Category Archives: Headlines

IDFG Says Chinook Seasons Could Reopen After Count Picks Up

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

Migration conditions in the lower Columbia River and a late run have challenged Fish and Game’s normal process for setting Chinook salmon seasons. Fisheries managers closed the spring/summer Chinook season as a precaution on May 24 on all rivers, except Hells Canyon, due to low numbers of Chinook counted at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. It’s the first dam the fish cross, and the first opportunity managers to count fish destined for Idaho, and since then, Chinook returns have improved.

WHAT MAY BE THE LATEST RETURN OF SALMON ON RECORD IS GIVING IDAHO MANAGERS AND ANGLERS HOPE THAT RIVERS CAN BE REOPENED FOR CHINOOK LIKE THIS ONE CAUGHT BY GARRETT GRUBBS SEVERAL SEASONS AGO ON THE CLEARWATER. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

On Friday, June 2, the Fish and Game Commission will meet via conference call to consider a proposal to reopen fishing for spring Chinook salmon on the Little Salmon River, and to open summer Chinook salmon seasons on the Clearwater, South Fork Salmon and upper Salmon River.

The run is much later than usual, and possibly the latest on record. Anadromous Fishery Manager Lance Hebdon said it’s still too early to say for certain where fisheries will occur, or how long they might last.

“The good news is we’re now fairly confident that we’ll have some sort of a fishery in the Little Salmon River, but that’s all we can really say at this point. We’ll provide as much fishing opportunity as we can, and we’ll get the word out as soon as a decision is made.”

Although fishery managers expect to have sufficient returns to allow a harvest of several hundred spring Chinook, they expect the lower run size will limit the duration of the season.

“We’re evaluating fish passage information on a daily basis right now to determine if, when and where we have the opportunity for harvest,” Hebdon said.

Low numbers of wild Chinook may further constrain some fisheries. The number of wild Chinook destined for Idaho waters that have crossed Bonneville Dam is much lower than average. If those numbers don’t increase, fishing may be limited to areas where anglers are unlikely to hook wild Chinook, such as the Little Salmon River. Areas typically open to fishing, like the main Salmon between Rice Creek and Vinegar Creek may remain closed.

WA DNR Chief Raises Concerns Over President’s Proposed Budget

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz sees the potential for serious problems in Washington State if President Trump’s proposed federal budget is adopted.

“This budget undercuts our environment, our economy and our culture. It sabotages decades of Puget Sound restoration, removes protections from our forests and threatens the long-term security of our communities,” the Commissioner said Thursday.

STORM CLOUDS LOOM OVER PUGET SOUND AND A KAYAK ANGLER OFF WHIDBEY ISLAND DURING JULY 2015. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The American people own 12,705,335 acres of Washington State, 28 percent of all the land, 44 percent of forests. Federal investment in those lands helps ensure our environment is safe, our public is protected, and we have rural employment opportunities.

Budget threatens Puget Sound

Among the more startling reductions in the budget are those that would affect Puget Sound, the nation’s largest estuary. President Trump’s budget cuts $28 million dollars of funding dedicated to Puget Sound recovery in the EPA’s Puget Sound Geographic Program, halting efforts to expand wetlands, restore flood plains and remove barriers to fish passage in the 10,000 streams that drain into the Sound.

The Sound is the center of Washington’s $21 billion maritime industry that employs some 69,500 people. More than $80 billion in annual trade flows in and out through its ports, it attracts tourists and trade opportunities from all over the world and sustains a $1 billion fishing and shellfish industry, fueling local economies all along our state’s western coastline. All of those opportunities and industries need healthy water to survive.

Further, this proposed budget zeros out $63 million dollars for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) vital Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Fund. This cut undoes decades of work to restore wild fish runs, work required by the Endangered Species Act. Since this fund was started in 2000, 2 of the 15 salmon and steelhead populations listed under the Endangered Species Act are almost to their recovery goals. Failure to recover these endangered runs jeopardizes the future of our state’s $1 billion-plus recreational fishing industry, a hit which would be felt all over our state.

