Tag Archives: mountain goats

Olympic-Cascades Mountain Goat Project Wraps Up With 98 Translocated

Nearly 100 mountain goats from the Olympic Mountains are now kicking up their heels across Puget Sound in Washington’s Central and North Cascades after a two-week capture-and-transfer project wrapped up earlier this week.

A TRIO OF MOUNTAIN GOATS CLING TO ROCKS ON THE RIDGE ABOVE THE ROAD TO HURRICANE RIDGE. (OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK)

State and federal wildlife officials plan to come back the next two summers to remove as many billies, nannies and kids from the rugged peaks of the peninsula, where the species was introduced in the 1920s by hunters, as they can to help bolster herds in their native habitat along the spine of the Evergreen State and reduce environmental damage from the species in the Olympics.

By the numbers from a joint Olympic National Park-Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest-WDFW press release, here’s what the first year’s effort looks like:

Olympic Range mountain goat population pre-project: ~725

Original introduction: 12 animals (released 1925 to 1929 near Lake Crescent)

Mountain goats captured: 115

Translocated to Cascades: 98

Nannies translocated: 68

Billies translocated: 30

Nannyless kids transferred to Northwest Trek: 6

Capture mortalities: 6

Euthanized: 3 (“unfit for translocation,” per NPS)

Transport mortalities: 2

People involved: 175 (National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, area tribes, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Leading Edge Aviation, etc.)

Volunteers: 77 (from WDFW)

Length of operation: 14 days

Flyable days: 10* (work ended early on several days, per NPS)

Cascade release sites: 5 (2 near Darrington, 1 north of Rainy and Washington Passes in the North Cascades, 1 northwest of Kachess Lake by Snoqualmie Pass, and 1 in the headwaters of the Cedar River southwest of Snoqualmie Pass)

Estimated results of three-year project: 90 percent removal of population (“The remaining 10 percent would be addressed through ongoing maintenance activities which would involve opportunistic ground- and helicopter-based lethal removal of mountain goats, with a focus on areas near high visitor use and areas where goats are causing resource damage,” says the park service.)

Mountain Goats On The Move: Olympics-to-North Cascades Effort Starts Next Week

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

Starting September 10, a coalition of state and federal agencies, with support from local tribes, will begin translocating mountain goats from Olympic National Park to the northern Cascade Mountains to meet wildlife management goals in both areas.

A TRIO OF MOUNTAIN GOATS CLING TO ROCKS ON THE RIDGE ABOVE THE ROAD TO HURRICANE RIDGE. (OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK)

This effort to translocate mountain goats from the Olympic Peninsula is a partnership between the National Park Service (NPS), the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW), and the USDA Forest Service (USFS) to re-establish and assist in connecting depleted populations of mountain goats in the Washington Cascades.

Area tribes lending support to the translocation plan in the Cascades include the Lummi, Muckleshoot, Sauk-Suiattle, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Swinomish, Tulalip, and Upper Skagit tribes.

In May, the NPS released the final Mountain Goat Management Plan which outlines the effort to remove the estimated 725 mountain goats on the Olympic Peninsula. Both the plan and the associated environmental impact statement were finalized after an extensive public review process which began in 2014.

This month’s two-week effort to move mountain goats to native habitat in the northern Cascades is the first translocation operation since the release of the final Mountain Goat Management Plan. Two additional two-week periods are planned for next year. Mountain goats were introduced to the Olympics in the 1920s.

“Mountain goat relocation will allow these animals to reoccupy historical range areas in the Cascades and increase population viability,” said Jesse Plumage, USFS Wildlife Biologist.

While some mountain goat populations in the north Cascades have recovered since the 1990s, the species is still absent from many areas of its historic range.

Aerial capture operations will be conducted through a contract with a private company that specializes in the capture and transport of wild animals. The helicopter crew will use tranquilizer darts and net guns to capture mountain goats and transport them in specially made slings to the staging area on Hurricane Hill Road beyond the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in Olympic National Park. The staging area will be closed to public access.

The animals will be examined by veterinarians before WDFW wildlife managers transport them overnight to staging areas in the north Cascades for release the following day.

