THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is accepting public comments through Sept. 7 on a draft plan for future management of the North Cascades elk herd, the northernmost herd in Western Washington.
The draft plan for the herd, also known as the Nooksack herd, can be found on WDFW’s website at: http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01916/
In addition to the public comment period, state wildlife managers plan to hold a public meeting on Aug. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sedro-Woolley Community Center.
Written comments can be submitted online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RDCSVVM or mailed to North Cascades Elk Herd Plan, Wildlife Program, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, PO Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504.
The North Cascades elk herd is spread out over a large area of Skagit and Whatcom counties. Since the last herd management plan was adopted in 2002, the population of the herd – the smallest that WDFW manages – has rebounded from just a few hundred animals to more than 1,200 elk within the recent survey area.
But a growing elk population also comes with increased potential for elk/human interactions and conflicts. The new draft plan includes several strategies to address those concerns and other management issues.
Key goals of the proposed plan include:
Reducing elk/human conflicts, including minimizing elk damage on private property and elk-vehicle collisions along a stretch of State Route 20;
Offering sustainable hunting opportunities, including an increase of at least 100 square miles available for hunting on private and public lands;
Coordinating and cooperating with the Point Elliott Treaty Tribes on herd management and setting hunting seasons;
Increasing elk viewing and photography opportunities.
WDFW will consider comments received online, in writing, and during the public meeting in drafting the final version of the plan.