Tag Archives: ASOTIN CREEK WILDLIFE AREA

18 WDFW Fish, Wildlife, Recreation Acquisition Proposals Out For Comment

Washington land managers have their eyes on nearly 7,000 acres across the state for fish and wildlife habitat, angling, hunting and other recreational uses and are asking for comment on them.

The 18 proposals range from padding wildlife areas and purchasing inholdings in Eastern Washington to conserving and restoring Puget Sound estuaries to strategic partnerships with counties and improved access to salmon streams.

ATTENDEES AT THE DEDICATION OF THE 4-O RANCH UNIT OF THE CHIEF JOSEPH WILDLIFE AREA IN MAY 2017 LOOK TOWARDS A 770-ACRE PARCEL OWNED BY THE 4-0 CATTLE COMPANY THAT WDFW WOULD NOW LIKE TO PURCHASE. OWNERS TYPICALLY APPROACH THE STATE ABOUT BUYING THEIR LAND; WDFW WHICH IS REQUIRED TO ONLY PAY MARKET VALUE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“Our goal is to protect land and water for people and wildlife throughout the state while preserving natural and cultural heritage,” said WDFW lands manager Cynthia Wilkerson in a press release.

They’re all far from done deals. Public input over the next three weeks will help determine which will move forward to be competitively ranked against other agencies’, cities’, counties’ and organizations’ proposals. Funding would be sought through state and federal grants for recreation, habitat and endangered species.

WDFW’s 2020 wish list is more than twice as long as last year’s and it’s notable for several proposals.

A 420-acre property in the lower Methow valley would not only protect “crucial sagebrush steppe habitat” for mule deer and other species, but help “(cultivate) a critical partnership with Okanogan County.”

That county is one of the last best places to do big things in terms of wildlife habitat, but local commissioners and residents have also bristled about state land buys and their impacts to tax rolls.

Buying the ground on top of a bench above the tiny town of Methow would allow WDFW to “partner with the county and facilitate their access to additional rock sources for public works projects.”

The project has the support of Okanogan County, the agency notes.

(WDFW)

Other big acquisitions include a quartet in extreme Southeast Washington.

The largest is 1,650 acres on Harlow Ridge, which includes a series of flats and timbered draws between upper South Fork Asotin and George Creeks west of Anatone.

Adjacent to the Asotin Creek Wildlife Area, it would protect elk winter range and calving areas, as well as “rare and imperiled remnant prairie habitats and endemic plants.”

“Department staff have been responding to elk damage in the Cloverland area and the purchase of this property would help to alleviate damage issues by providing alternate forage,” WDFW adds.

It has support from the Asotin County Sportsmen’s Association and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The 643-acre Green Gulch buy would link sections of the Chief Joseph Wildlife Area on the west side of the divide between Hells Canyon and Joseph Creek, “providing connectivity for mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk and other species” and “a great deal of recreational opportunity such as, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and bird watching.”

RMEF, the sportsmen’s association and the Asotin County Lands Committee all support it.

The pro-hunting and -elk organization also gives the thumbs up to adding another 770 acres to the spectacular 4-O Wildlife Area, purchased in chunks earlier this decade from rancher Mike Odom. If approved it would bring the unit along and above the Grande Ronde River to 11,234 acres, or 17.5 square miles.

A bit further west is a 720-acre patch that butts up against the Umatilla National Forest and which WDFW would like to add to the Grouse Flats Wildlife Area.

“The property is heavily used by elk, deer, bears, cougars, and wolves with many non-game species present. Numerous springs, wetlands, and Bear Creek on the property will continue to provide quality riparian habitat that should improve over time in public ownership,” WDFW states.

Recent pics from a site evaluation show it might need some cleaning up. RMEF supports the buy.

(WDFW)

In Yakima County is a 1,105-acre parcel on the west side of Wenas Lake that WDFW is looking at for as a habitat conservation easement and Wenas Wildlife Area headquarters.

It’s supported by birders and a conservancy.

In Grays Harbor, the agency would like to add as much as 416 acres in three parcels to the Davis Creek Wildlife Area, a former dairy farm, along the Chehalis River just downstream of Oakville. It has support from Ducks Unlimited and would protect the floodplain.

WDFW would also like to resecure access to popular Chapman Lake in western Spokane County following the closure of a resort with the only launch in 2011, as well as acqiure surrounding uplands. The lake is noted for kokanee and largemouth fishing, and the parklike lands and ponds above it look gamey.

“The intent is to purchase road access and a small lakefront footprint with exsisting grant funds and pursue funding for a land exchange or purchase of the remaining property in this section,” the agency explains.

Supporters include county commissioners and at least one local fly fishing club.

Another key access proposal is on the lower Samish River, up which plentiful hatchery fall Chinook return but getting to them can be difficult. Last year, anglers built a freelance boardwalk out of pallets to get to good spots — but which were also laid down on private land and had to be removed.

(WDFW)

Buying the 109-acre property “will contribute significantly to improving fishing access that is in high demand,” according to WDFW.

A levee does bisect the land and is marked with signs barring access, so conversations would need to occur with the local diking district, according to Skagit Wildlife Manager Belinda Rotton.

Still, she’s excited about the proposal, as it could help expand waterfowl hunting opportunities and access to harvestable salmon.

“When we heard it was available, ‘Oh my goodness,’ this will be a good property for us,” she said.

Skagit County supports the proposal.

