Tag Archives: fish and wildlife commission

ODFW Commission OKs Blacktail Spike Harvest Starting In 2020

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

The Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted 2020 Big Game Regulations at its meeting in Gold Beach.

Next year, the Western Oregon deer bag limit will allow for spike harvest with the new bag limit of “one buck with a visible antler.” A new General Season Antlerless Elk Damage Tag in areas of the state with high elk damage will replace 19 controlled hunts and the need to provide damage tags to landowners. Hunters taking advantage of this new opportunity would still need permission to hunt on private land to use the tag and it would be their only elk hunting opportunity.

OREGON BLACKTAIL HUNTERS WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE SPIKE BLACKTAILS STARTING WITH THE 2020 GENERAL FALL DEER HUNTING SEASON. ODFW CALLED THE CURRENT RULE RESTRICTING THE BAG TO FORKED-HORN BUCKS A “RELIC” FROM AN ERA OF HIGH ANTLERLESS PERMITS AND EXPECTS THE CHANGE NEXT YEAR WILL INCREASE HARVEST.  ALLISON GRINDLEY TOOK THIS WASHINGTON SPIKE SEVERAL SEASONS AGO. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

The Commission also directed staff to form a workgroup to continue the big game hunting season and regulations review.

The Commission approved funding for one Access and Habitat project, which provides hunting access on private land.

Changes to fixed gear fisheries regulations, including those for both commercial and recreational crabbing, were adopted to address challenges presented by changing ocean conditions including increased incidence of whale entanglements. Gear marking of surface buoys will be required of all fisheries that do not already do so beginning Jan. 1, 2020, including recreational crabbers and commercial fixed gear fisheries such as commercial bay crab. New buoy color registration requirements for the commercial ocean crab fishery will also be required.

To prepare for future phases of rule-making to reduce the risk of whale entanglements, the Commission set Aug. 14, 2018 as the control date for potential development of future limitation on participation in commercial crabbing during months when whales are most abundant.

The Commission also adopted regulations related to Harmful Algal Bloom biotoxin management (particularly domoic acid) in the commercial crab fishery and the commercial ocean Dungeness crab fishery season opening process.

ODFW will host a series of public meetings for the commercial ocean Dungeness crab fishery on possible future regulatory measures to reduce whale entanglements this October. Meetings will be held in Coos Bay (Oct. 17), Brookings (Oct. 18), Astoria (Oct. 22) and Newport (Oct. 23). More details about the meetings including locations will be available later in September.

Finally, the Commission voted 4-3 to change rules related to the hunting and trapping of Coastal marten. The new rules prohibit any marten harvest west of I-5 and also ban all trapping in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area as well as suspending traps or snares in trees in the Siskiyou and Siuslaw National Forests. The rules are in response to a petition for rulemaking from several environmental groups last year. Coastal martens are a subspecies of Pacific marten with a historical range located west of I-5 and more specifically from Lincoln and Benton counties south to Curry County.

The Commission is the rule-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon. Its next meeting is Oct. 10-11 in Ontario

New ‘Get Outdoors’ Fish-Hunt License, Corn Ponds, Salmon Hatcheries On WA Commission Agenda

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

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to take action on a new combination fishing and hunting license at its September meeting.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will meet Sept. 13-14 in Room Pasayten B at Sun Mountain Lodge, 604 Patterson Lake Road, Winthrop. The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. both days.

A full agenda is available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings. The Sept. 13 meeting will be livestreamed on WDFW’s website at https://player.invintus.com/?clientID=2836755451&eventID=2019091003 and the Sept. 14 meeting will be available at https://player.invintus.com/?clientID=2836755451&eventID=2019091004.

Using statutory authority to create license packages, WDFW is proposing to create a new Get Outdoors license for state residents. The license would include:

  • An annual combination recreational freshwater, saltwater, and shellfish license;
  • Two-pole endorsement (allowing anglers to fish with two poles in allowed areas);
  • Puget Sound crab endorsement;
  • Annual combination hunting license for deer, elk, bear, and cougar;
  • Bear and cougar transport tags;
  • Small game license;
  • Migratory bird permit and migratory bird authorization; and
  • Two turkey tags.

If approved, the new license would cost $235.18 including fees, and would be available for purchase beginning Dec. 1 for the 2020 license year, which runs April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021.

