Tag Archives: cowlitz county

$25 Million In Grants Aim To Ease Washington Fish Passage In 20 Counties

THE FOLLOWING IS A JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE AND THE WASHINGTON RECREATION AND CONSERVATION OFFICE

Migrating fish will soon have access to more than 82 miles of streams in Washington, thanks to $25 million in grants from the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board.

THERE’S A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL FOR FISH PASSAGE, THANKS TO THE AWARDING OF $25 MILLION TO COUNTIES, TRIBES AND OTHER ENTITIES TO REMEDY OLD CULVERTS AND OTHER STREAM CROSSINGS THROUGHOUT WASHINGTON. THIS IS A SKAGIT COUNTY PROJECT THAT’S IN THE DESIGN PHASE AND WILL OPEN 6.31 MILES OF HABITAT FOR E.S.A.-LISTED CHINOOK AND STEELHEAD. (RCO)

The board will fund more than 50 projects in 20 counties to remove fish passage barriers that block salmon and steelhead from swimming upstream to their spawning areas. The most common barriers to fish passage are culverts, which are large pipes or other structures that carry streams under roads. Culverts can be too high for fish to reach, too small to handle high water flows, or too steep for fish to navigate.

“These projects build on previous fish passage investments by the Washington State Department of Transportation, forest land owners, and local governments,” said Tom Jameson, WDFW fish passage manager and chair of the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board. “We’re excited that several projects will focus on watersheds that are particularly good habitat for chinook salmon, which are the main food source for southern resident killer whales (orcas). We appreciate the Legislature’s support so we can continue contributing to salmon and orca recovery.”

A LOW-FLOW FISH BARRIER IN LEWIS COUNTY’S SCAMMON CREEK. (RCO)

Created by the Legislature in 2014, the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board coordinates the removal of fish passage barriers on state, local, tribal, and private land that block salmon and steelhead access to prime spawning and rearing habitat. Funding comes from the sale of state bonds.

“This board represents an incredible partnership that ultimately helps us open entire watersheds where we can make the biggest impact for fish,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grants. “A coordinated approach is key to helping fish reach the ocean, return home to spawn, and get to healthy habitats to feed, grow, and transition from saltwater to freshwater.”

ANOTHER FISH BARRIER IN LEWIS COUNTY THAT WILL BE CORRECTED, OPENING UP HABITAT ON THE MIDDLE FORK NEWAUKUM RIVER. (RCO)

Selected projects went through a technical review committee, which evaluated project proposals based on their coordination with nearby fish passage projects, benefit to salmon and steelhead populations listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act, and cost-effectiveness. The committee also evaluated projects based on the severity of the barrier and its location in the watershed, prioritizing downstream barriers first.

The grant program is administered as a partnership between the board, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. The board is named after Brian Abbott, who was a life-long fisherman, avid salmon recovery leader, and spearheaded creation of the board while serving as executive coordinator of the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office.

WALLA WALLA’S TRI-STATE STEELHEADERS SECURED ONE OF THE LARGEST GRANTS AWARDED, NEARLY $1.7 MILLION TO IMPROVE FISH ACCESS ON MILL CREEK. (RCO)

Other board members include representatives from the Washington Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources, Washington State Association of Counties, Association of Washington Cities, the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office, the Confederated Tribe and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and Council of Regions.

Below is a list of fish passage projects funded in each county. For project details, visit https://rco.wa.gov/documents/press/2019/FBRBGrantsDescriptions2019.pdf.

Asotin County……………………. $445,300
Chelan County…………………… $982,885
Clallam County………………….. $699,859
Clark County……………………… $155,200
Cowlitz County………………… $1,095,293
Grays Harbor County………….. $590,408
Island County…………………….. $544,718
Jefferson County………………… $397,163
King County……………………. $4,053,264
Kitsap County…………………. $2,561,337
Kittitas County…………………. $2,652,910
Lewis County………………….. $1,606,571
Mason County…………………. $1,180,395
Okanogan County……………. $2,265,251
Pierce County……………………… $90,000
Skagit County……………………. $378,500
Snohomish County……………… $653,483
Thurston County……………… $1,700,000
Walla Walla County………….. $1,785,641
Whatcom County……………….. $889,768

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RMEF Awards $310,000 For Washington Elk Projects

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $309,735 in grant funding to benefit elk and elk habitat in Washington.

“Noxious weeds and overly dense forests continue to choke out quality forage for elk and other wildlife. The majority of these 2019 habitat stewardship projects tackle these issues head-on,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “We also designated funding for scientific research to monitor the potential impact habitat modification has on predator-prey interactions.”

SUN BLAZES OVER WASHINGTON ELK COUNTRY. (RMEF)

Seventeen projects positively impact more than 4,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Asotin, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Kittitas, Lewis, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Stevens and Yakima Counties.

Washington is home to more than 15,000 RMEF members and 25 chapters.

