Tag Archives: wdfw

Groundbreaking Set For $16.4 Million Puyallup Hatchery Renovation Project

Washington fish and wildlife officials, local tribal representatives and state lawmakers will break ground tomorrow to mark the start of a $16.4 million renovation of the historic Puyallup Hatchery.

THE FACADE OF THE PUYALLUP HATCHERY REFLECTS THE ERA IT WAS BUILT IN, THE YEARS RIGHT AFTER WORLD WAR II. THE FACILITY WILL UNDERGO A $16.4 MILLION RENOVATION THAT WILL INCREASE TROUT, SALMON AND STEELHEAD CAPACITY TO SUPPORT SPORTFISHING AND CONSERVATION PROGRAMS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The remodel will increase salmon and trout production at the facility built in the 1940s, resulting in more sport opportunity, as well as support conservation programs in the watershed.

WDFW says the project will allow them to rear an extra 50,000 rainbow trout, along with 800,000 spring Chinook, 300,000 coho and 200,000 steelhead at the facility.

The coho represent new capacity and will be adipose-fin clipped, according to agency hatchery manager Eric Kinne.

A WDFW WORKER CLEANS A RACEWAY AT THE PUYALLUP HATCHERY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The springers are for release at the White River acclimation ponds and are part of a restoration program, he says. They’re marked with a ventral clip.

Details on the steelhead are “still being worked out,” Kinne says.

Salmon production will begin in fall 2019, when work at the site is expected to wrap up.

NETS AND A SIPHON HANG ON THE WALL OF THE PUYALLUP HATCHERY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Funding comes from the state Capital Budget and sale of general obligation bonds, according to WDFW. Puyallup’s Prospect Construction won the construction bid.

The groundbreaking is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the hatchery, 1416 14th Street SW, Puyallup, just southwest of the state fairgrounds and along lower Clarks Creek. The public is welcome.

A HATCHERY WORKER SETS A METAL FENCE IN PLACE TO CORRAL RAINBOW TROUT IN A REARING POND AT THE PUYALLUP HATCHERY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

With $30 Million Budget Gap Looming, WDFW To Hold Public Webinar On Problems, Possible Fixes

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

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled a public webinar for 7 p.m. Monday, July 23, to discuss current funding challenges and opportunities for the State of Washington to invest in fish and wildlife management and conservation of lands and habitat.

To take part in the webinar, the public should visit this link (https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8360838542216730371) — also available at wdfw.wa.gov — and follow the instructions there to register. Registration via the website is available now through Monday.

Alternatively, for those who only wish to listen in, please call +1 (415) 655-0052 after 6:45 p.m. Monday and enter code 281-297-953 to participate.

During the webinar, Nate Pamplin, WDFW policy director, will describe the work of independent consultants and the agency’s Budget and Policy Advisory Group to explain the causes of a projected $30 million gap in funding faced by the department over the two-year budget cycle that begins in July 2019.   

Pamplin will describe planned budget cuts and proposed funding increases that are designed to eliminate the shortfall and ensure the department has adequate funding in the future.

He said several factors have caused the shortfall, including:

  • Several one-time funding patches approved by lawmakers in recent years will expire soon.
  • WDFW revenue from the sale of recreational licenses has not kept pace with spending authorized by the Legislature for managing fish, wildlife, and their habitat.
  • The department still has not fully recovered from the deep cuts imposed during the recession, and license fees have not been adjusted since 2011.

To meet the challenge, the department is preparing a set of proposals to the Governor and Legislature and is exploring options for recreational license fee increases to avoid reducing service to the public and to fulfill its conservation mission.

Documents describing spending and revenue proposals are available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/budget/development/.

250 Pronghorns Wandering Central Washington

Somewhere around 250 pronghorn are roaming the open country of Northcentral and Southcentral Washington, thanks to tribal releases on two reservations in recent years and the birth of fawns.

A minimum of 118 were counted by Colville wildlife biologists during a recent aerial survey, according to a Grand Coulee Star article out last Wednesday.

A PRONGHORN WANDERS THROUGH COUNTRYSIDE. (NPS)

Surveyors counted 89 adults and 29 fawns. Fifty-one of those animals are wearing telemetry collars, and it’s likely there are more untracked antelope both on and off the Colville Reservation.

Fifty-two were set free there in January 2016 and another 99 this past October.