Department staff will also brief the commission on proposed regulations for aquatic invasive species. One proposal would reclassify northern pike – a highly invasive predator found in the Box Canyon Reservoir on the Pend Oreille River and Lake Roosevelt in northeastern Washington – as a Level 1 invasive species. The new classification will facilitate rapid response and emergency action by WDFW and partners if the species spreads downstream into the Columbia River.

The commission will also hear a briefing on the state’s policy on hunting for ducks on “corn ponds” or flooding standing crops and will receive an update on the department’s timeline for evaluating the state’s hatchery and fishery reform policy. The policy is intended to improve hatchery effectiveness, ensure compatibility between hatchery production and salmon recovery plans, and support sustainable fisheries.

WDFW Mulling Cougar Hunting Changes Ahead Of 2020 Season

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

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has assembled an internal working group of department biologists and enforcement officers to develop recommended changes to the cougar hunting seasons.

WASHINGTON HUNTING MANAGERS ARE DEVELOPING POTENTIAL CHANGES TO COUGAR SEASONS. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

After hearing from concerned constituents at the March 2019 commission meeting, the department began reviewing its current cougar hunting rules in order to bring the commission potential amendments for their consideration.

“Our group has met five times over the last six months to discuss changes to the hunt structure,” said Anis Aoude, WDFW game division manager. “After completing our internal process, we will begin a public engagement process to receive feedback from our stakeholders.”

In the coming months, WDFW will discuss progress with the Fish and Wildlife Commission at their Wildlife Committee meetings, seek input from key external stakeholders, open a public comment period, host a digital open house with a question and answer session, and provide information through social media.

In addition, the commission will seek public comment as they consider changes during a public hearing on proposed rules in March prior to making a decision in April 2020.

“Public safety remains one of our highest concerns,” said Aoude. “This internal cougar working group continues to work at finding the balance between maintaining sustainable cougar populations while also addressing public safety.”

On March 5, the department filed a CR-101 that advertises the intent of possible rule making. The CR-101, and any future filings related to this process, can be found at wdfw.wa.gov/about/regulations.

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Deschutes Mouth Plume In Columbia Again Closed To All Fishing

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

Per direction from the Fish and Wildlife Commission at their Aug. 2 meeting, ODFW is closing all fishing (including catch-and-release) in the Columbia River around the mouth of the Deschutes River and in the lower Deschutes River from the mouth upstream to markers placed on the downstream end of Moody Rapids, from Monday, Aug. 12 through Sept. 15.

The closure is to protect wild summer steelhead and follows several other regulatory steps ODFW and WDFW have taken to protect wild steelhead this year. Returns of ESA-listed wild Snake River steelhead this year are forecasted to be similar to the extremely poor return of 2017, and there are ongoing concerns about the potential effects of angling on wild steelhead that may gather in cooler water near tributary mouths like the Deschutes.

The boundary of the angling closure is defined by a line projecting from the South Channel Range “B” marker located approximately 3/4-mile upstream of the mouth of the Deschutes, downstream through Red Buoy Marker “4”, and terminating at the flashing red USCG light #2 on the Oregon shore downstream of the mouth. (See map on Columbia River Zone fishing regulations page.)

The Commission directed ODFW to take similar steps to close the mouth of the Deschutes last year. Based on additional discussions with the public and regional biologists, the boundary of this year’s closure has been refined to reduce the impact on Chinook fishing opportunities.

This action follows a number of regulatory steps ODFW and WDFW have taken to protect wild steelhead during Columbia River summer and fall fisheries this year. Bag limits in the Columbia River were reduced to one hatchery steelhead per day for the month of July. For fall fisheries, all steelhead (hatchery and wild) must be released during the following periods:

  • Aug. 1-31 from Buoy 10 upstream to The Dalles Dam,
  • Aug. 1 – Sept. 30 from The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam,
  • Sept. 1 – Oct. 31 from John Day to McNary Dam, and
  • Oct. 1 – Nov. 30 from McNary Dam upstream to the OR/WA state line.

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Washington Fishing Guides Will Need To Report Catches Starting In 2020

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

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission took action to require monthly fishing guide logbook reporting, and approved moving forward on a request to the State Legislature to increase Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) funding.

GUIDES WILL NEED TO REPORT THEIR COMMERCIAL TRIPS MONTHLY STARTING IN JANUARY 2020 UNDER A RULE PASSED BY THE FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION LAST WEEK. (BOB TOMAN VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

It was the first meeting for two new members, Molly Linville and James R. Anderson, who joined five other commission members to approve the department’s request to seek $24.5 million in increased operating funds, plus $26 million in capital funds, during the 2020 state legislative supplemental session.