“We can’t say enough about our dedicated volunteers,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “They generate revenue by hosting banquets, membership drives and other events that goes back on the ground in Washington and around the country to benefit our conservation mission.”

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 661 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Washington with a combined value of more than $122.6 million. These projects protected or enhanced 479,785 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 125,245 acres.

Below is a listing of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 2019 grants for the state of Washington.

Asotin County

  • Apply noxious weed treatment across 225 acres of public and private land to prevent the spread of rush skeletonweed, whitetop, spotted knapweed, hawkweeds and sulfur cinquefoil. RMEF supported the Asotin County weed control program since 2007.
  • Apply noxious weed treatment across 300 acres of Bureau of Land Management and private lands within the Lower Grande Ronde River drainages. The area provides prime habitat for fish, big game and native wildlife.
  • Apply noxious weed treatment across 500 acres within the Chief Joseph and W. T. Wooten Wildlife Areas where invasive weeds are a significant issue (also benefits Garfield and Columbia Counties).

Cowlitz County

  • Plant a variety of species within patches 3 to 10 acres in size, covering 60 total acres, to diversify elk and other wildlife habitat on the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area.
  • Apply lime and fertilizer followed by planting trees, shrubs and a grass seed mix across 200 acres in the Toutle River Valley, home to the highest winter concentration of elk near Mount Saint Helen’s.
  • Treat noxious weeds across 150 acres within the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (also benefits Skamania County).

Kittitas County

  • Restore 732 acres within the 2018 Milepost 22 Wildfire burn zone that charred the L. T. Murray Wildlife Area, home to year-round winter habitat for elk and other wildlife. Crews will use both an aerial and ground-based approach to treat a potential noxious weed outbreak.

Lewis County

  • Provide funding for research on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to monitor how and where elk seek and find forage in areas where timber production takes place. Results will inform managers of the potential role for variable density thinning in providing elk foraging habitat on the west slope of the Washington Cascades.

Okanogan County

  • Provide funding for the Mid Valley Archers Memorial Day Shoot, a family-friendly event focused on providing instruction and fun for archers of all ages.
  • Provide funding for the annual Bonaparte Lake Kid’s Fishing Day (also benefits Ferry County).

Pend Oreille County

  • Thin seedlings and small pole-sized trees from 33 acres of dense conifer stands in the Indian Creek watershed on the Colville National Forest. The area is winter and year-long range for the Selkirk elk herd.

Skamania County

  • Treat 1,215 acres of meadows and adjacent roads/right-of-ways on the south end of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. These meadows provide vital forage for the Mount St. Helens elk herd.
  • Transform six acres of mid-successional forest within the Upper Lewis River watershed into a grassy meadow to provide forage for big game species.

Stevens County

  • Provide funding for scientific research to conduct vegetation surveys across elk habitat that intersects with wolf range. Scientists will pair that information with elk movement and survivorship data to determine how human modifications of the landscape influence elk (also benefits Pend Oreille County).

Yakima County

  • Thin 426 acres on the Oak Creek Wildlife Area to promote high quality habitat for elk and other wildlife.
  • Restore native grasses and forbs to an estimated 350 acres on the Wenas Wildlife Area that was affected by the 2018 Buffalo Wildfire. Crews will apply noxious weed treatment followed by seeding.
  • Provide funding for the Kamiakin Roving Archers, a youth archery development league participant, to purchase archery supplies for the upcoming season. The program provides shooting instruction and training on archery equipment with an emphasis on safety and responsibility.

Crews Rescue Blacktail Doe, Elk Calf From Cowlitz County Holes

What are the odds?

Not just one but two big game critters were fished out of separate holes in the ground in Cowlitz County this month.

A hunter, his son and nearby landowner are being credited with helping save an elk calf that fell into a sinkhole, while hatchery crews that heard something odd found a momma blacktail in an old unused valve box.

The incidents occurred not far from each other, the latter at a facility on the Kalama River and the former on state land to the south above Woodland.

“It’s so unusual,” says Tammy Conklin, a WDFW conflict specialist.

She says that the hunter and his son were out on Nov. 8 during the Westside modern firearms elk hunt when the man decided to check on a sinkhole he’d found the year before.

WDFW IMAGES SHOW THE ELK CALF IN THE HOLE RIGHT AFTER IT WAS DARTED WITH AN IMMOBILIZATION DRUG AND CONFLICT SPECIALIST TODD JACOBSON PREPARING IT TO BE HOISTED OUT. (WDFW)

When they looked into the 10-foot-deep hole, a dirty-faced calf looked up at them.

Conklin and fellow specialist Todd Jacobson responded to the scene with “a very long ladder,” and meanwhile the hunter knew an adjacent landowner with a tractor.

With a crew and equipment assembled, the calf was darted in the rump and Jacobson climbed down into the hole to roll it onto a tarp, loop tow straps around it and then connect those to a chain and a cable off a winch on the tractor.

The animal was then hoisted up.

