WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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April 04, 1998
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509) 456-4073

Commission adopts budget plan, will vote on hunting regs Monday

WENATCHEE -- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to set this year's hunting seasons and rules at 10 a.m. Monday in a conference telephone call.

During a scheduled meeting in Wenatchee this weekend the commission approved a budget reduction plan, a state-tribal hunting coordination policy, and a hunting and fishing agreement with the Colville Tribe.

Commissioners also took public testimony on proposed hunting rules during the Wenatchee meeting. They were unable to vote on the hunting proposals because the commission lacked a quorum for part of the two-day meeting. Persons interested in listening to Monday's conference call can do so at the commission office in Olympia on the fifth floor of the Natural Resources Building at 1111 Washington St. SE.

To meet a $7.5 million agency budget cut required by a revenue shortfall, the commission at the Wenatchee meeting approved a revised department budget plan that will:

  • Cut 58 full-time positions throughout the department
  • Leave unfilled 19 vacant jobs
  • Cut no more than six enforcement positions as a result of the cancellation of a Bonneville Power Administration contract that previously funded officers in the Columbia Basin
  • Consolidate nine programs into five by combining the Fish Management and Hatcheries programs, the Lands and Habitat programs, and the Outreach and Education and Business programs
  • Reduce the number of agency assistant directors from nine to five Sell approximately 342 acres of WDFW property that has little value for wildlife
  • Close three fish-rearing sites
  • Sell three airplanes used for survey and enforcement work
The commission also adopted a state-tribal hunting coordination policy that commits WDFW to work cooperatively with representatives of each tribal government in an effort to resolve all hunting issues through direct communication and negotiation.

Under the policy, WDFW will work jointly with the tribes in wildlife harvest data exchange and develop enforcement protocols to guide officers in their contacts with tribal hunters.

The agreement signed between WDFW and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation is a revision of a 1982 version. It expands non-member hunting for upland game birds and waterfowl, provides greater protection for mule deer, and protects non-member fishing on and around the Colville Reservation. Rules that continue a closure of big game and grouse hunting and furbearer trapping on the reservation also were adopted.

The commission also listed sage and sharptail grouse as "threatened' under state law to protect declining populations. It also approved 1999-2000 sportfishing rule development plans, which feature an extensive public involvement process scheduled to begin next month.