The proposed budget also jeopardizes long-standing partnerships. The Puget Sound Partnership matches $9.9 million from the E.P.A.’s National Estuary Program with $7.5 million state dollars to prioritize and achieve projects that make our water, our habitat, and our people healthier. The partnership leverages that money to gather further funding from tribes, local governments and non-government organizations and $1.4 million from NOAA.

Discontinues important research

Through its research, education and technical expertise, the Washington Sea Grant has contributed more than $49 million to Washington’s economy. The proposed budget cuts to NOAA would rob the program of 90 percent of its funding, taking away critical expertise in sustainable fishing and aquaculture from our fishermen and shellfish growers.

Further cuts to NOAA include the National Estuarine Research Reserve system, through which the state has been able to protect the 8,000-acre bed of eelgrass at Padilla Bay, one of the largest in the nation. This is critical habitat that provides the foundation for Puget Sound’s food web, providing habitat for herring and smelt that feed our salmon, shorebirds and iconic orcas. Developing research also shows eelgrass, like that which covers Padilla Bay, can be an important part of adapting to acidifying marine waters, a vital tool in coping with the effects of climate change along our coastline.

Funding vital to shellfish industry

Washington’s shellfish growers export much of the clams, oysters and our famous geoduck – harvested from Washington tidelands – to overseas markets. Our largest geoduck importer, China, sets strict water quality standards in order to accept Washington shellfish. In 2013 China refused to accept Washington geoducks and if that happened again, it could cripple our state’s shellfish industry.

By turning its back on efforts to restore the health of Puget Sound, the Trump administration is putting Washington’s shellfish industry at grave risk. This budget harms local shellfish farmers, the communities in which they live and the ability for the state to generate restoration revenue. This year alone, the Department of Natural Resources generated $25 million dollars in funds used to restore Washington’s waterways from the sale of wild geoduck harvested from state-owned aquatic lands.

Inadequate forest protection

Washington’s oceans, fish and marine trade aren’t the only ones to suffer under this proposed budget. This budget puts our citizens in jeopardy by failing to address the problem of “fire borrowing” in the U.S. Forest Service. In fiscal year 2015, the Forest Service had to use $700 million intended for other programs to pay for wildfire suppression.

By setting the Forest Service’s firefighting budget at the average of the past 10 years, choosing to ignore the reality of the new mega fires we are seeing, especially in Washington State, the administration is basing the protection of our forests on already inadequate spending levels and fails to address the fire borrowing problem.

Washington State and the 100,000 people that work in the forest industry need the Forest Service to have a secure, steady source of funding for forest restoration. Washington has 2.7 million acres of forests that are very vulnerable to fire as disease, drought and insect damage makes them vulnerable to catastrophic wildfires, and half of those at-risk forests are federal forests.

“I urge our congressional delegation to use the spending control the U.S. Constitution provides them to reject the unnecessary and drastic spending cuts put forth by the President’s administration and pass a federal spending plan that honors the promises our federal government has made to the people of our state,” said Commissioner Franz.

‘Significant Blow’ To Anti-poaching Efforts In Oregon Appeals Court Ruling

In what was termed “a significant blow” to Oregon’s attempts to make poaching a more serious financial blow, a state appeals court ruling is putting the onus on collecting money for illegally killing game and other other animals on ODFW.

Judges had been sentencing defendants to pay restitution of as much as $25,000 for trophy big game, but according to The Oregonian, the law was not meant for judges to apply to defendants but to the state agency to pursue as a civil penalty.

TWO WESTERN OREGON MEN WERE ORDERED TO PAY THOUSANDS IN RESTITUTION FOR ILLEGALLY KILLING SEVERAL TROPHY BLACKTAIL DEER, BUT AN APPEALS COURT RULING SAYS THAT IT’S NOT A JUDGE’S PLACE TO IMPOSE SUCH FINES BUT THE DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE’S. (OSP)

In the short term, it means a North-central Oregon won’t have to pay a $2,000 fine for possessing a dead redtail hawk, though she had been ordered to before appealing.

Restitution payments to ODFW are meant to discourage poaching, and trophy-caliber and rarer big game have even higher financial penalties.

They range from $25,000 for bull moose and bighorn rams to $15,000 for mature bull elk to four-point-or-better deer to $1,000 for other wildlife.

