All posts by Andy Walgamott

Of All The Reasons To Sue WDFW …

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has been in court what seems like a fair amount of late, what with all the Center for Biological Funding Diversity lawsuits over bears and wolves.

So today we’re going to play a game we like to call “Bluff the reader,” a total ripoff of the Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me radio segment where three news stories are read to a listener who must guess which one is true.

Our theme: We’ll see you in court, WDFW!

(CHRIS POTTER, WIKIMEDIA/ANDY WALGAMOTT/SONJIA KELLS)

Guess which of these is an actual lawsuit that’s been served on the agency and you win!*

1) UNHAPPY WITH PARTICIPATION PRIZE

An environmental group whose candidate wasn’t chosen as WDFW’s new director last Saturday is suing in an attempt to force the Fish and Wildlife Commission to reconsider before the new boss Kelly Susewind takes the reigns Aug. 1.

Frequent agency critic the Center for Biological Diversity says that Wolfstar Flowerwillow is eminently qualified to lead WDFW’s 1,800 employees, and oversee its land base of 1,400 square miles and $437 million two-year budget.

“Mr. Flowerwillow has a masters degree in Outerior Design from Evergreen State and studied wolves and cougars under Rob Wielgus at Wazzu,” said spokesman Amaroq Weiss.

Unfortunately for the prospective candidate’s chances, Flowerwillow was among the job seekers whose resume was flushed early on from the pool of 19 choices by Fish and Wildlife Commission members.

“Ultimately, they went with that … that … that butcher Susewind! Have you not seen how many hunting licenses, tags special applications that beast bought last year?!?” said Weiss. “We’re not going to stand for it!”

CBD’s lawsuit calls for the director search to start over, to disqualify anyone who’s ever bought a hunting or fishing license, and to just hire Flowerwillow instead.

WDFW had “no comment” on the lawsuit.

2) DON’T ‘LANUCH’ ON ME

A fiery anti-government Washington resident is suing WDFW over what he considers to be a violation of his constitutional rights.

“They say, ‘Lanuch at your own risk,’ but by god, I’ll lanuch whether the state says it’s risky or not,” said Geau Avay. “I will lanuch in the morning, in the blazing-hot sun without sunscreeen on, and while firing bottle rockets out of my butt!”

What Avay is actually referring to is a WDFW water access sign on which the word “launch” was misspelled.

But that’s not stopping him.

“If the state is now in the business of determining whether I should be lanuching or not, what next?” Avay wondered. “This is just the first step towards tyranny, and I aim to stop it!”

WDFW had “no comment” on the lawsuit.

3)  NO MORE “BATHS” FOR BUSHYTAILS

A Whatcom County woman is suing WDFW because a representative advised her to drown nuisance squirrels she’s live-trapped “out of sight of anyone this may offend.”

Vegan licensed euthanizer Rebecca Crowley says she can not “abide the infliction of undue harm or suffering to any being, human or nonhuman” in a superior court lawsuit, according to the Bellingham Herald.

She points to veterinary standards, and county and city codes that she says bars it — and even WDFW guidelines that say if you don’t have any sodium pentobarbital on hand, instead of drowning, put the unwanted squirrel in the garage with the door closed and car left running.

Crowley wants drowning problem wildlife to be banned and for WDFW to never, ever tell people they can go ahead and do so.

Her lawyer, Adam Karp, who created the Facebook page Squirrels Over Troubled Water, says nonlethal preventative methods should be used first, things like buying a pack of squirrel hounds, clearcutting and brushbusting your property to remove squirrel habitat, and putting away all the toys and other squirrel attractants in your yard.

As you may have guessed, WDFW had “no comment” on this actual lawsuit.

 

* Absolutely nothing.

Olympic Mountain Goat Removal Approved

Federal and state wildlife managers now have the green light to begin removing those white-coated denizens of the Olympic Mountains.