During this first round, WDFW will only translocate goats from the park to non-wilderness release sites in the Cascades. There will be no closures for release operations in the national forests in 2018. To maximize success, goats will be brought directly to alpine habitats that have been selected for appropriate characteristics. To access these areas, goats will be airlifted in their crates by helicopter.

WDFW plans to release the mountain goats at five selected sites in the Cascades this month. Two release areas are near mountain peaks south of the town of Darrington, on the Darrington District of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (MBS). The others are near Mt. Index, on the Skykomish Ranger District of the MBS, Tower Peak in the Methow area of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, and the headwaters of the Cedar River Drainage, which is land owned by Seattle Public Utilities.

“The translocation effort will relieve issues with non-native mountain goats in the Olympics while bolstering depleted herds in the northern Cascades,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “Mountain goats cause significant impacts to the park ecosystem as well as public safety concerns.”

Mountain goats follow and approach hikers because they are attracted to the salt from their sweat, urine, and food. That behavior is less likely in the north Cascades where visitors are more widely distributed than those at Olympic National Park, said Rich Harris, a WDFW wildlife manager who specializes in mountain goats.

“In addition, the north Cascades has an abundance of natural salt licks, while the Olympic Peninsula has virtually none,” Harris said. “Natural salt licks greatly reduce mountain goats’ attraction to people.”

For more information about mountain goats in Washington state, see WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/living/mountain_goats.html.

Along with the staging area closure on Hurricane Hill Road, several trails in Olympic National Park will be closed for visitor and employee safety during helicopter operations. For more information and updates, visit www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/mountain-goat-capture-and-translocation.htm.

Olympic Mountain Goat Removal Approved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Olympic Mountain Goats To Be Moved To North Cascades, Under EIS Out For Final Review

Mountain goats are meant for the mountains, just not the Olympics, where the nonnative species will likely soon begin to be captured and relocated to the North Cascades, or shot on sight.

A TRIO OF MOUNTAIN GOATS CLING TO ROCKS ON THE RIDGE ABOVE THE ROAD TO HURRICANE RIDGE. (OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK)

Federal and state wildlife managers today announced that they want to remove billies, nannies and kids to reduce damage in the heights of the peninsula’s Olympic National Park.

A final environmental impact statement released this week will undergo a final 30-day comment period before the decision is final.

If no last objections are raised, efforts will begin this summer to move as many of the Olympics’ 725 goats as possible to the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests, supplementing scattered herds there.

A LARGE HERD OF MOUNTAIN GOATS GATHERED ON THE FLANKS OF MT. BAKER, IN WASHINGTON’S NORTH CASCADES, IN 2016. (FENNER YARBOROUGH, WDFW)

Special permit hunting opportunities in the region have been declining over time.

“Federal and state agencies are poised to begin the effort that will help grow a depleted population of mountain goats in the Cascades; and eliminate their impact on the Olympic Peninsula,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum in a press release.

The alpine wanderers were apparently brought to the Olympics in the 1920s for hunting before the mountains became a national park. It was a time when critters were moved around to replenish animal herds diminished by overhunting and settlement, or to provide new opportunities.

But with the peninsula’s goat population forecast to hit 1,000 in several years unless nothing is done, and with the fatal goring of a hiker in 2010, the time to act to halt impacts to mountain vegetation appears to be now.

After two years of capture and translocation operations, lethal removals would begin, though animals in unapproachable areas could be killed after the first year, according to the EIS.

Federal, state and “skilled public volunteers” would be tasked with taking out the last goats with nontoxic ammo.

To view the plan, go to https://parkplanning.nps.gov/OLYMgoat.

Washington Special Permit Application Period Now Open

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

Hunters have through May 23 to apply for special hunting permits for fall deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep, and turkey seasons in Washington.

HUNTING ON A LATE KLICKITAT TAG IN 2013, BUZZ RAMSEY BAGGED THIS NICE BUCK ON DAY SIX OF HIS EIGHT-DAY SPECIAL HUNT WITH SON WADE. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

Permit winners will be selected through a random drawing conducted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in June. Special permits qualify hunters to hunt at times and places beyond those authorized by a general hunting license.

To apply for a special permit, hunters planning to hunt for deer or elk must purchase an application and hunting license for those species and submit the application with their preferred hunt choices.