A number have crossed the Columbia River into largely private Douglas County and some have wandered as far as Wenatchee and Quincy, according to the Star.

Colville wildlife managers say they are trying to work with the state Department of Transportation and local farmers how to design pronghorn-friendly fences, as the speedsters are apparently not very good at jumping.

Antelope, however, can be problematic for alfalfa growers.

The northern pronghorns came from the same state as those released earlier this decade on the Yakama Reservation, Nevada.

A joint state-tribal March 2017 aerial survey of Benton, Klickitat and Yakima Counties yielded a population estimate of 121, and last fall Yakama biologists let 52 more loose.

“There was high survival of the translocated animals, so the herd is presumably a bit larger that the spring count of 121 animals now,” said WDFW wildlife bio Jason Fidorra.

He expects the tribe to release another 48.

State pronghorn manager Rich Harris says that WDFW and the Yakama Nation will conduct an aerial survey this coming winter.

‘No Abnormalities’ Found In Exam Of Bicyclist-attacking Cougar

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

A report by Washington State University (WSU) about the examination of the carcass of the cougar believed to be involved in the death of a bicyclist this spring near North Bend revealed no abnormalities that might have contributed to the animal’s unusual behavior, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said today.

The report by the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU in Pullman was released today in response to public disclosure requests. The report is available on WDFW’s website athttps://wdfw.wa.gov/news/attach/jul1618a.pdf.

Dr. Kristin Mansfield, WDFW wildlife veterinarian, said the examination produced no significant findings to indicate why the cougar attacked the bicyclist and a companion on May 19.

She said wildlife managers are “highly confident” that the cougar was involved in the incident, because it was found so close to the attack site and because of the relatively low density of cougars in Washington. However, WDFW is awaiting the results of DNA analysis to confirm that conclusion. Those results are expected within the next month, she said.

Mansfield said the cougar was estimated to be about 3 years old. The animal was lean, but its weight and body condition fall within a normal range for a cougar of its age. She said the examination found no indication of rabies or other diseases that would pose a risk to humans.

Area 11 Boat Angling For Salmon Limited To Fri.-Mon. To Stretch Fishery

THE FOLLOWING IS AN EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Action:  Closes salmon fishing from a boat in Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island) weekdays from Tuesdays through Thursdays.

Salmon fishing will remain open daily in Marine Area 11 from fishing piers and shorelines.

TACOMA ANGLERS WILL ONLY BE ABLE TO FISH FOR SALMON FROM FRIDAY THROUGH MONDAY STARTING THIS COMING WEEK, AN ATTEMPT BY WDFW TO STRETCH THE QUOTA-DRIVEN FISHERY INTO SEPTEMBER. JESSICA BOYLE CAUGHT HER FIRST BIG KING TROLLING AT POINT DEFIANCE A FEW YEARS BACK. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Effective date: Effective 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, July 17.

Species affected: Salmon.

Location:  Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island).

Reason for action:  Preliminary estimates indicate that under the current daily catch rates, the harvest quota will be exceeded prior to the Sept. 30 season closure.  This action is being taken to increase the likelihood of providing a season-long fishery while ensuring compliance with conservation objectives.

 Additional information: Anglers can fish for salmon in all other Puget Sound Marine Areas except for Area 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay), and Area 8-2 (Port Susan/Port Gardner).

Marine Area 11 fishing piers that remain open daily through Sept. 30 include Dash Point Dock, Les Davis Pier, Des Moines Pier, Redondo Pier, and Point Defiance Boathouse Dock.

For specific regulations, anglers should consult the 2018-19 Washington Sports Fishing Rules pamphlet available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.

Anglers can check WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports_plants.html for the latest information on marine areas that are managed to a quota or guideline.

 

Researcher Was At Wolf Pack’s Rendezvous Site, Near Den

Federal wildlife overseers say the researcher who had to be rescued from wolves yesterday in Northcentral Washington was at their gathering site and also within half a mile of the Loup Loup Pack’s den.

A WDFW MAP SHOWS THE RANGE OF THE LOUP LOUP PACK ALONG THE DIVIDE BETWEEN THE CHEWUCH AND OKANOGAN RIVERS IN NORTHERN OKANOGAN COUNTY. (WDFW)

“After an on-site investigation, USFWS and WDFW biologists have determined the site is a rendezvous site, and concluded that the wolves were acting in a defensive manner,” said Ann Froschauer of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Lacey.