The newspaper posted a link to yesterday’s ruling by the three-judge appeals court panel.

The story did not include a response from ODFW; the agency did not respond to a request for comment from Northwest Sportsman last month on the matter.

2 (509) Sturgeon Fisheries Open Saturday, But Note Tweaks To Mid-Columbia Fishery

THE FOLLOWING ARE EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICES FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Revised sturgeon harvest rules in Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs

Action: Increase the daily limit to two (2) sturgeon, and remove the annual limit and the requirement to record caught sturgeon on a catch-record-card.

Effective Dates: One hour before official sunrise on May 27 through one hour after official sunset on Sept. 17, 2017.

MAY 27 MARKS THE START OF THE SECOND STURGEON RETENTION FISHERY IN TWO MID-COLUMBIA RESERVOIRS AND FIRST IN AT LEAST 20 YEARS ON LAKE ROOSEVELT. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Species affected: White sturgeon between 38 and 72 inches fork length.

Location: Priest Rapids Reservoir (from Priest Rapids Dam to Wanapum Dam) and Wanapum Reservoir (from Wanapum Dam to Rock Island Dam).

Reason for action: Re-evaluation of sturgeon harvest rules in the original Fishing Rule Change were deemed inconsistent with management objectives in Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs. Revising the sturgeon harvest rules is necessary to maximize harvest of hatchery-origin sturgeon. Provided below are the rules anglers must follow while fishing in Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs.

Other information:

  • Daily limit of two (2) sturgeon between 38 and 72 inches fork length may be harvested from Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs only.
  • No annual harvest limit of sturgeon between 38 and 72 inches fork length from Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs only.
  • Anglers are not required to record sturgeon harvested from Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs on a Catch Record Card.
  • Catch-and-release fishing is allowed in Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs after the daily limit is harvested.
  • Any sturgeon not to be harvested must be released immediately. Oversized sturgeon cannot be removed totally or in part from the water.
  • Night closure is in effect for sturgeon. Official sunrise and sunset times can be found at: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.php.
  • Only one single-point barbless hook and bait is allowed while fishing for sturgeon.
  • Anglers may fish for sturgeon with two poles with the purchase of a Two-Pole Endorsement license.
  • In the field, eggs must be retained with intact carcass of fish from which they came.
  • All closed water areas in and around Priest Rapids, Wanapum, and Rock Island dams are still in effect. Check the current sport fishing rules pamphlet for complete details (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/).
  • Daily and annual limits, harvestable slot length limits, Catch Record Card recording requirements, and all other sport fishing rules governing sturgeon harvest in all other legally open fisheries still apply.

Lake Roosevelt to open for white sturgeon fishing

Action: Open a harvest fishery for white sturgeon in Lake Roosevelt.

Species affected: White sturgeon.

Locations and effective dates: Lake Roosevelt.

  • From Grand Coulee Dam to China Bend Boat Ramp (including the Spokane River from Highway 25 Bridge upstream to 400′ below Little Falls Dam, Colville River upstream to Meyers Falls and the Kettle River upstream to Barstow Bridge). Open 7 days per week beginning May 27 through Sept. 17, 2017.
  • From China Bend Boat Ramp upstream to the Canadian Border (white sturgeon spawning sanctuary). Open seven days per week beginning Aug.1 through Sept. 17, 2017.

Fishery Rules: Daily limit 1 sturgeon. Annual limit 2 sturgeon. It is legal to retain sturgeon between 38 inches and 63 inches fork length. Fork length is measured from the tip of the snout to middle of the fork in the caudal fin (tail). All harvested sturgeon must be recorded on a Catch Record Card (Catch Code 549). Two-pole fishing is allowed. Closed to night fishing. All other statewide rules for white sturgeon must be observed, including the use of barbless hooks.

Anglers are asked to use heavy gear (50 lb test mainline and leader, at minimum) and use 14/0 hooks or smaller (approximately 2 inches or less from point to shank) to help ensure anglers hook and land sturgeon effectively. WDFW recommends that any fish that will not be legally retained should not be removed from the water prior to release.