Applications and licenses are available from license vendors statewide or on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/. Applications must be submitted on the website or by calling 1-877-945-3492 toll-free.

If purchasing and applying online, hunters must first establish an online account by creating a username and password. Information on how to create a username and password in the WILD system can be found at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/content/pdfs/WILD-Account-Instructions.pdf. Hunters can also click the “Customer Support” link on the WILD homepage for additional assistance.

Hunters who already have a username and password can login to purchase and submit their applications.

Most special hunt permit applications cost $7.10 for residents, $110.50 for non-residents, and $3.80 for youth under 16 years of age.

The exception is the cost for residents purchasing applications for mountain goats, any bighorn sheep ram, any moose, and “quality” categories for deer and elk. Those applications cost $13.70.

Instructions and details on applying for special permit hunts are described on pages 12-13 of Washington’s 2018 Big Game Hunting Seasons & Regulations pamphlet, available at WDFW offices, license vendors, and online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/.

Additional information is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/permits/faq.html.

Anis Aoude, WDFW game division manager, reminds hunters to update their phone number, email, and mailing address when purchasing their special hunting permit applications and licenses. Updates can be made by logging into the WILD system. Each year, hundreds of special hunting permits are returned due to invalid addresses.

Results of the special permit drawing will be available online by the end of June at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/. Winners will be notified by mail or email by mid-July.

Just 7 Days Left To Comment On WDFW 2018-20 Hunting Reg Proposals

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

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public input on proposed recommendations for the 2018-20 hunting seasons.

HUNTERS DISCUSS THE DAY AROUND A CAMPFIRE IN THE OKANOGAN-WENATCHEE NATIONAL FOREST. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Through Feb. 14, WDFW will accept comments from the public to help finalize proposed regulations for hunting seasons that begin this year. To review and comment on the proposals, visit the department’s website starting Jan. 24 at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/seasonsetting/.

Developed after extensive public involvement, the proposed hunting season rules are based on the objectives and strategies contained in the new 2015-21 Game Management Plan, said Anis Aoude, WDFW game manager. The plan is available on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01676/.

“We appreciate the input we’ve received over the past months and encourage everyone interested in the 2018-20 hunting seasons to review and comment on the proposed rules before final action is taken,” Aoude said.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, which sets policy for WDFW, will also take public comment on the proposed recommendations at its March 16-17 meeting at the Red Lion Hotel in Wenatchee. Final commission action is scheduled to take place at the April 12-16 meeting.

Comment Sought On Olympic Mountain Goat Management Options

Federal and state managers are looking for public comment on what to do with the Olympic Peninsula’s mountain goats.

They’re trotting out four alternatives, one of which would remove 90 percent of the population that hangs out in the heights, mostly in Olympic National Park but also Olympic National Forest.

A TRIO OF MOUNTAIN GOATS CLING TO ROCKS ON THE RIDGE ABOVE THE ROAD TO HURRICANE RIDGE. (OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK)

Another option would move half the herd of roughly 725 animals by 2018 to either side of Washington’s North Cascades, bolstering herds and hunting opportunities in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests.

A third — the preferred one at the moment — would combine both alternatives to remove nine out of every ten mountain goats from federal lands on the peninsula, mostly by shooting by the fifth year of the operation.

A fourth leaves management as the status quo.

Olympic National Park, the U.S. Forest Service and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife came up with the draft environmental impact statement on the alternatives.

Goats aren’t native to the Olympics but were brought in somewhere in the early 1900s, before the national park was created in 1938.

They’ve done well, but are rough on soil and native plants, and with apparently no natural salt licks in the mountains, now associate humans with the mineral. An aggressive billy killed a hiker in the park in 2010.

Hunting of course isn’t allowed in the national park, but WDFW makes a handful of permits available to hunt national forest lands above Hood Canal through a conflict reduction permit.

Ten tags are currently offered for areas around Mt. Baker,  Lake Chelan and the Boulder River Wilderness, several more for the Goat Rocks of the South Cascades.

In the plan, the feds and state say that goats also have to be removed from the surrounding national forest because they’re part of the overall population.

Comment is open through Sept. 26.

For more details, go here.