A BILLY GOAT RESTS ON KLAHHANE RIDGE INSIDE OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK. (NPS)

The National Park Service issued its final record of decision to mostly translocate mountain goats off the peninsula to the North Cascades starting this summer, and kill those that prove too hard to capture.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Forest Service to relocate mountain goats from the Olympic Peninsula,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum in a press release. “In turn, we support the state, the U.S. Forest Service, and area tribes to re-establish sustainable populations of goats in the Washington Cascades, where goats are native, and populations have been depleted.”

Efforts will begin this summer to move as many of the 725 goats as possible to the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests, supplementing scattered herds there.

Though native to those parts of Washington, the species was introduced to the Olympics in the 1920s for hunting.

Creation of the national park precluded hunting and the population grew, leading to damage in the uplands and the fatal goring of a hiker.

The park service estimates that 50 percent of the goats will be translocated and another 40 percent lethally removed by federal, state and “skilled public volunteers” guided by spotter planes,  carried by helicopters and using nontoxic ammo.

Chopper flights will occur in July’s second half and at the end of summer. Salt licks will be used to draw goats to areas away from public view or closed to hikers for management activities.

While the goal is to remove all the goats, officials acknowledge they may not be able to get them all.

With Orcas In Mind, WA Salmon Hatchery Reform Policy Under Review

Three principles dictating salmon hatchery operations in Washington have been suspended by the Fish and Wildlife Commission during a policy review, a move in part reflecting a “change in attitude” about production practices.

It comes as the state begins to respond in earnest to the plight of southern resident orcas — one of which was reported missing and presumed dead over the weekend, bringing Puget Sound’s population to its lowest point in 30 years.

KIRAN WALGAMOTT PEERS INTO THE RACEWAYS AT THE WALLACE SALMON HATCHERY NEAR GOLD BAR. THE FACILITY REARS SUMMER CHINOOK, COHO AND STEELHEAD. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“I’m afraid that a lot of potential sites where there could be Chinook enhancement to increase the prey base for killer whales will be disqualified by our own policy,” said Commissioner Don McIsaac of Hockinson, in Clark County, during Friday’s meeting of the citizen panel.

In mid-March, Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order directing WDFW to increase hatchery production of king salmon, the primary feedstock for resident orcas and the lack of which could be leading to their low reproduction rates.

Vessel traffic and pollution have also been identified as problems.

Saying that after 10 years it was time for a review, McIsaac made the motion to suspend the first three tenets of the commission’s CR 3619, Hatchery and Fishery Reform Policy, including using guidance from the Hatchery Scientific Review Group, and prioritizing broodstock from local watersheds.

He noted that genetic protections for wild Chinook would still be in place through Endangered Species Act restrictions.

“What I wouldn’t want to have anyone to believe is that this would be going back to what was characterized as the Johnny Appleseed days before of no hatchery constraints on operations,” McIsaac said. “We’re looking for good hatchery operations, and so what this is more about is just some slight differences here over the course of the next six months to allow for a good look at this and not to squelch any killer whale initiatives that are out there.”

IN A SCREEN GRAB FROM C-SPAN 3, DONALD McISAAC SPEAKS BEFORE A CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE IN JANUARY 2014. (C-SPAN)

He termed it “a change in attitude about our salmon hatchery policy” and indeed, his six- to 12-month review will look at results of those reforms, updating scientific knowledge and could include “changing language tone about the positive value of hatchery programs,” as well as consider adding mitigation facilities.

While Commissioner Kim Thorburn of Spokane expressed some concern about suspending portions of the policy, Commissioners Jay Holzmiller of Anatone and Larry Carpenter of Mount Vernon voiced their support of it.

“I don’t want to blame anybody here, but what we’re doing now, and I’m not just speaking to HSRG … across the board simply isn’t working. It’s not working for businesses, it’s not working for individuals, it’s not working for state government. The money’s drying up, the salmon are drying up,” said Carpenter.

In 1989, the state, tribes, feds and others released 71 million Chinook; in 2016, just 33 million were, due in part to WDFW budget cuts over the years.

Yet even with ESA listings,  hatchery reforms and millions upon millions spent on habitat work, wild king numbers are still poor, suggesting something different is at play — perhaps density of harbor seals, according to a just-released paper, not releases of clipped Chinook.