Reason for action: Fishery managers in Washington state and British Columbia began sturgeon hatchery programs in the early 2000s in response to a decades-long decline in the white sturgeon population in Lake Roosevelt. Survival rates for those hatchery-produced juvenile sturgeon is much higher than was anticipated. As a result, there is a surplus of approximately that are available for harvest from Lake Roosevelt.

Other information:

  • The Lake Roosevelt co-managers (WDFW, Spokane Tribe and the Colville Confederated Tribes) will all be conducting sturgeon fisheries. The co-managers have negotiated a catch share agreement that allows each entity a guaranteed portion of the sturgeon harvest. Non-tribal licensed anglers will have the opportunity to harvest up to 10,250 sturgeon over the next 10 years.
  • Anglers are reminded that fishery dates, times, slot limits, daily limits and annual limits may be adjusted over the next decade to ensure a sustainable population of sturgeon is maintained in Lake Roosevelt and that equitable access to the negotiated catch share amongst the three co-managers is achieved.

Upper Rogue Stocked For Memorial Weekend, Summer Season, But Beware Flows

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

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is stocking the Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir this week in time for the Memorial Day weekend. This stretch of river, commonly called the North Fork, is the Rogue’s premier summer trout fishery.

AN ANGLER SHOWS OFF A ROGUE RIVER RAINBOW TROUT, CAUGHT ON A FLY ROD. (JOSEPH SANDS, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR)

Trout are being released at Mill Creek, River Bridge, Union Creek and Farewell Bend campgrounds. Woodruff Bridge, Mt. Stella Bridge, and the Highway 230 release site are also receiving legal-sized trout.

A wet winter and higher snowpack mean some sites are still snowed in and some have streamflow too high to safely stock trout. Mill Creek Bridge at Prospect, Natural Bridge Campground, Crater Creek, and Minnehaha Creek will be stocked when conditions allow.

“The upper Rogue is one of the best places for families to fish while escaping the heat of summer,” says District Fish Biologist Dan Van Dyke. “It’s clean, cold water and great scenery, and in most places is flowing under the canopy of Ponderosa and sugar pines.”

With streamflow about 30 percent higher than 2011 – another year with heavy snowpack and high streamflow – Van Dyke encourages those with children to be vigilant around the water this year. Anglers are reminded that naturally produced brook, rainbow, and some brown trout and cutthroat trout are also available.

Learn First Aid At Sea At June 5 Course In Seattle

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM WASHINGTON SEA GRANT

Washington Sea Grant and the Port of Seattle Fishermen’s Terminal are co-sponsoring a Coast Guard-approved First Aid at Sea Course on Monday, June 5, 2017, in the Nordby Room, Nordby Bldg, Fishermen’s Terminal.

(WASHINGTON SEA GRANT)

Topics covered include CPR, patient assessment, hypothermia, cold water, near drowning, shock, trauma, burns, fractures, choking, immobilization and essentials for first-aid kits.

1ST AID AT SEA • MONDAY, JUNE 5
First Aid at Sea

WHEN Monday, June 5, 2017
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE Nordby Conference Room
Nordby Bldg.
Fishermen’s Terminal, Seattle

FEE $100 ($50 for commercial fishermen)

REGISTER TODAY
Pre-registration required. To register or for more information contact Sarah Fisken, 206.543.1225, or sfisken@u.washington.edu

Free Fishing Weekend Events Slated For Southern Oregon Waters

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

Oregonian’s can fish, crab and clam for free during Free Fishing Weekend, June 3-4. Events held around Southern Oregon give families an opportunity to try their hand at landing a trout.

DIAMOND LAKE, WHERE ALLISA OLSEN CAUGHT THIS 22-PLUS-INCHER, IS AMONG THE SOUTHERN OREGON WATERS HOSTING FREE FISHING WEEKEND EVENTS ON JUNE 3-4. ALLISA WAS ASSISTED BY SISTER KATIE ON THE NET. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

The following events held are Saturday, June 4 unless noted:

Coos County:

  • Eel Lake at Tugman State Park, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. At a series of stations, kids will learn how to identify fish, tie knots, and cast along with fishing courtesy and water safety. Kids 12 and under can have the chance to catch trout out of a net pen. Lunch is provided.

