OLYMPIA –Several land transactions, including two that add habitat to state-managed wildlife areas in Okanogan and Kittitas counties, were approved by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission during its meeting here March 9-10.
One transaction approved by the commission adds 202 acres of forestland to the Methow Wildlife Area. The forestland, located just north of Winthrop and previously owned by the Washington Department of Natural Resources, joins together other Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) properties in Okanogan County.
Another land transaction approved by the commission adds 80 acres of forestland to the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area. The property near Easton adjoins other WDFW-managed land in Kittitas County and is located within a wildlife migration corridor through the Snoqualmie National Forest.
“These lands will help us protect and enhance important and much-needed wildlife habitat, as well as increase public access for recreational opportunities,” said Jerry Gutzwiler, chair of the commission that sets policy for WDFW.
The commission also approved a proposal that updates WDFW’s guidelines on raising and releasing marine fish such as rockfish and lingcod. The policy limits marine aquaculture to scientific research and efforts to rebuild native marine fish stocks designated as “depleted.”
A proposal clarifying WDFW’s authority to issue landowner hunting permits for crop and property damage also was approved by the nine-member commission.
In addition, the commission dedicated much of the two-day meeting to briefings and public hearings on several proposed changes in state hunting rules. The commission will act on those proposed hunting changes at its April 6-7 meeting in Ellensburg. A list of those proposals is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/do/newreal/release.php?id=feb2307a.
The commission also heard reports on a number of other topics, including proposed modifications in the reporting system for Dungeness crab caught in Puget Sound, a clarification of livestock-grazing policies, funding sources for habitat acquisitions and snow goose hunting on Fir Island.