“I simply have a forecast in my view that if we don’t make a change in our programs and methodology, that we don’t have more than 10 years left to have a salmon fishery of any kind — of any kind — in this state,” said Carpenter. “Let’s figure something out and get going on it.”

“Of any kind” surely was a reference to tribal fishing, and in a June 14 letter to Inslee, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission lent their considerable weight to the issue.

NWIFC Executive Director Justin Parker wrote that his organization wanted to work with the governor’s office to “develop an appropriate and accountable co-manager scientific review process at the same time that the HSRG’s role is phased out of the State budget language and process.”

Certain elements in WDFW’s appropriations are tied to HSRG.

He suggested that it lacks accountability and process, doesn’t undergo enough peer review scrutiny, diminishing its “credibility,” and is scientifically stagnant.

Where the 1970s’ Boldt Decision split the two fleets for decades, more and more, tribal and recreational fishermen are finding common cause. The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association supported the tribes and feds side against the state of Washington in the culvert case that came before the Supreme Court, and Puget Sound Anglers president Ron Garner recently had the extremely rare honor for a nontribal member — let alone a sport fisherman — of being invited to an NWIFC meeting.

“Over and over I was told, ‘It took some courage for you to come here today.’ It didn’t take courage,” said Garner during public comment last Friday afternoon on HSRG. “It took us running out of fish. We are running out of fish … We are so aligned on our problems it’s nuts. We understand them. It’s going to take us and the tribes to fix them.”

DON PITTWOOD SHOWS OFF A HATCHERY CHINOOK CAUGHT OFF WHIDBEY ISLAND’S POSSESSION POINT DURING THE SUMMER MARK-SELECTIVE FISHERY. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Despite being the newest member of the Fish and Wildlife Commission, it’s the second major salmon-related shift McIsaac’s been involved with this year.

This past winter, with WDFW honchos folding to pressure from the National Marine Fisheries Service on Puget Sound Chinook management and which could have sharply curtailed already-reduced fisheries, he called for a conservation hatchery on a habitat-constrained river system, an example of thinking outside of the box rather than going along for the ride to ruin.

“Much more needs to be done outside of fishery restrictions,” he said at the time.

On Friday afternoon, in a voice vote on McIsaac’s salmon hatchery reform motion, no nays were heard. Afterwards, clapping from the audience could be.

Lower Columbia, Gorge Pools, SW WA Fishing Report (6-18-18)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORTS ORIGINATED WITH ODFW AND WDFW AND WERE TRANSMITTED BY TANNA TAKATA, ODFW, AND JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Columbia River Angling Report

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

On Saturday’s (6/16) flight, 113 salmonid boats and 52 Oregon bank anglers were counted from the Astoria-Megler Bridge to Bonneville Dam.  Boat anglers fishing in the Goble to Beaver area, averaged 2.40 steelhead and 0.60 sockeye caught per boat.  Bank anglers fishing the Portland to Westport area, averaged 0.04 Chinook and 0.13 steelhead caught per angler.

STURGEON RETENTION ON THE LOWER COLUMBIA ENDED EARLIER THIS MONTH, BUT NOT BEFORE ELISE PASSMORE CAUGHT THIS ONE ON THE SECOND TO LAST DAY OF THE SEASON BELOW CATHLAMET. CATCH-AND-RELEASE REMAINS OPEN. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Gorge Bank: Weekend checking showed no catch for six salmonid bank anglers; and 1,844 shad kept, plus 92 shad released for 176 shad anglers.

Gorge Boats: Weekend checking showed 220 shad kept, plus 50 shad released for five boats (18 anglers).

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed no catch for three salmonid boats (four anglers); and two shad kept for one boat (three anglers).

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed four steelhead kept, plus two adult Chinook and two steelhead released for 46 bank anglers.

Portland to St. Helens Boats: Weekend checking showed no catch for three salmonid boats (nine anglers); and one shad kept for one boat (two anglers).

Goble to Beaver (Clatskanie) Boats: Weekend checking showed eight steelhead kept, plus four steelhead and three sockeye released for five boats (20 anglers).

