Governor Jay Inslee has appointed two new members to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, a Douglas County rancher and a South Sound administrator.
An official announcement is expected in a day or two, but the new commissioners are Molly Linville and Jim Anderson, Northwest Sportsman has learned.
Linville replaces Jay Holzmiller of Asotin County, who has been on the commission since mid-2013 and whose term as one of three Eastern Washington representatives officially expired at the end of last year but has continued to serve on the citizen panel that sets fish and wildlife policy and oversees WDFW.
Anderson moves into a position that has been vacant since Omak’s Jay Kehne resigned last summer to spend more time with his family and field work after six and a half years on the commission.
Linville grew up in Reardan west of Spokane, and attended the University of Montana where she graduated with a degree in wildlife biology and later worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including a stint as the manager of Conboy National Wildlife Refuge in western Klickitat County.
In 2011 she and her husband David took over David’s family’s 6,000-acre KV Ranch in lower Moses Coulee near Palisades. The operation has been the subject of stories in the ag-oriented Capital Press, the Spokane Spokesman-Review and elsewhere.
They describe Molly Linville as the spread’s primary operator and says she practices “low-stress livestock handling” and uses large guard dogs to help protect their herd from predators like cougars, which are attracted to the area by mule deer and other prey.
She has been on WDFW’s Wolf Advisory Group since 2015 when the panel of hunters, ranchers, environmentalists and other state residents with a stake in wolf issues was expanded to 18.
Two years ago saw the Sutherland Canyon Fire burn up nearly all of the KV Ranch, and with how rangeland is generally outside fire district borders and wasn’t DNR responsibility to respond to led her to get involved in reforming coverage.
“After the fire, I just needed to be part of the solution,” Linville told the Press and she worked to move a bill in Olympia by “(educating) agency officials on the value of rangelands and the capabilities of local ranchers to be part of an effective fire response,” according to the Spokesman-Review.
While Linville’s strengths on the commission will be ranching, wildlife biology and an Eastern Washington perspective, Anderson’s will be administration, funding and tribal relationships.
The Pierce County resident is currently the secretary of the board of directors of the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, which works primarily on restoring habitat and native species in the inland sea, and which describes Anderson as “widely experienced in state and federal budget, appropriation, and legislative processes.”
Some of that will have come from a 20-year term as the executive director of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission between 1985 and 2004, and as its executive adviser until 2011.
NWIFC came out of 1974’s Boldt Decision and represents 20 tribes in fisheries management and other issues.
In a more dated reference, Anderson’s also described by the Washington Water Trust as a board member and “a founding member of the Timber Fish Wildlife Policy Group, Water Resource Forum, Shared Salmon Strategy and the Hatchery Reform Coordinating Committee,” as well as a “board member on the Department of Interior’s Sports Fishing and Boating Partnership Council.”
Last September, John Kruse, a Wenatchee-based radio show host, found that few sitting Fish and Wildlife Commission members hunted and or fished, but according to PSRF’s description, Anderson “enjoys fishing, hunting” and other outdoor activities.
It’s his strong background with tribal interests that makes him an interesting choice of the governor’s to fill one of three statewide at-large positions on the commission.
On the one hand it will give sportsmen and possibly some members of the general public pause as the Fish and Wildlife Commission represents the state’s hunters, anglers and others, and oversees state fish and game harvest, and management.
On the other, with how closely linked state and tribal comanagement is these days, Anderson’s past nexus could help improve high-level relationships during a period of great stress on Washington’s shared natural resources.
Most Fish and Wildlife Commission appointments aren’t very controversial, though when Kehne came on board at the other end of this decade, there was a lot of angst over his relationship with Conservation Northwest. In the end he proved to be a good fit. However, the state Senate, which confirms the governor’s nominations, yanked environmentalist David Jennings off the panel after four years because he “was too much of a polarizing figure” to sportsmen, in the words of the Republican in charge of a natural resources committee at the time.
Soon both Jim Anderson and Molly Linville will have their chance to prove their abilities on the important body.
Editor’s note: Eric Barker of the Lewiston Tribune has a good follow-up story on Jay Holzmiller leaving the commission here.