With wolves still federally listed in the western two-thirds of Washington, USFWS is the lead management agency and works in cooperation with WDFW to manage the species.

It wasn’t clear why the unnamed person was where she was, however.

WDFW described the rescuee as a “U.S. Forest Service salmon researcher” and said it had notified local forest officials of the site of the Loup Loup Pack’s den in April.

An Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest spokesperson had not returned a phone call from earlier today.

Froschauer said the researcher had initially seen wolf tracks and heard barking and yipping before she was approached by wolves.

She tried to scare them away by “yelling, waving and deploying a can of bear spray in the direction of the wolves” but was unsuccessful and so she climbed a tree and radioed out for help around 12:30 p.m.

According to Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers, search-and-rescue personnel and deputies were called on to respond to the scene in the Twentymile Meadows area roughly 26 miles north of Winthrop, with officers told to shoot the wolves on sight if they were still surrounding the woman when they arrived.

WDFW fish and wildlife officers were also preparing to head for the site, through several miles of rough country north of Tiffany Springs Campground.

It would have taken them several hours to hike to the location, though, and in the meanwhile, at the request of the Tonasket Ranger District, a state Department of Natural Resources wildfire helicopter was dispatched from Omak.

According to previous reports, the wolves were still near the base of the tree the woman had climbed as the chopper arrived 14 minutes later, but scattered as it landed.

She was then safely rescued.

Froschauer says that the Loup Loup Pack’s den site is “within a kilometer of the site where the incident occurred” and that GPS collar data showed that the evening before, at least one of the pack’s adults was very close to it as well.

“Rendezvous sites are home or activity sites where weaned pups are brought from the den until they are old enough to join adult wolves in hunting activity,” she said.

Froschauer said that because of the location’s remoteness from campgrounds and trails and the “defensive nature of the encounter,” USFWS doesn’t believe there’s a threat to human safety.

Federal and state biologists plan to monitor collar data from the two adult wolves.

Sheriff Rogers told regional public radio reporter Courtney Flatt he didn’t need to deal with any more wolf encounters; three notable ones have now occurred in the county since 2011.

“I’ve tried to tell people, it’s not like the movies. The wolves aren’t running around in packs hunting humans. But if you see a pack, don’t antagonize it. If it’s feeding, for god’s sake, stay away from it. If you run upon a den, stay away from it,” he told the journalist.

A statement from Conservation Northwest said that though attacks by wolves on people are “exceedingly rare,” they are territorial around dens and gathering points.

“Barking is often a warning to stay away from pups or food sources. Thankfully nobody was harmed,” the statement said.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased at the successful rescue of the individual, and commends the quick action of our partners in their rescue efforts,” said Froschauer.

She says that wolves are generally wary of people but also advised “taking precautions such as being aware of your surroundings, hiking and camping in groups, and carrying bear spray to help avoid potential conflicts.”

She pointed to Western Wildlife Outreach as a good source of information.

Research Student Rescued After Surrounded by Wolves

FINAL UPDATE 11:48 A.M., JULY 13, 2018: This link is the latest information on what happened during the incident.

A research student had to be rescued north of Winthrop today after she was surrounded by wolves at their rendezvous site and near their den.

The woman who was surveying in the West Fork Twentymile Creek area of northcentral Okanogan County, near Tiffany Springs and in the range of the Loop Loop Pack, called authorities around 12:30 p.m. that she had clambered 30 feet up a tree after encountering the wolves, it was reported by KREM 2 in Spokane and the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune based on a press release from Sheriff Frank Rogers.

The Seattle Times reported that she had initially encountered one and tried to pepper spray it before another arrived and she retreated up the tree.

Okanogan County deputies were initially given the go-ahead to shoot the animals on sight if they were still there when they arrived, according to the release.

Rogers told the Times that that would have been a two-hour hike for his officers.

DNR volunteered a helicopter that could get to the scene in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in less than a quarter hour and the crew was able to rescue her.

The wolves were still in the area upon the aircraft’s arrival, but scattered when it landed, according to reports.

It wasn’t immediately clear what the woman was researching, but in recent years Washington wolves have been the subject of university studies for interactions with livestock and big game.

At the end of 2017, there were at least two wolves in the Loup Loup Pack. If they were able to breed and have a litter this spring, there could be several growing pups.