Wauna Powerlines to Clatsop Spit Bank: No report.

Westport to Buoy 10 Boats: Weekend checking showed no catch for five boats (16 anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for 10 salmonid bank anglers; and no catch for two salmonid boats (five anglers).  Shad anglers caught 98 shad for 53 bank anglers, and 12 shad for one boat (three anglers).

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for two salmonid bank anglers; and no catch for 10 salmonid boats (16 anglers).  Shad anglers caught 28 shad for six bank anglers, and 54 shad for two boats (10 anglers).

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for two salmonid bank anglers; and three adult Chinook kept, plus one coho released for 12 salmonid boats (25 anglers).  Shad anglers caught 2,065 shad for 61 boats (200 anglers).

STURGEON

Gorge Boats:  Closed for retention. No report.

Troutdale Boats:  Closed for retention. Weekend checking showed one sublegal sturgeon released for one boat (three anglers).

Portland to Wauna Powerlines Boats:  Closed for retention. No report.

Wauna Powerlines to Clatsop Spit Bank:  Closed for retention. No report.

Buoy 10 to Wauna Powerlines Boats:  Closed for retention. Weekend checking showed 15 sublegal and 15 oversize sturgeon released for one boat (four anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Closed for retention.  Weekend checking showed six legal white sturgeon kept, plus 20 sublegal and six oversize sturgeon released for 42 bank anglers; and 99 legal white sturgeon kept, plus 796 sublegal, nine legal and 22 oversize sturgeon released for 94 boats (253 anglers).

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Closed for retention.  Weekend checking showed three legal white sturgeon kept, plus 12 sublegal sturgeon released for 14 bank anglers; and 24 legal white sturgeon kept, plus 228 sublegal, five legal and 14 oversize sturgeon released for 21 boats (67 anglers).

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam): Closed for retention.  Weekend checking showed four sublegal, eight legal and nine oversize sturgeon released for six boats (21 anglers).

WALLEYE

Bonneville Pool: Weekly checking showed no catch for one boat (three anglers).

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed 43 walleye kept, plus three walleye released for 11 boats (25 anglers).

John Day Pool: Weekly checking showed 109 walleye kept, plus 19 walleye released for 30 boats (91 anglers).

Washington Columbia River mainstem and its tributaries sport sampling summaries for June 11-17

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br. downstream:  6 bank anglers had no catch.  Above the I-5 Br:  17 bank anglers released 2 cutts.  25 boat anglers kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 11 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 83 spring Chinook adults, 40 summer-run steelhead,  and one winter-run steelhead during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

Tacoma Power also released ten spring Chinook adults into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,100 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, June 18. Water visibility is 15 feet and the water temperature is 49.9 degrees F.

Kalama River – 6 bank anglers had no catch. 6 boat anglers kept 3 steelhead.

Lewis River (North Fork) – 15 bank anglers had no catch.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Megler-Astoria Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam – Up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained.  Release all sockeye.  Fishing at night is permitted in Washington waters.  Release all adult Chinook through June 21 and July 5-31.

Sturgeon

Bonneville and The Dalles pools – During the one-day retention fishery last Friday, boat anglers averaged just over a legal kept per boat from each pool..   Bank anglers averaged a legal kept per every 7 rods in Bonneville Pool and one for every 4 rods in The Dalles Pool.

Trout

Tacoma Power released 5,200 rainbow trout into Mayfield Lake.  No report on angling success.

Shad

Bank anglers just below Bonneville Dam averaged 4 shad per rod based on mainly incomplete trips while boat anglers averaged just over 8 fish per rod based on completed trips this past weekend.

Nearly 2.6 million shad had been counted at Bonneville Dam through June 17.  .

Salmon Fishing Out Of Ilwaco, La Push, Neah Bay Opens Saturday

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Anglers can reel in salmon off the Washington coast beginning June 23, when three marine areas open for recreational salmon fishing.

