MOUNT VERNON– A scientific panel discussion and a public comment session on brant management will be conducted here July 1 by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The science panel session, which is open to the public, will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Cottontree Inn Conference Center, 2401 Riverside Dr., Mt. Vernon.
The science review session will be followed by a public comment meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room F-101 of Ford Hall at Skagit Valley Community College. Those attending the meeting may comment on the WDFW recommendations for the 1999-2000 brant season and the draft brant management plan.
Recent WDFW brant management actions have been questioned by some citizens who want more opportunity to hunt the small black waterfowl, also known as sea goose. Brant population declines have prompted WDFW to restrict hunting seasons in recent years.
The scientific panel will hear a WDFW presentation on brant management practices and pose questions to the department. Panel members include Fred Cooke, professor at Simon Fraser University and international expert in waterfowl ecology; David Ward, a research biologist with the US Geological Survey in Anchorage who has conducted extensive field work on brant; James Sedinger, a professor of wildlife ecology at the Institute of Arctic Biology and the Department of Biology and Wildlife at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, and Rone Brewer, chairman of the Northwest chapter of Washington Waterfowl Association, Inc., a non- profit organization dedicated to waterfowl management and hunting opportunity. Members of the public attending the scientific peer review session will have an opportunity to ask questions of the panel members.
Besides the public input meeting, written comments may be submitted on proposed brant management, for consideration at the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission's August 7 meeting at Ocean Shores. Written comments should be submitted by July 30 to: Don Kraege, Waterfowl Section, WDFW, 600 Capitol Way N 98501-1091. Public comment on brant management also will be taken during the commission meeting.
Copies of WDFW proposed brant management recommendations may be obtained by calling WDFW at (360)902-2515.