The bulk of the funding request, $11.4 million, would help the agency to address an ongoing structural deficit driven by legislated and unavoidable cost increases, such as the rising costs of wages and centralized state services.

The department will also seek $6.6 million to continue serving the public at current levels. Department services at risk in 2020 without ongoing, additional funding include:

1.    Cuts to the staff who provide community and private landowner habitat conservation expertise;

2.    Cuts in fish production at eight salmon and trout hatcheries;

3.    Cuts to hunting opportunities;

4.    Cuts to staff able to provide non-lethal response when people and wildlife are in conflict;

5.    Cuts to shellfish inspections for the benefit of public safety;

6.    Cuts in access to salmon and steelhead fishing on portions of the Columbia River and its tributaries;

7.    Cuts to maintenance and forest health treatments across the million acres of land managed by the department; and

8.    Cuts to customer service.

These public services were also at risk in the last budget cycle, when state legislators provided enough funding for the department to carry the services forward for one year. Now, the department is seeking ongoing funds to continue providing these services. 

“People really value how this work improves their lives – we know that.  We had widespread stakeholder support last year, and we believe we will again this year,” shared Commission Chair Larry Carpenter. “We want to see all of these items funded not just for another year, but on an ongoing basis. Though, ultimately, it’s about more than just these services that are at risk – it’s really about having a functional department that’s able to deliver results whether you enjoy fishing and hunting, or just knowing that our state’s wildlife is thriving and conserved for the future.”

The commission also approved a request of $6.5 million in new, ongoing funding to address emergent needs:

1.    Better monitoring of salmon in Puget Sound, the Nisqually River, and Skagit River to provide fishing opportunities;

2.    Removing sea lions feeding on Columbia River salmon;

3.    Meeting existing Columbia River commitments for commercial fishing and salmon recovery objectives;

4.    Continuation of the Fish Washington mobile app, which helps anglers to comply with necessary rules;

5.    Salmon habitat regulatory protections; and

6.    Minimizing humpback whale entanglement with commercial crab pots. 

Regarding legislative proposals, the commission gave their approval to advance an administrative item that would segregate the State Wildlife Account into two accounts, one that is more flexible in nature and another that is comprised of dedicated accounts with funding that con be spent only on specific items. The shift comes from a third-party recommendation to increase transparency with the department’s funding challenges.

The commission will consider a second legislative proposal, to modify the department’s enforcement civil authority, during its Aug. 23, 2019 meeting.

The commission also adopted rules that will require fishing guides to report their fishing activities on a monthly basis beginning Jan. 1, 2020. Fishing guides will provide WDFW with information such as the date and location of each guided fishing trip, the number of anglers onboard, and the number and type of fish species caught per trip. This information will help WDFW understand the role the guide industry plays not only in terms of helping recreational anglers to access fisheries, but also in providing economic benefits to local and state economies.

Additionally, the commission directed the department to refine its state hatchery and fishery reform policy process timeline. The policy was originally adopted by the commission in 2009. Last year, commissioners called for a scientific review of the policy, which is intended to improve hatchery effectiveness, ensure compatibility between hatchery production and salmon recovery plans, and support sustainable fisheries. The commission directed WDFW staff to come back to their September meeting with a revised schedule that would better accommodate tribal co-manager engagement and public review.

The commission also heard updates on the department’s work to enhance access to hunting and fishing for those with disabilities, and a national and state study to assess people’s values pertaining to wildlife. In addition, several members of the public took time to speak to the commission during open comment about challenges in wolf management.  

A full broadcast of the meeting is available to the public at www.tvw.org.

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WDFW Commission OKs Asking Lawmakers For $24.5 Million From General Fund

Updated 8:45 a.m., Aug. 5, 2019 near bottom with quote from Nate Pamplin on money that would go towards WDFW wolf work.

WDFW will forgo another attempt at passing a hunting and fishing license increase next year and instead ask state lawmakers for $24.5 million from the General Fund to fill gaping holes in the agency’s budget.

WASHINGTON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSIONERS DURING TODAY’S VOTE ON THE 2020 SUPPLEMENTAL WDFW BUDGET PROPOSAL. (TVW)

Fee hike asks haven’t worked well for the agency this decade and with spending proposals due soon for Washington’s short 2020 legislative session, Fish and Wildlife Commissioners unanimously approved the strategy to use sales tax dollars to help maintain fisheries and hunts, as well as hatchery production, fund a mix of emerging needs, and cover a large cost of living increase.