JEFF ANDERSON AND HIS KAYAK FISHING BUDS WILL BE BACK OFF THE WASHINGTON COAST AS SALMON SEASON BEGINS. HE CAUGHT THIS NICE ONE LAST SEASON. “I LOVE HOW THESE OCEAN ‘NOOKS JUST REFUSE TO QUIT!” ANDERSON SAYS. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Marine areas 1 (Ilwaco), 3 (La Push), and 4 (Neah Bay) will be open daily starting Saturday, June 23. Marine Area 2 (Westport) will be open Sundays through Thursdays beginning Sunday, July 1.

Fewer chinook salmon are expected to make their way through Washington’s ocean waters this year as compared to 2017, said Wendy Beeghley, a fishery manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Beeghley said the agency anticipates a return of coho fairly similar to last year’s return.

The recreational chinook catch quota this year is 27,500 fish, which is 17,500 fewer fish than 2017’s quota of 45,000. Meanwhile, the coho quota is 42,000 fish, the same as in 2017.

Although all four marine areas are scheduled to close Sept. 3, Beeghley reminds anglers that areas could close earlier if the quota is met. Throughout the summer, anglers can check WDFW’s webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/ocean/ for updates.

In marine areas 1, 2, and 4, anglers will be allowed to retain two salmon, only one of which can be a chinook. Anglers fishing in Marine Area 3 will have a two-salmon daily limit. In all marine areas, anglers must release wild coho.

More information about the fisheries can be found in the 2018-19 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, available at license vendors and sporting goods stores and online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.

 

DOE’s Susewind Chosen As New WDFW Director

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission chose Kelly Susewind, of the Department of Ecology, as the new WDFW director.

KELLY SUSEWIND. (WDFW)

In a phone call immediately after the vote late this morning, Susewind told Commission Chair Brad Smith he was “very excited and very nervous.”

Susewind is something of an unknown and wildcard to Washington’s rank and file anglers and hunters, but the commission supported his appointment unanimously.

He has worked for the Department of Ecology for over two and a half decades, most recently as the director of administrative services and environmental policy.

According to a WDFW press release, he originally hails from the Grays Harbor area and went to Washington State University, where he earned a degree in geological engineering.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of Washington at an agency whose effectiveness is critical to our ability to conserve fish and wildlife resources while providing outdoor recreation and commercial opportunities throughout the state,” Susewind said in the release. “The public has high expectations for WDFW, and I’m excited about being in a position to deliver the results they deserve.”

Pat Pattillo, who retired a few years ago from the agency after a long career in salmon management and who continues to keep a close eye on fisheries as well as advocates for sport angling, was very positive about the choice and the relative speed at which the process had moved along.

“I believe Kelly has the abilities to lead the department and communicate effectively with the many partners WDFW needs to be successful. Leadership from the top of the agency has been missing over the last two years and while capable managers for fish, wildlife, enforcement and habitat kept the wheels from falling off, it has been an agency without a head,” Pattillo said.

He said that Susewind will know whom he needs to establish relations with —  “the public, legislature, tribes and other management authorities.”

“It will take energy and, from what I’ve heard, he has that capability,” Pattillo said.

Rep. Brian Blake,  the South Coast Democrat in charge of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee which sees many WDFW-related bills, said Susewind had his “full support.”

“He is a lifelong hunter and I expect that he will be a force for positive change at DFW,” he said.

Fellow hunter Commissioner Jay Kehne of Omak nominated “Candidate P,” Susewind, for the position and was seconded by Vice Chair Larry Carpenter of Mount Vernon.

Susewind will oversee a staff of 1,800, land base of 1,400 square miles and harness a $437 million two-year budget to hold and conserve fisheries and hunting opportunities and provide scientific rationale for what it’s doing.

He also must deal with a potential $30 million budget shortfall in 2019-21 that could force the closure of the Omak and Naches trout hatcheries and other potential cuts unless the gap is filled by the legislature.

“He’s a good manager, great people skills and a real CEO type,” said Tom Nelson, co-host of a Seattle outdoors radio show on 710 ESPN.