It wasn’t clear how long the calf was down there, but Conklin said that after it recovered from being immobilized it looked OK and she wonders, but doesn’t know, if it’s mother was somewhere nearby.

“It was pretty incredible,” she says, praising the hunter and landowner. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”

As for the deer, two weekends ago workers at the Kalama Falls Hatchery heard a noise, went to investigate and found a doe had apparently somehow flipped a leaf-covered piece of plywood and fallen into a 6- to 7-foot-deep valve box.

NOT VERY FAR AWAY FROM WHERE THE ELK FELL IN A HOLE, A DOE FOUND ITSELF IN A CISTERN AT WDFW’S KALAMA FALLS HATCHERY, NEEDING RESCUE AS WELL. (WDFW)

As they were busy spawning fall Chinook, they dropped some grass into the hole and phoned the situation in to the regional WDFW office, and the next day wildlife biologists Eric Holman, Nicholle Stephens and another came out.

Once the doe was darted, a tow strap was used to lift her up, and soon she was back on her feet, taking some very hungry bites.

“Hatchery staff members reported that they had been seeing the deer onsite regularly with two fawns and had been seeing the fawns alone for the past several days,” WDFW reported. “It is unknown how long the doe was in the hole, but she appeared to be in good condition with no injuries.”

Kudos the whole way ’round!

‘They Just Want To See Stuff Die’: 10 In SW WA Under Suspicion Of Widespread Poaching

Fury.

That’s all I’m feeling now.

Overnight, news broke that 10 Southwest Washington residents are being investigated for illegally killing a repulsive number of deer, elk, bears and other wildlife over the last 20 months.

“The death toll continues to increase,” says WDFW Deputy Chief Mike Cenci this morning. “We figure around 100 animals taken during closed season, in excess of limits or without proper tags, but the vast majority are closed season.”

TV news coverage shows head upon head upon head of bucks — 26 found during search warrants served by one-third of Washington’s fish and wildlife officers in March, according to Portland station KPTV.

BUCK HEADS AND A RIFLE SEIZED DURING SEARCH WARRANTS SERVED IN COWLITZ COUNTY IN MARCH. (WDFW VIA KPTV)

Also unearthed, multiple videos of hounds baying bears, a style of hunting that was outlawed 20 years ago. The individuals are believed to have killed close to 50 bruins; in one video, a man can be heard to say that a particular flat had yielded four.

 

(WDFW)

(WDFW)

(WDFW)

Another image shows a bobcat that appears to have been chewed up by dogs.

(WDFW)

The animals are believed to have been killed in both Washington and Oregon going back to at least August 2015.

“If not for the efforts of Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division troopers, who knows how long they’d have continued taking deer,” credits Cenci.

During this past winter’s harsh conditions, OSP wildlife officers set up trail cams to catch those responsible for leaving a trail of headless deer in a prime mule deer controlled tag unit, stealing bucks from legitimate hunters.

(WDFW)

It is unclear if the two men OSP asked for help identifying in mid-April about White River Wildlife Area wildlife violations in early February were tied to the case or not.

“It just kept growing,” OSP Lieutenant Ryan Howell told KPTV about the case. “The offenses, not only did they occur in The Dalles, they were all over the state of Oregon and Washington. This was something that was going on a long time, and something that would continue if we didn’t loop in Washington.”

(WDFW)

It left game wardens seething.

“These individuals involved with this case are what I would term the worst of the worst,” WDFW Region 5 Capt. Jeff Wickersham told KPTV. He said they suspects were “going out there and killing to kill.”

Similarly Cenci, who called the suspects “wholesale natural resource murderers” on camera, can’t answer the question why someone would do this.

“Because they’re just killers. They just want to see stuff die. It’s a sick and twisted mentality; you and I will not get it,” he told Northwest Sportsman. “It’s so shocking. Most human beings wouldn’t do this.”

At first glance, the alleged crimes would appear to qualify as spree killing of wildlife, which allows for straight-away first-degree poaching charges to be filed, although some of the suspects may also be repeat offenders and be subject to that anyway.

The case comes as Washington lawmakers considers WDFW’s budget for the next two years.

“We’re really short on staff,” Cenci says. “Our officers are completely frustrated — they were patrolling areas these guys were wholesale poaching. We need to do more to put more officers in the field.”

While the Eyes in the Woods program is successful and hunters and citizens can be rewarded for turning in poaching tips, more needs to be done to combat despicable acts like this.

“As the Legislature considers our budget, I have to hope they’re aware of our relevance to the quality of life in Washington state,” says Cenci.

Upon learning of the case this morning, a friend of mine was mulling an aspect of sharia law, cutting off the hands of the offenders.

We don’t do that in the United States, but so help me, this is so egregious that I hope when county prosecutors on both sides of the Columbia get these charges, they act on them, cut no deals — zero, none, prosecution to the fullest extent of the law — and absolutely nail the perpetrators for these heinous actions.

Killing for the sake of killing cannot be tolerated.