“It’s a pretty large request for a supplementary budget,” Morgan Stinson, WDFW’s budget guru, acknowledged to the citizen panel this afternoon at its meeting in the state capital.

But it’s also a pretty big hole the agency is trying to dig out of.

This past spring, lawmakers didn’t pass WDFW’s 15 percent fishing and hunting hike or extend the Columbia Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement, which were both part of an overall $67 million request that included a $31 million enhancement package, fallout from a March commission decision on fishery management on the big river.

While the House, Senate and Governor did provide $24 million in General Fund dollars, what initially was a $7 million shortfall grew to $20 million as they heaped more on WDFW’s to-do list, including an unfunded cost of living increase for state employees.

That’s led staffers to scramble to figure out how to balance the agency’s budget.

Columbia River fisheries were reduced during a period of lower returns, an after-hours customer service call center contract was eliminated and 4 percent of open biologist and other agency jobs are going unfilled for the time being.

Technically, this year’s fee bill is still alive in the legislature next year, and while there is still some interest among members, there’s been little appetite among commissioners to try it again after the failure of it and one a couple years ago.

The General Fund money that WDFW did receive was front-loaded into year one of the two-year budget biennium with the expectation that the issue would be revisited next year in the state capital, but the strategy of hoping lawmakers go for this new sales tax request does entail some risk.

“We’re putting a lot on the line in year two,” Nate Pamplin, WDFW’s policy director, told commissioners.

That’s because some of the items such as the Skagit-Sauk catch-and-release and some Puget Sound fisheries need to be monitored while the 2020 legislature is in session and the funding hasn’t yet been approved.

If it doesn’t come through in the end, that money will have to come from somewhere else in the agency’s piggy bank.

But outgoing legislative liaison Raquel Crosier did tell commissioners that lawmakers see WDFW’s budget “as a priority,” that revenues to state coffers look good, and it’s not an election year, all raising the odds.

“It’s a lot but we’re optimistic how we’ve constructed it,” added Stinson.

If approved, WDFW documents show the requested $24.5 million would go into three categories.

The first includes $11.4 million to cover increased costs, four-fifths of which was passed on by the legislature.

Another big jag would go towards maintaining/preventing loss of services:

* Conservation, $742K
* Fishing and Hatchery Production, $2,058K
* Hunting, $672K
* Wildlife Conflict Response, $956K
* Shellfish and Public Health, $553K
* Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead activities, $659K
* Land Management, $578K
* Customer Service, $410K

And lastly are recently emerged needs, either as fallout from the fee failure or popping up on their own:

* Humpback whales/Crab fishing incidental take permit: $172K
• Fund the Department’s work to reduce whale entanglement in industrial crab pots

* Puget Sound salmon fisheries monitoring: $2.4M (includes North of Falcon commitments, and Skagit Catch and Release fishery)
• Ensures state meets monitoring requirements in order to open fishing in areas where stocks are healthy
• New and existing needs in Puget Sound, the Nisqually River, and the Skagit River

* Fish Washington mobile app: $311K
• Maintain and improve the app
• Utilized by 100,000 Washington residents to learn Washington fishing rules

* Assisting property owners in protecting fish (HPA capacity): $1.7M
• Meeting legislated requirements for HPAs around civil compliance

* Columbia River sea lion management: $830K
• Reduction in the number of sea lions preying on Columbia River salmon
• Funding a second year of work to implement the Governor’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force recommendations

* Columbia River salmon policy commitments: $1.0M
• Funding for alternative gear pilot projects and commercial buyback analysis
• Improves fishing opportunities, while meeting salmon recovery objectives

Following a question posted Friday evening in the Facebook link to this story, Pamplin confirmed that some of the request is wolf-related.

“That request is to sustain current level of wildlife conflict work, and is tied to the fixing our structural deficit. We are asking to have that component made whole in the second fiscal year of the biennium, as well as have it be appropriated as on-going so that we are not submitting a perennial request to maintain current services,” he said via email.

Commissioner Don McIsaac of Hockinson made the motion to proceed with the General Fund-based supplemental budget request and it was seconded by new Commissioner Jim Anderson of Buckley.

The next step is now for WDFW to submit it to the state Office of Financial Management.