Curry County:

  • Arizona Pond, Sunday, June 4 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. The annual Elk River Hatchery free fishing event moved to Arizona Pond located 15 miles south of Port Orford on Highway 101 across from Prehistoric Gardens. This event is open for youth age 17 and under and is hosted by Elk River Hatchery and Oregon State Parks. Rods, reels, bait and tackle will be provided for the event, along with ice and bags so kids can take their fish home. Volunteers can help young anglers and Port Orford Rotary is providing lunch and refreshments. A raffle will be held at noon. ODFW is stocking 800 legal-sized and 300 trophy trout. Information: David Chambers, 541-332-7025.
  • Libby Pond, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. This event is for kids 13 and younger. Sign-up for prizes begins at 8 a.m., and the event features lunch, prize drawings, and loaner fishing equipment. Adults are encouraged to help their young ones fish. Help will also be on hand from Curry Anadromous Fishermen, Oregon South Coast Fishermen, ODFW and the U.S. Forest Service who are all sponsoring the event. Libby Pond is about eight miles up North Bank Rd., Gold Beach.

Douglas County:

  • Cooper Creek, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. This popular event has a kiddie pond stocked with trout for kids up to eight years old, loaner rods and reels, casting lessons, and a fish cleaning station. Once kids go through an education station, they get a ticket for raffle drawings. Free hot dogs and Pepsi. ODFW is stocking 1,000 larger sized trout just before the event.
  • Diamond Lake, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. This fishing derby is for kids 17 and younger. Check-in begins at 6 a.m. at the resort’s Marina. There will be prizes for biggest fish by different age classes so kids should check in their trout for measurement at the Marina by 2 p.m. There will be door prizes and hot dogs in front of the resort after check-out concludes.
  • Galesville Reservoir, Sunday, June 4 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. There will be bait supplies, loaner rods, and help for first-time anglers age 16 and younger. ODFW is stocking 500 legal-sized trout just prior to Free Fishing Weekend.
  • Lake Marie, Sunday, June 4 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. for kids 14 and under. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Rods and reels will be available, along with help for first-time anglers. Kids can enter a casting contest and get a bounty for picking up litter. Hot dogs and soda are free to kids with a nominal charge for adults to help pay for next year’s event. ODFW is stocking 2,000 larger sized trout before the event.

Jackson County:

  • Hyatt Lake – Mountain View Shelter, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. free breakfast sponsored by ODFW’s Hunter Education Program. From 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., the BLM and USFS will have rods, tackle and bait on a first come, first served basis. Contact: 541-772-4970.

Josephine County:

  • Lake Selmac, 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Josephine County’s only Free Fishing Weekend event is sponsored by the Middle Rogue Steelheaders and ODFW’s Angler Education program. Rods and reels are available for loan and bait is provided. There’s a fishing contest for the biggest fish caught by youth, donated prizes, a free BBQ 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., and a 50/50 raffle. Information: Ryan Battleson, 541-826-8774 x226.

All other regulations apply including bag limit and size restrictions. People who already have a combined tag for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and halibut are encouraged to use it as it provides data for fish managers.

States Holding Meeting On Potential Lower Columbia Sturgeon Retention

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

The Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife will host an informational meeting open to the public on May 30 to solicit input on potential 2017 recreational sturgeon fisheries in the lower Columbia River. The meeting will be held at the Heathman Lodge (7801 NE Greenwood Drive Vancouver, Washington) from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

CARVER AND BRADY, 5 AND 6, INSPECT THEIR FIRST-EVER STURGEON, CAUGHT WHILE FISHING IN 2013 WITH GUIDE LEAF GERAGHTY, WHO HOLDS THEIR FISH. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

The lower Columbia River has been closed to sturgeon retention since 2014 due to concerns about population status. A joint state hearing originally scheduled for today to consider the sturgeon fishery has been postponed to allow additional notification time for members of the public who may want to participate.  Joint state staff want to ensure the general angling public has had an opportunity to review the proposal and provide input on the potential fishery, so both states decided to postpone the originally scheduled meeting.