Other proposals target the Union River and Discovery Bay estuaries, land surrounding a holding pool for summer steelhead on the East Fork Lewis River, a Skamania County bat cave, a 50-acre addition to the Ebey Island Wildlife Area, 2.5 acres around the Modrow Bridge launch on the Kalama, an acre at the old Peshastin Mill for a parking lot for a trail, and inholdings or parcels adjacent to the Rendezvous Wildlife Area of the upper Methow Valley and Quincy Lakes Wildlife Area west of Ephrata.

Following public review, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind would sign off on a list of projects for seeking funding. Typical sources include the state Capital Budget disbursed through the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office and from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s various granting mechanisms, including for endangered species.

WDFW owns and/or manages more than a million acres across Washington for fish, wildlife and recreation.

Comments are being taken from today till Jan. 3. Send them via email to lands@dfw.wa.gov or via the Post Office to Real Estate Services, PO Box 43158, Olympia, WA 98504.

WDFW Looking For More Input On 10-year Plan For 3 Blue Mtns. Wildlife Areas

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

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking additional public input as it works to complete a management plan for three wildlife areas in the Blue Mountains, a region representing some of the most scenic and important conservation lands in the state.

CHIEF JOSEPH WILDLIFE AREA. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

This plan, which WDFW intends to complete in April, covers the Asotin Creek, Chief Joseph and W.T. Wooten wildlife areas, encompassing 77,000 acres in Asotin, Garfield, Columbia and Walla Walla counties.

The agency met with wildlife area advisory committees, and state, federal and local community groups in recent months, but wants to gain additional feedback from the public.

Those who would like to provide their perspectives on the management of these wildlife areas are encouraged to review a short presentation on the highlights of the plan, State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) documents, and the draft plan itself at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/sepa/sepa_comment_docs.html.

The public can provide comments in a variety of ways, including submitting comments online at the SEPA webpage listed above, via email at BlueMntWLA@dfw.wa.gov or by calling 360-902-2815. The department is accepting comments through Feb. 28.

The plan proposes actions for the management of the wildlife area over the next 10 years. This includes efforts to protect wildlife species and their habitat and enhance recreational opportunities where appropriate, said Bob Dice, WDFW wildlife area manager.

The Blue Mountain wildlife areas are managed for the protection of wildlife habitat and native grasslands, and offer stunning scenery and ample opportunities for hunting, fishing, camping and wildlife viewing. The area is particularly known for world-class steelhead fishing.

“These areas are valuable to our state, people and wildlife, and we need citizens’ views to help guide our efforts to conserve and protect these places for future generations,” said Dice.

WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities. WDFW manages more than 1 million acres of public land across the state that is designated for wildlife habitat and public recreation.

WDFW Seeks Candidates For Asotin Co. Wildlife Areas Advisory Board

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

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking candidates by June 16 to serve on a new committee that advises the department on the management of the Chief Joseph and Asotin Creek wildlife areas.

WDFW IS LOOKING FOR CANDIDATES FOR A NEW COMMITTEE ADVISING THE STATE AGENCY AS IT DEVELOPS 10-YEAR PLANS FOR ITS ASOTIN CREEK AND CHIEF JOSEPH WILDLIFE AREAS, PART OF WHICH INCLUDES THE 4-O UNIT, SEEN IN PART HERE IN MAY 2016. (ANDY WALGAMOTT

The two wildlife areas, totaling 62,057 acres in Asotin and Garfield counties, are located in the Blue Mountains region. The W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area, which covers 16,481 acres in Columbia and Garfield counties, is also in the Blue Mountains region but already has an existing advisory committee due to its geographic separation, types of uses of the wildlife areas, and management priorities.

The new advisory group, together with the W.T. Wooten advisory committee, will assist the department with the development of the new Blue Mountains Wildlife Areas Management Plan, which will guide the actions on the three wildlife areas for the next 10 years.

WDFW manages the Chief Joseph and Asotin Creek wildlife areas primarily to protect big game winter range and to protect habitat for steelhead and bull trout.  The areas also provide opportunities for hunting, fishing, and wildlife-related recreation, plus other compatible uses such as agriculture.

The department is seeking broad and diverse representation from interested and affected groups. This includes tribes, local governments, hunters, anglers, other recreationists, environmental groups, nearby landowners, and local business owners.

“We would like participation in our advisory group to reflect the different uses of the Chief Joseph and Asotin Creek wildlife areas,” said Bob Dice, WDFW Blue Mountains Wildlife Areas manager.

The selected members will be expected to attend the first wildlife area advisory committee meeting this summer, as well as one or two other meetings per year.

For more information about the committee membership and roles and responsibilities, please go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/cja-waac/.

WDFW WILDLIFE AREA MANAGER  BOB DICE GIVES STATE REP. MARY DYE A VISUAL TOUR OF THE 4-O DURING MAY 2016’S DEDICATION. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Applicants should submit a letter of interest that includes the following:

Name, address, telephone number, and email address.
Organization the individual is representing (if any) and its mission and location.
The applicant’s familiarity with the wildlife areas and interest in participating in the advisory group.
His or her experience in the advisory group process and in collaborating with people who have different values.
A summary of experience with this or other wildlife areas, and land management issues.
Name and contact information for alternate member if selected member is unavailable.

Applications should be postmarked by 5 p.m., June 16, and sent to WDFW Eastern Region Headquarters, Attn: Chief Joseph/Asotin Creek WAAC Recruitment, 2315 North Discovery Place, Spokane Valley, WA 99216-1566; or by email to TeamSpokane@dfw.wa.gov with the subject line “Chief Joseph/Asotin Creek WAAC Recruitment.”

For more information, contact Bob Dice at (509) 758-3151.