600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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February 15, 2002
Contact: George Tsukamoto, (360) 902-2367

Draft Yakima elk plan available for public review

A draft plan for management of the Yakima elk herd is available for public review and comment.

The draft plan, released today, is one of a series the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is developing for the state's 10 elk herds. The plan is designed to guide management of the herd over the next five years.

Copies of the draft plan are available at WDFW's Yakima regional office, 1701 South 24th Avenue in Yakima and at WDFW ‘s headquarters in the Natural Resource Building, 1111 Washington Street SE, in Olympia. The draft Yakima elk plan also may be viewed on the WDFW website on the Internet.

Written comments on the draft, which will be incorporated into the final herd plan, will be accepted through March 7 and may be mailed to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Management, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091.

Public meetings to discuss the plan are scheduled Feb. 27 in the West Valley High School Commons, 9206 Zier St., in Yakima and Feb. 28 at the Hal Holmes Community Center, 201 North Ruby, in Ellensburg. Both meetings are scheduled to run from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. At the meetings, WDFW staff will provide an overview of the plan and take comments from the public.

The Yakima elk herd is one of the largest and healthiest herds in the state. However, due to concerns about crop and orchard damage and nuisance problems in rural communities, the plan proposes to reduce herd size by 10 to 20 percent through antlerless permit hunting.

Besides reducing herd size, the plan proposes to manage the herd by:

  • Constructing additional fences and improving fence maintenance and herding of elk
  • Imposing seasonal area closures and road closures so elk are not harassed off public land
  • Enhancing habitat, especially on public land
  • Acquiring land or conservation easements in key winter and transition ranges.