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

June 04, 2007
Contact: Susan Yeager, (360) 902-2267

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Commission approves land transactions;
more review for wildlife area conduct rules

SPOKANE VALLEYProposed rules for public conduct on state wildlife areas and water-access sites will be revised and circulated for additional public comment, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission decided at a meeting here Saturday.

The nine-member citizen commission was briefed on the proposed rules by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) staff and heard public input during the meeting. The Commission is scheduled to review the revised proposals during its Aug. 3-4 public meeting in Anacortes, and will consider approval of the rules at an Oct. 12-13 meeting in Olympia.

The proposed rules, which address the type and amount of use on wildlife properties, are aimed at protecting fish and wildlife resources and ensuring public safety. The rules address use of aircraft, camping, commercial activity, dumping and sanitation, structures, firearms and target shooting, fireworks, land and road closures, livestock, parking, pets, resource removal, vehicle use and other issues.

The proposals have been under development for several years, with involvement by WDFWs statewide Land Management Advisory Council and citizen advisory groups for individual wildlife areas.

Revised rule proposals will be posted shortly on WDFWs website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/land_line/

In other business during its two-day meeting, the commission approved acquisition of three properties in Okanogan County, as well as two easements.

The Okanogan County land purchases, to be made with federal and state grant funds, are:

More than 19 acres of land adjacent to the Methow Wildlife Area south of Winthrop, including 1,500 feet of Methow River frontage, which will provide critical fish and wildlife habitat and recreational access.

Another 264 acres of property adjacent to the Methow Wildlife Area east of Twisp, including shrub-steppe habitat for species ranging from butterflies to mule deer.

More than 3,335 acres of land east of Oroville, including shrub-steppe habitat for wildlife and Nine-Mile Creek, used by endangered Upper Columbia steelhead.

The easements will allow a National Park Service (NPS) pipeline to cross WDFWs Elwha fish rearing pond in Clallam County as part of the federal plan to remove two Elwha River dams to restore salmon habitat. The easement, which compensates WDFW $42,170, also includes a permit to temporarily divert water while NPS constructs a new, more fish-friendly water intake structure for the city of Port Angeles.

The other approved easement is an exchange of access between the Oak Creek Wildlife Area and an adjacent landowner in Yakima County.