OLYMPIA – An additional public meeting has been scheduled Aug. 27 in Mount Vernon to discuss potential pheasant release sites in Skagit and northern Snohomish counties, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
The public meeting is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. at the Mount Vernon Senior Center, 1401 Cleveland St. During the meeting, WDFW staff will give an update on efforts to secure public and private lands to release pheasants for recreational hunting.
At a public meeting earlier this year, department staff presented a list of possible pheasant release sites, said Lora Leschner, regional wildlife program manager for WDFW.
“We’d like to meet with the public again and discuss progress toward securing alternative sites where we might be able to relocate our pheasant release operations,” Leschner said.
WDFW is seeking new areas to release the birds because restoration projects on the Skagit Wildlife Area’s Headquarters and Leque Island units will soon return those areas to estuaries. Both restoration projects are scheduled to be completed later this summer.
Restoration projects on the Skagit Wildlife Area are intended to restore important habitat for wildlife and fish, particularly salmon, Leschner said. WDFW owns and manages the entire 16,700-acre Skagit Wildlife Area to preserve habitat for fish and wildlife, and provide a site for outdoor recreation.
On Leque Island, about 110 acres of the Stillaguamish estuary is being restored. At the Headquarters Unit, the Wiley Slough project is designed to restore 160 acres of estuarine salmon habitat that was diked and drained to create farmland.
To address concerns about lands lost to hunting, WDFW has been working with a coalition of hunters, recreationists, farmers and other landowners to secure hunter access to private lands in the area.
For more information on the Skagit Wildlife Area, see WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/skagit/.