It would then need to be part of the governor’s or legislators’ proposed budget(s) and be approved by lawmakers and then signed into law.

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WDFW Releases More Details On New Commissioners; Holzmiller Thanked

THE FOLLOWING ARE A PRESS RELEASE AND A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Editor’s note: For our story last Sunday breaking this news, go here.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday appointed two new members to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission: Jim Anderson, and Molly Linville.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission is a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Both new members began their appointments on July 24, 2019, with terms ending December 31, 2024.

James R. Anderson is an active sportsman residing in Pierce County, who has fished and hunted across most of Washington. Anderson brings habitat restoration and extensive policy experience to the table, having spent more than 20 years in the executive management, fisheries and natural resource fields.

JIM ANDERSON. (WDFW)

“Jim brings with him knowledge around salmon and Washington’s fishery management complexities. These topics are some of the commission’s highest priorities and his expertise will be a welcome addition as we consider some near- and long-term challenges,” said Commission Chair Larry Carpenter.

Molly Linville is a cattle rancher out of Douglas County, a member of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, and grew up hunting and fishing in Washington. For four years, Linville has been active on the WDFW Wolf Advisory Group, where a diverse array of stakeholders advise the agency on wolf management implementation. Linville is also a former wildlife biologist with experience working on federally threatened and endangered wildlife species issues.

MOLLY LINVILLE. (WDFW)

“We have valued Molly’s service to our Department for her measured, rational voice,” Carpenter said. “She’s engaged and works to connect with citizens and her communities. These are all characteristics that will be assets in her role as a Commissioner and I work forward to working with her.”

Anderson graduated from Washington State University with master’s degrees in environmental science. Linville graduated from the University of Montana with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology.

Outgoing commission member, Jay Holzmiller, of Asotin County, has served as a valued and engaged member of the commission since June of 2013.

“I want to thank Jay for his service. The days are long, the pay is essentially nil, and the issues are challenging,” said Carpenter. “When you dedicate yourself to this role it’s done out of a deep and abiding commitment to public service. Jay brought that plus a lot more to the table throughout the full course of his term.”

FORMER WDFW FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSIONER JAY HOLZMILLER (SEATED AT RIGHT) SPEAKS ON WOLVES, COUGARS AND NORTHEAST WASHINGTON UNGULATES DURING THE MARCH 1-2 MEETING IN SPOKANE. “PREDATOR MANAGEMENT ISN’T SEEING HOW MANY DAMN PREDATORS WE CAN RAISE, AND THAT’S WHAT WE’VE BEEN IN THAT MODE,” HE SAID DURING PUBLIC COMMENT DOMINATED BY LOCAL RESIDENTS’ CONCERNS. (WDFW)

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is comprised of nine citizen members, each appointed by the governor. The second appointment fills a previously vacant position.

Commission appointees are subject to confirmation by the state Senate, which will reconvene in January 2020. However, members are official upon appointment and serve as voting members while awaiting Senate confirmation.

Commission members

James R Anderson

(At-large position, Pierce County)
Occupation: Retired Administrator
Current Term: 07/24/2019 – 12/31/2024

Jim Anderson is a life-long resident of the state, and lives near Buckley in rural Pierce County, very close to land his grandparents bought in 1912 and that is still in the family today.  He graduated from Washington State University in 1974 with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and Masters of Science in Environmental Science (Rural and Regional Planning option) in 1978.  He worked 35 years in professional natural resource management.  He was the Executive Director of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission from 1985 to 2005, before retiring in 2010.

Commissioner Anderson has been and continues to be an active fisher, hunter and outdoor recreationalist.  He started fishing when he was 4, and hunted since he was 10, and has had fishing and hunting licenses every year since. He is an avid backpacker, having hiked all of the 508 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington.  A former mountaineer, he has climbed all the major volcanoes in the state numerous times, as well as many other mountains.

He has served on numerous boards and committees at local, state and federal levels.  He has been Secretary of the Board of the Puget Sound Restoration Fund and the Washington Water Trust for many years.  He was a member of the US Fish and Wildlife Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council.  He served for over two decades on the Enumclaw Regional /St Elizabeth Hospital Board.  He has worked with many federal, state and local agencies and understands our governing laws, including treaty rights.  He is well connected to tribal communities and values the work they do and the roles they have played in our state.  He was a key participant and leader at the Timber-Fish-Wildlife Process, the Chelan Water Agreement, Shared Salmon Strategy, Hatchery Reform Coordinating Committee, and many other efforts.

