelhead season,” Cassidy said. “It’s a very popular spot. There isn’t much else to access the river in this area.”

Cassidy served 12 years on the Washington Game Commission- which later became the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission (https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission) - between 1973 and 1985. He also spent ten years on the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (https://www.nwcouncil.org/reports/columbia-river-history/northwestpoweract) and recounts a conversation with Rep. John Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan, from when he was on the commission.

“On our way up the highway, he said, what’s the answer to this fish issue?,” Cassidy said, referring to the loss of fish to hydroelectric dams. “I said, if we don’t do something about it- we don’t make fish equal to the generation of power- we’re going to lose them. It’s just that simple.”

That conversation contributed to improvements to the Northwest Power Act (https://www.nwcouncil.org/reports/columbia-river-history/northwestpoweract) protecting, mitigating and enhancing fish and wildlife of the Columbia River Basin affected by the construction and operation of hydroelectric dams while providing for adequate, efficient, economical, and reliable electric power supply for the Pacific Northwest.

Cassidy is still active in various fish and wildlife organizations today. When he can, he also still enjoys time in southeast Washington and on the Grande Ronde River.

“We are extremely grateful to Mr. Cassidy for this donation. He has spent a lifetime devoted to the conservation of fish and wildlife in Washington and throughout the Pacific Northwest,” said WDFW Eastern Region director Steve Pozzanghera. “This exemplifies his love of our natural resources and his support for the people that enjoy them and is just one of his many acts of selflessness.”

“It’s a beautiful place,” Cassidy said. “We’ve had a lot of adventures on the Grande Ronde River.”

Cassidy shares some of those adventures and memories, as well as thoughts on his years of conservation work, in a new WDFW video.

-WDFW-


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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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