A draft of the proposed fishery structure will be posted for public review on Friday, May 26 at this website: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/fact_sheets.asp.

Following the May 30 public meeting, the Departments will host a publically open Joint State Hearing on May 31 to discuss potential adoption of fishery.

People who cannot attend the hearing can send comments by email to John North (john.a.north@state.or.us) or Tucker Jones (tucker.a.jones@state.or.us).

All-depth recreational halibut fishing will close off Ilwaco

The following is a wdfw emergency rule change notice

FISHING RULE CHANGE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

May 24, 2017

All-depth recreational halibut fishing will close off Ilwaco, continue in most other marine areas

Action: Recreational halibut fishing in the all-depth area will close in Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco), effective at the end of the day Thursday, May 25. Marine Areas 3 (La Push), 4 (Neah Bay), and 5-10 (Puget Sound) will be open to recreational halibut fishing for another day on Thursday, June 1.

Effective date: 11:59 p.m. Thursday, May 25, 2017

 Species affected: Pacific halibut

 Location:  Marine Areas 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

 Reason for action:  There is not sufficient quota remaining to allow another all-depth fishing day in Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) after Thursday, May 25. There is, however, enough quota reserved to continue to allow halibut retention with bottomfish on board in the nearshore area of Marine Area 1 Mondays through Wednesdays until further notice.  Any quota not taken in the all-depth fishery will be transferred to the quota available for the nearshore area. 

Sufficient quota remains to open another fishing day in the north coast (Marine Areas 3 and 4) and Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5-10) on Thurs. June 1. Catch data will be evaluated following the opening on June 1 to determine if enough quota remains for additional fishing days in the north coast and Puget Sound. 

These rules conform to action taken by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) and the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). 

Additional information: There is not sufficient quota remaining to open the nearshore fishery in Marine Area 2 (Westport). This area will remain closed to recreational halibut fishing for the remainder of the year.

Information contact: Heather Reed, (360) 902-2487

Elk Habitat Conserved in Washington’s Lewis River Watershed

The below is a press release from Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2017
MEDIA NOTE: For a high-resolution photo or more information,
contact Mark Holyoak, RMEF, 406-523-3481 or mholyoak@rmef.org
This news release is also posted here.

Elk Habitat Conserved in
Washington’s Lewis River Watershed

MISSOULA, Mont.—Nearly 4,500 acres of prime wildlife habitat in southwestern Washington are permanently protected and opened to public access thanks to ongoing collaborative efforts by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and PacifiCorp, an electric utility company.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This forestland is crucial habitat for Roosevelt elk. It’s now forever protected and conserved in a region where designation of the Mount St. Helens National Monument restricts management options.”

“Conserving and managing this habitat on the southwest slopes of Mount St. Helens, where elk are threatened by forage loss from forest succession and habitat loss to development is a just part of PacifiCorp’s ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Todd Olson, the company’s compliance director. “We highly value the partnership with the RMEF and the other parties that makes this possible.”

The just-completed 1,880-acre acquisition is the third phase of a project that previously protected an additional 2,590 acres of habitat in the upper Lewis River basin north of Swift Reservoir.

The combined 4,470-acre property was originally in a checkerboard ownership pattern. It is now blocked up and provides connectivity with state and federal lands to the north and is part of a 15,000-acre landscape managed as wildlife habitat by PacifiCorp. This management is conducted with input from RMEF, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and resource agencies.

“Federal forests near Mount St. Helens are overgrown and contributed to the decline of what was once one of Washington’s most productive elk herds. This project greatly improves forest management which is a huge benefit for elk and other wildlife,” added Henning.

The landscape provides vital elk migratory corridors and is home to blacktail deer, black bear, mountain lions and a wide array of bird and other animal life.

With few exceptions to provide public safety, PacifiCorp wildlife lands are open to non-motorized public access including hunting and other recreation.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 222,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.
Take action: join and/or donate.

About PacifiCorp
PacifiCorp provides electric service to 1.8 million customers in six western states. Operating as Pacific Power in Oregon, Washington and California, and as Rocky Mountain Power in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho, our goal is to provide our customers with value for their energy dollar through safe, reliable electricity.