OLYMPIA - "Fish and Wildlife Science," state government's first electronic magazine devoted to natural resource issues, was launched today by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Written by WDFW scientists, the magazine is expected to provide a forum for the Department and its science partners to inform and educate Washington citizens on a broad range of fish and wildlife topics by featuring stories on research projects and the individuals performing the work.
The magazine can be accessed directly (http://wdfw.wa.gov/science) or through the Department's main homepage (http://wdfw.wa.gov).
"Fish and Wildlife Science" will also serve as a library for scientific and technical papers written by WDFW scientists, making it an easy-access, on-line source for natural resource professionals, policymakers, scientists, teachers, students and others.
The magazine has an interactive feature which allows readers to communicate directly with the Department and obtain answers to fish and wildlife science questions.
WDFW Director Jeff Koenings said the Department hopes the magazine will promote public understanding of fish and wildlife issues by serving as a vehicle to deliver WDFW science to as wide an audience as possible. He said he also hopes the magazine provides a source for the science and research WDFW does in conjunction with partners throughout the state.
"I believe one of the most important jobs confronting any scientist working in the public sector is to make his or her work as accessible and understandable to as many people as possible," Koenings said. "Over time, we expect "Fish and Wildlife Science" to become a major tool in helping our scientists accomplish this vital task."
Koenings said the magazine is part of the Department's strategy to improve constituent services by providing more services over the Internet. On May 1, for example, it's expected that citizens will be able to purchase hunting and fishing licenses and conservation decals over the Internet .
"In an era when government agencies are facing diminishing resources, fiscally and otherwise, it's incumbent that we look towards new technologies to help us do our jobs," Koenings said.
"Both the magazine and our move to sell licenses over the Internet are part of a broader initiative, enunciated by Governor Locke, for WDFW and all of state government to become more efficient by becoming more fully digitized."
"Fish and Wildlife Science" will only be published in electronic form, making it more timely and economical to produce than traditional, printed magazines. New stories and other information will be posted as it becomes available.
Stories and other material that have been posted within an issue will be archived within the magazine and remain easily accessible to readers. Links to other major public and private natural resource web sites will be listed.
The first edition of the magazine will feature a story on Puget Sound's marine sanctuaries, refuges offering protection for large and long-lived bottomfish species such as rockfish and lingcod. Besides reading about the research now underway, video streaming posted with the story will allow people to actually visit an underwater marine refuge.
Other stories posted in the magazine's first issue include one on the mule deer population research just beginning in eastern Washington, and another story focuses on the 15 species of Pacific Northwest bats.
Question-and-answer interviews with the Department's three chief scientists are also part of the premiere issue, and a feature called "Research Briefs" gives readers a thumbnail sketch of the multitude of projects now underway by WDFW scientists and their partners, including whether citizen volunteers are needed to help with research.
The Department welcomes reader suggestions on the magazine's format, and ideas for future stories. Mail should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.