It is not the first unnerving encounter between humans and wolves in Okanogan County. A lone hunter scouting for deer west of Winthrop was followed by two wolves in September 2011, and in September 2013 a hunter in the Pasayten Wilderness shot and killed a wolf after feeling threatened by it.

Others have occurred in Stevens and Kittitas Counties, also with hunters.

As the incident occurred in the still federally listed portion of Washington, USFWS is the lead agency. Late Thursday night, a WDFW official said the Service is developing a statement.

This week marks the 10-year anniversary of when it first became general public knowledge that there was a pack of wolves in Okanogan County, the state’s first since the 1930s. There are now nearly two dozen packs and a minimum of 122 wolves, nearly all east of the Cascade crest.

Neah Bay Chinook Limit Upped To 2 A Day

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM WDFW

Action: Anglers will be allowed to retain two chinook as part of their salmon daily limit in Marine Area 4 beginning Saturday, July 14. The current limit is two salmon, no more than one of which may be a chinook, release wild coho.

STUART ALLEN AND OTHER NEAH BAY ANGLERS WILL BE ABLE TO KEEP TWO CHINOOK A DAY STARTING SATURDAY, JULY 14. THE TRI-CITIES ANGLER CAUGHT THIS ONE SEVERAL SEASONS AGO. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Effective date:July 14, 2018.

Species affected:Chinook.

Location: Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay).

Reason for action:The fishery in Neah Bay has caught a significant portion of its coho quota, and sufficient chinook remain in the area’s guideline to allow retention of two chinook per day.

Additional information: In accordance with previously announced rules, release wild coho. Beginning Aug. 1, anglers fishing west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line in Area 4 must release chum while those fishing east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line must release chum and chinook.

Regulations for Marine Areas 1, 2, and 3 remain unchanged.

The daily limits in Marine Areas 1 and 2 remain at two salmon, no more than one of which may be a chinook, release wild coho.

The daily limit in Marine Area 3 remains two salmon, release wild coho.

Anglers can check WDFW’s webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/ocean/ for updates on the recreational ocean salmon fisheries.

WDFW Rolls Out Upper Columbia Chinook Closures, Sockeye Limit Bump

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

Salmon limits revised on Columbia River, tributaries between Priest Rapids Dam and Chief Joseph Dam

Action:

  • Release all adult chinook salmon
  • Increase daily sockeye limit to 3 fish

Species affected: Adult chinook salmon and sockeye.

BREWSTER POOL AND OTHER UPPER COLUMBIA SALMON ANGLERS WILL NEED TO RELEASE CHINOOK STARTING JULY 16, A DAY AFTER THE QUOTA UNDER A LOWER FORECAST IS EXPECTED TO BE MET, BUT CAN CONTINUE FISHING FOR UP TO THREE SOCKEYE A DAY UNDER AN EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE FROM WDFW. (BRIAN LULL)

Locations and effective dates:

  • Priest Rapids Dam to Rock Island Dam: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through August 31. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Rock Island Dam to Wells Dam: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 15.  Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Wells Dam to Hwy 173 Bridge at Brewster: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through August 31. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained.  Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Hwy 173 Bridge at Brewster to Chief Joseph Dam: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 15. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Wenatchee River (mouth to Icicle Road bridge): August 1 through September 30. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Chelan River (from railroad bridge upstream to Chelan P.U.D. safety barrier below the powerhouse): July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 31: Daily limit 4 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Okanogan River (from mouth upstream to Hwy. 97 Bridge immediately upstream of mouth): July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 15. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye.  Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Okanogan River (from Hwy. 97 Bridge immediately upstream of mouth to the second Hwy. 97 Bridge in Oroville): July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through September 15. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Similkameen River (from mouth upstream to 400 feet below Enloe Dam): July 16 through September 15. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.

Reason for action: The summer chinook run was downsized to a total of 44,000, which is 35% below the preseason forecast. This reduction in the chinook run decreased the allowable catch in recreational fisheries above Priest Rapids Dam. Anglers are expected to catch their allocation by July 15, 2018.

Additional information: 

The decline in this year’s projected summer chinook run size also prompted the closure of summer chinook fisheries below Priest Rapids Dam earlier this month. The following sportfishing seasons are in effect for salmon and steelhead on the mainstem Columbia River:

Megler-Astoria Bridge to Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco: Salmon and steelhead, July 7-July 31: Daily limit 6, up to 2 adult salmon or hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack chinook and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.

Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco to Priest Rapids Dam: Salmon, July 7-August 15: Daily limit 6, up to 2 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack chinook and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.

The Entiat River salmon season will remain unchanged and as described in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet. The fall chinook seasons between Priest Rapids Dam and Rock Island Dam will remain unchanged and as described in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet. Anglers are reminded that the Colville Confederated Tribe will be out capturing chinook for hatchery broodstock with their purse seiner.

Information contact: Region 2-Ephrata (509) 754-4624 or Wenatchee (509) 662-0452

 

One Decade On Since Washington’s First Wolf Pack Heard

It was 10 years ago today that it became publicly apparent the Northwest’s wildlife world was about to change permanently.

LOOKOUT PACK PUPS PHOTOGRAPHED 10 YEARS AGO TODAY. (CONSERVATION NORTHWEST)

On July 11, 2008, WDFW sent out a press release that three days earlier its biologists had heard howls from adult and juvenile wolves near Twisp, in North-central Washington.

The Lookout Pack would be confirmed in the following days through the capture of two adults and retrieval of trail camera images showing six pups.

I remember feeling gobsmacked.

Wolves were suddenly in the valley I’d hunted muleys for nearly a decade and a half — what was going to happen to the legendary Okanogan deer herd?

AN OKANOGAN COUNTY MULE DEER HUNTER CARTS HIS FOUR-POINT OUT OF THE WOODS DURING 2015’S HUNT. (TOM WALGAMOTT)

In hindsight, of course, the rangy predators’ arrival was inevitable as wolf populations in southern British Columbia, North Idaho and Northwest Montana grew and dispersers from Central Idaho and Yellowstone reintroductions spread out.

A dead one in Northeast Oregon in 2007, and B-300 near the Eagle Caps and a roadkill west of Spokane the following year.

And state managers had begun preparing for that eventuality by beginning to work on a management plan.

IMAGES RECORDED BY SMALL CAMERAS MOUNTED TO THE NECKS OF A COUPLE DOZEN DEER IN NORTH-CENTRAL WASHINGTON PROVIDED A GLIMPSE INTO THE DAILY LIVES OF THE ANIMALS, AND HOPEFULLY MORE DETAILS ABOUT WOLF-DEER INTERACTIONS. (IMAGES COURTESY JUSTIN DELLINGER)

Yet still.

After decades with only the odd stray turning up here and there, wolves were again in Washington after being killed off some 70 years before.

Times had changed from those days. It felt like a seismic shift.

The initial news on the Lookouts from WDFW would be followed by a July 21 release from ODFW that Oregon too had its first pack, the Wenahas, in northern Union County.

OR 12, A WENAHA PACK MALE. (ODFW)

And then all hell broke loose, and it didn’t.

With yet another monthly set of magazines beckoning to get put on the press, I don’t have near enough time to list all the wolf-related events of the subsequent years as the number of wolves in Washington and Oregon grew from those first eight and four animals to a minimum of 122 and 124 as of the end of 2017.

Needless to say, there have been many depredations, lethal removals and poachings.

There have been management tweaks, federal delisting in portions of the two states, translocation bills and lawsuits.

There have been caught-in-the-act and self-defense shootings, first suggestions Washington big game subherds may be being affected by packs and wolfies chewing on wolfies

And there’s been the Diamond M, OR-7, WDFW’s wolf people tamer and, of course, Rob Wielgus.

EVIDENCE FROM A POACHING CASE AGAINST TERRY FOWLER OF LIBERTY LAKE, WASHINGTON, INCLUDED A PAIR OF WOLF SKULLS. (WDFW)

Right here I should come up with some overarching conclusion about wolves in the Northwest, but the story is nowhere near concluded, I feel.

And so I’ll keep reading, listening and calling, and writing blogs — 522 on this site at last count — and magazine articles, and see where we are in another 10 years.

Hopefully by then the feds will have completely delisted gray wolves and we’ll have reached full state recovery goals and can have limited hunts, like is already occurring on two reservations in Washington’s northeastern corner, where packs are thriving, just as they are in the same pocket of Oregon.

Indeed, after a decade, I’m sure of one thing: the wolves will be fine.

As for the rest of us, our howling over them will continue.