Susewind’s soon-to-be old boss, DOE’s Maia Bellon, tweeted out her best wishes, “Congratulations, Kelly! Thank you for all the hard work and years of service at @ecologywa. We wish you all the best at @wdfw, and look forward to collaborating with you in your new role.”

When the Fish and Wildlife Commission put out its help wanted ad around four months ago, it said the next director would lead the agency through a “transformative” period.

“Obviously the Commission wants to take the department in an entirely new direction.  Change is very difficult, and taking over WDFW is nearly as complex as taking over a federal resource agency, with many of the same challenges,” said Liz Hamilton of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association. “We welcome the new director and look forward to working with Mr. Susewind on conservation and recovery of our fisheries, growing participation in fishing and protecting the jobs in the sportfishing industry.”

Chair Smith said that “the appointment marks the beginning of a new era in the department’s history” and spoke highly of WDFW staff and what they could all accomplish together.

Susewind begins work Aug. 1 and will be paid an annual salary of $165,000.

Nineteen people applied for the position in the wake of Jim Unsworth’s resignation this past winter. That pool was cut to seven in April and then three last month.

One of the three, Joe Stohr, who has been acting director since Unsworth left,  sat at the end of the long table as the members of the citizen panel made their choice known. He was consoled by Smith after the vote, and after Smith phoned Susewind, Smith publicly added, “Joe, you have all of our respect.”

There will be some who will be unhappy that, once again, a new director is coming from outside the agency.

Commissioner Jay Holzmiller of Anatone likened the panel’s last selection to “a kid getting cocky on a bike.”

“We got our knees and elbows skinned up,” he said before casting his support for Susewind.

One of the primary reasons for Unsworth’s departure was his handling of Puget Sound salmon fishing issues. Some hoped that the new director would come from this world.

“On the fish side, I don’t believe anyone thinks salmonid biology is (Susewind’s) strong suit but he’s a real quick study,” said Nelson, who added, “I think Susewind is a strong choice and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

But there were many issues that came to a head during Unsworth’s term,  which also suffered from the bad luck of coinciding with sharply declining salmon runs due to the North Pacific’s “Blob,”  the pool of warm water that has crushed several years of returns.

Mark Pidgeon said that the Hunters Heritage Council and Washingtonians for Wildlife Conservation were welcoming Susewind “with open arms.”

“We think that he will make an outstanding Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. We realize that he is taking over a department facing many crises and he will have many difficult tasks facing him.  Both our organizations look forward to working with him to build a better and brighter future for WDFW,” said Pidgeon.

Among Susewind’s immediate challenges will be that looming budget gap, and as a member of WDFW’s Budget Policy and Advisory Group helping the agency navigate those dangerous straits, Pidgeon advised the new top honcho to “open lines of communications, especially to the hunters and fishers.”

“These users have felt shut out. The best way to bring more money in the coffers is sell more licenses, talk with us and see what we want,” he said.

Pidgeon is also on WDFW’s Wolf Advisory Group.

“I want the new director to know he can call on me anytime.”

Wanda Clifford of the venerable Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, one of the state’s oldest sporting organizations, also extended that offer of help.

“We are very pleased with the hire of Kelly Susewind and look forward to working with with him. We would hope that Kelly will have a better understanding of the hunting community and the number of hunters that put time and funds into our statewide budget. We feel that in the past the thoughts, needs and suggestions  from the hunting community have not been respected when in reality a large part of the department’s budget comes from the purchase of license and tags, and as a user group are often put on the bottom.”

With INWC based in Spokane, from where it puts on the annual Big Horn Show, and in the corner of the state where most of Washington’s wolves roam, you can bet that the predators were on Clifford’s mind as well.

“We also would like to see our new director work on the large wolf issue that we face here on the east side of the state,” she said, and wished Susewind good luck.

Editor’s note: My apologies for misspellings, etc., pain in the butt to report breaking news and reaction by phone on a weekend.

OSP Looking For Info On 2 Lane Co. Poachings

Oregon wildlife troopers are asking for the public’s help to solve two recent Lane County poaching incidents.

(OSP)

They say someone illegally shot an elk near Oakridge the evening of June 2, and they found a dead buck with an arrow in it in west Eugene earlier today.