He and his wife, Dianne Meserve have two children, Katie and Erik.

(The following are excerpts from Molly Linville’s application packet to join the commission)

“I am the fifth generation raised on my family’s wheat and barley farm near Reardan, Washington in Lincoln County. I graduated with 34 other students, most of whom were also farm kids and attended Kindergarten through 12th grade together.

“I attended the University of Montana where I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology. My mom jokes around that I’ve been a wildlife biologist since I was two when I was catching salamanders in the creek that ran through our farm.

“In 2000, I began working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a wildlife biologist and a wildlife refuge manager … I had completed all my (masters degree) course work at WSU and was beginning my thesis when my father-in-law unexpectedly passed away and left us [she and husband David] his 100 year-old, 6,000-acre cattle ranch, near Wenatchee, WA. I literally had to quit school and we both had to quit our jobs overnight to take care of the ranch. However, I immediately caught the ranching bug and have been running the cow/calf and haying operation since 2011. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else, it’s like running my own personal wildlife refuge.

“I am active in my community and care deeply about issues that negatively impact rural/agricultural communities. Some of the topics I’ve been working with state legislators on are: fire suppression in communities not served by a fire district, fire impacts on rangeland, environmental laws that have become too cumbersome for small fmaily farms, the mental health crisis in farming communities and predator/livestock conflicts.

“I am a member of the State’s Wolf Advisory Group (WAG), which I find both challenging and rewarding. I serve as a Planning Commissioner for Douglas County and I’m on the school board for our nearby two room school that serves 25 students in Palisades. I enjoy visiting rural high schools as a guest lecturer and often give presentations on the return of wolves to Washington. I was awarded the 2018 Redd Fund Award from the Society of Range Management for excellence in range management for my work in creating on creating a curriculum on the importance of range land that is taught at fire refreshers across the State of Washington and parts of Oregon.

“My roots run deep in the State and I’ve spent a career serving the beautiful landscapes and wildlife populations found here. I would be proud to continue working towards conserving fish and wildlife populations for future generations by serving on the Fish and Wildlife Commission.”

Washington Fall Bear Hunt Will Now Start Aug. 1 Statewide; 2 Bruins Can Be Taken On Eastside

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

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved changes to the fall bear-hunting rules during their conference call on June 28.

WASHINGTON BLACK BEAR HUNTERS LIKE ANDY BYRD WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE TWO BRUINS STATEWIDE IN A HUNT THAT WILL NOW BEGIN AUG. 1, THANKS TO RECENT RULE CHANGES FROM THE FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION. BYRD BAGGED THIS ONE IN CHELAN COUNTY DURING A SEPTEMBER BUCK HUNT SEVERAL SEASONS AGO. (JASON BROOKS)

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), asked department staff to review and provide a recommendation for black bear season rule changes at a meeting earlier this year.

At the June meeting in Port Angeles, department staff presented two recommendations to simplify bear regulations and make them consistent statewide.

The first recommended change standardized the statewide season start date to Aug. 1. The new season start date provides more hunting days in six of the 11 hunting areas. The second change standardized a two-bear bag limit statewide. The previous rule allowed for harvest of two bears during the season, but only one could be from the east side of the state.

“Our field biologists are currently conducting new hair snare monitoring in two districts to learn more about our current black bear populations,” said Eric Gardner, WDFW wildlife program director. “We chose to bring these two changes forward because they will simplify the regulations and have little impact on our goal of maintaining sustainable black bear populations in Washington.”

The commission approved the rule changes with a 6-1 vote. The changes will take effect Aug. 1, 2019.

WDFW staff will continue hair snare monitoring for several years. This monitoring will inform WDFW’s black bear management and provide better information to assess Washington’s black bear populations.

“We’d like to remind hunters that they are required to report on their black bear season through the WILD System by Jan. 31, 2020,” said Gardner. “Also, we’d like to remind hunters to submit the bear tooth samples on or before the January date as well. Submitting these reports and samples improves our harvest data quality, which informs our black bear management decisions.”

WDFW will seek additional public comment when they consider changes to all hunting related rules during the three-year season setting process in summer 2020.

Editor’s note: According to the office of the Fish and Wildlife Commission, voting in favor of the two changes to the bear hunting rules were Chair Larry Carpenter and members Dave Graybill, Bob Kehoe, Don McIsaac, Brad Smith and Kim Thorburn, with Vice Chair Barbara Baker voting no, and Commissioner Jay Holzmiller not on the conference call.