The elk was discovered after troopers and Oakridge police responded to a trespassing-in-progress call east of town and north of Highway 58.

(OSP)

While the suspect had fled before officers arrived, they found a dead cow elk that had been shot.

Anyone with information on that case is being asked to call Senior Trooper Marshall Maher (1-800-452-7888; 541-953-9942).

As for the other incident, troopers found the dead blacktail near Churchill High School, arrow protruding from its midsection.

They say that this is the second time something like this has happened in the area and that it could be related.

Tips can be phoned in to Trooper Wolcott at 541-868-5056.

Judge Orders WDFW To Not Issue New Bear Damage Permits, Pending CBD $100K Bond Payment

A Thurston County Superior Court judge says WDFW can’t issue new black bear timber depredation permits as soon as an environmental group pays a steep $100,000 bond.

Center For Biological Diversity, which sued the state agency in late May over what it contends is an illegal hunting program, has until June 20th to round the money up.

A PEELED TREE IN THE TIGER MOUNTAIN STATE FOREST EARLIER THIS SPRING. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“Although the harm is monetary, it is significant to property owners, and for that reason the court is declining to issue a nominal bond in this case,” said Judge Carol Murphy in video tweeted out from the courtroom by KING 5 reporter Alison Morrow, who has been chasing this story for more than a year.

If CBD doesn’t pay, the judge won’t issue preliminary injunctive relief to the Arizona-based organization.

But if it does on or before the 20th, WDFW couldn’t issue more permits as soon as one business day later.

The case stems from 1996’s I-655 and to a lesser degree 2000’s I-713, which while banning hunting bears with bait or dogs and body-gripping traps, provided exemptions for problem wildlife.

However, CBD says the program WDFW subsequently created to address bears that in spring gnaw on the bark of young Douglas firs, hemlocks and other species to get at a sugary sap underneath, often killing the commercially valuable trees, “does not fall within these narrow exceptions.”

Should the payment be made, Murphy said the court is willing to hold a judicial review of CBD’s petition “on an expedited basis.”

Morrow reports that the $100,000 bond is for damages to tree farm operators should the environmental group lose the case.

Registration Open For NSIA’s Annual Fundraising Golf Tournament, June 28

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION

Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, in cooperation with Sportco/Outdoor Emporium, is pleased to present the 8th Annual ‘Fore the Fish! Golf Tournament’.  This year’s event will take place on Thursday, June 28th at the beautiful Olympia Country & Golf Club, in Olympia, WA.  The tournament will be a best ball scramble format, making it a fun round for even the occasional golfer.

PARTICIPANTS IN THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION’S “FORE THE FISH” GOLF TOURNAMENT PREPARE TO HEAD FOR THE LINKS AS PART OF THE ANNUAL FUNDRAISERS. (NSIA)

Proceeds from the NSIA Golf Tournament help support NSIA’s work to ensure healthy fisheries and a vibrant Sportfishing industry in the Pacific Northwest. Proceeds from events has enabled NSIA to be successful in opening new fisheries, growing existing fisheries, and representing the voice of the Sportfishing industry in government.

NSIA TERMS THE EVENT A WIN FOR EVERYONE, AND SAYS MONEY RAISED GOES TOWARD “OPENING NEW FISHERIES, GROWING EXISTING FISHERIES, AND REPRESENTING THE
VOICE OF THE SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY IN GOVERNMENT.” (NSIA)

Registration is now open with a cost of $125 per participant or $500 per foursome.  The event includes a putting contest prior to tee off and a variety of hole-in-one prizes on four different par-three holes. There will be a post-tournament barbecue where team prizes are awarded along with a live auction, silent auction and bucket raffles.  Registration opens at 10:00 am, the shotgun start is at 12:00 noon. Registration can be completed on the NSIA website at www. nsiafishing.org or by calling the NSIA office at 503-631-8859.