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ODFW’s Commission Adopts Updated Wolf Management Plan

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

The Commission adopted a Wolf Plan at its meeting in Salem in a 6-1 vote after hearing from 44 people who came to testify and reviewing thousands of public comments.

OREGON WOLF TRACKS IN MUD. (ODFW)

Allowing controlled take (limited regulated hunting and trapping of wolves) was one of the most controversial topics in the new Wolf Plan. The original Plan adopted in 2005 allowed for controlled take only in Phase 3 (currently eastern Oregon), in instances of recurring depredations or when wolves are a major cause of ungulate populations not meeting established management objectives or herd management goals. While ODFW believed it needed to remain a tool available for wolf management, the department has not proposed any controlled take of wolves and has no plans to at this time.

Commissioners made some changes related to “controlled take” from the proposed Plan.  An addendum was added clearly stating that “Use of controlled take as a management tool requires Commission approval through a separate public rulemaking process” and the definition of controlled take was modified.

Additional minor changes were made to emphasize the importance of non-lethal tools to address wolf-livestock conflict and easy access to this information. Non-lethal measures to prevent wolf-livestock conflict continue to be emphasized in all phases of the Plan, and required before any lethal control is considered.

After some discussion, Commissioners revised the definition of chronic depredation (which can lead to lethal control of wolves if non-lethals are in use and not working) in Phase 2 and 3 from two confirmed depredations with no specific time frame to two confirmed depredations in nine months.

The Wolf Plan will be filed with the Secretary of State and posted on the ODFW Wolves webpage (www.odfw.com/wolves) within the next few business days.

In other business over the two-day meeting June 6-7, the Commission also:

  • Allocated big game auction and raffle tags for 2020.
  • Heard a briefing on the crab fishery and reducing the risk of whale entanglements.
  • Adopted harvest limits for Pacific sardine in state waters for July 2019-June 2020 based on federal regulations.
  • Approved funding for Access and Habitat projects that provide hunting access or improve wildlife habitat on private land.
  • Heard a briefing on proposed changes to 2020 big game hunting regulations as part of efforts to improve and simplify the Big Game Hunting Regulations

The Fish and Wildlife Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon. Its next meeting is Aug. 2 in Salem.

Central Washington Pronghorn Meetings Tonight, Tuesday Evening

Tonight and tomorrow evening state wildlife managers will host a pair of listening sessions in North- and South-central Washington to hear from residents about how to manage building pronghorn herds in the two regions.

PRONGHORN RACE ACROSS A GRASSY FLAT IN THIS WDFW AERIAL IMAGE TAKEN BY BIOLOGIST MARK VEKASY. (MARK VEKASY, WDFW)

The first is Monday’s at Pioneer Hall in the tiny Douglas County town of Mansfield from 7 to 9 p.m., and Tuesday’s is at the offices of the Benton Rural Electric Association (402 7th St.) in Prosser, in the lower Yakima Valley, during the same hours.

WDFW is looking for feedback as it begins to develop a management plan for the native species being brought back to Washington by the Yakama Nation and Colville Confederated Tribes.

Transplanted to their sprawling reservations since 2011 and 2016 respectively, dozens have wandered off onto public and private lands in surrounding counties.

A February aerial count found a minimum of 248 in Benton, Klickitat and Yakima Counties, while a survey in the northern Columbia Basin early last summer turned up at least 118.

“I think they’re great to have on the landscape, and we’re working with local communities to produce an effective plan to manage them,” said WDFW’s Rich Harris in a press release last month announcing the meetings.

For those unable to make either meeting, his agency has posted a quick online survey with background on past reintroduction efforts, attitudes towards the species and suggested management approaches.

Pronghorn are listed as big game but while they’re not open for hunting, ideally the population builds enough for permits to be available someday.

One problem for pronghorns is that much of their potential range also supports livestock operations, but unlike other open-country species like mule deer, antelope don’t jump very well, meaning they don’t get along well with fences. They also are partial to alfalfa, which could create conflict with hay growers.

But besides longtime strong support from Safari Club International’s Central Washington Chapter, antelope are also receiving attention from Conservation Northwest.

“Recovering pronghorn populations in Washington is important for the landscape, because they increase biodiversity and restore a part of the shrub-steppe ecosystem,” states the Seattle-based organization, which is working to link species and habitat in the state’s core sagelands.