GABE MILLER OF SPORTCO AND OUTDOOR EMPORIUM, A COSPONSOR OF “FORE THE FISH,” HANDS OUT PRIZES AFTERWARDS. (NSIA)

Sponsorship and donation opportunities are still available. Support of this tournament is an excellent way to gain brand recognition with more than a hundred golfers and sportfishermen. Game sponsors have the option to staff their hole, gaining the opportunity to interact with the golfers with contests and activities centered around sponsor products and services.  For more information on sponsorship or donation opportunities – or to register a team – contact Heather Reese at events@nsiafishing.org or 503-631-8859.

USFWS Reviewing Status Of Still-listed Lower 48 Gray Wolves

It’s not just North Cascades grizzly reintroduction that federal wildlife overseers have begun working on again this year. They’re also putting in time on gray wolf delisting for the western Northwest and elsewhere, it appears.

A MEMBER OF CENTRAL WASHINGTON’S TEANAWAY PACK, WHICH ROAMS THE PART OF THE STATE WHERE WOLVES ARE STILL FEDERALLY LISTED, STANDS IN A FOREST. (BEN MALETZKE, WDFW)

Half a decade to the month after first proposing to declare wolves recovered across the rest of the contiguous United States, a process subsequently derailed through lawsuits, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “has begun reviewing the status of the species.”

That’s according to a brief two-paragraph statement emailed to Northwest Sportsman magazine Thursday afternoon by a spokesperson.

“Working closely with our federal, state, tribal and local partners, we will assess the currently listed gray wolf entities in the Lower 48 states using the best available scientific information,” it continues. “If appropriate, the Service will publish a proposal to revise the wolf’s status in the Federal Register by the end of the calendar year. Any proposal will follow a robust, transparent and open public process that will provide opportunity for public comment.”

ODFW’S LATEST WOLF PACK MAP DOESN’T SHOW THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN THE FEDERALLY DELISTED AND STILL-LISTED AREAS OF OREGON, BUT IT INCLUDES MUCH OF THE EASTERN THIRD OF THE STATE. THE RED LINE  (ODFW)

That could level the playing field, per se, in Washington and Oregon, where wildlife managers and livestock producers operate by different sets of rules depending on which side of a series of highways they’re on.

In spring 2011, Congress delisted wolves in each state’s eastern third — as well as all of Montana and Idaho and a portion of Utah — leaving management there up to WDFW and ODFW.

Meanwhile, federal protections continued in their western two-thirds, where lethal removal is not in the toolbox to deal with chronic depredations.

“Incompatibility between the Washington state management plan and the federal management plan creates a bureaucratic nightmare that leaves communities in Eastern Washington unable to defend themselves against increasing wolf attacks and livestock depredations,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane) wrote to Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in a letter earlier this week calling on his agency to look at delisting wolves.

Regardless of the ranch’s or grazing allotment’s location, both states stress preventative measures to head off cattle and sheep conflicts.

WDFW’S LATEST PACK MAP SHOWS THE DEMARCATION BETWEEN WHERE WOLVES ARE MANAGED BY THE STATE AND UNDER FEDERAL PROTECTIONS, THE BLACK LINE RUNNING NORTH-SOUTH THROUGH EASTERN WASHINGTON. (WDFW)

Later in 2011, USFWS declared the species recovered in the western Great Lakes states.

And then in June 2013, with “gray wolves no longer (facing) the threat of extinction or (requiring) the protections of the Endangered Species Act,” according to then-Director Dan Ashe, the feds proposed delisting them throughout the rest of their range.

But progress stalled, and then came a Humane Society of the United States court case addressing Canis lupus in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“Unfortunately, the delisting of wolves in the Western Great Lakes region was successfully overturned by the courts, which prevented the Service from moving forward with the full delisting proposal at that time,” the second part of the USFWS statement concludes.

Last summer, a federal appeals court decision yielded mixed results, but the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation saw positives, including “(undoing) a number of roadblocks thus providing a path forward.”

Over the years, Washington’s and Oregon’s wolf populations have more than doubled from 2013 levels, largely in the state-managed areas.

And now, USFWS’s big, long delisting pause appears to be over, which will excite some and make others fearful.