The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved state acquisition of a 278-acre wetland in Lincoln County as a wildlife-viewing site and heard 2006-08 hunting rule proposals at its meeting March 10 in Pasco.
The commission, a nine-member citizen panel appointed by the governor, sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The acquisition of “Reardan’s Audubon Lake” provides critical habitat for more than 200 species of birds and other wildlife near the town of Reardan, 22 miles west of Spokane. The acquisition of the Inland Northwest Land Trust-Eastman property by WDFW was approved and funded by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program in cooperation with the Spokane Audubon Society, the town of Reardan, Reardan Chamber of Commerce and Reardan Public Development Authority. The site is a key component of a planned Northeast Washington Birding Trail.
Proposed 2006-08 hunting rules, which the commission will vote on during its April 7-8 meeting in Tumwater, include changes to eastern Washington pheasant season dates, expanded turkey hunt opportunities, mule deer and white-tailed deer management, spring black bear seasons, Colockum and Hanford area elk management, and archery and muzzleloader equipment regulations. Details of all hunting rule proposals are available on Hunting section of the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/game/seasonsetting/.
The commission also approved acquisition of 19 acres of land at the mouth of the Dungeness River in Clallam County, a land lease for an environmental education center at the Vancouver Hatchery in Clark County and rule amendments to clarify and simplify scientific collection permit procedures.
The commission also heard briefings on:
- Columbia River Partnership legislation to provide water both for out-of-stream uses such as irrigation and electricity production, and for fish.
- Re-licensing issues involving four mid-Columbia River dams operated by public utility districts in Grant, Chelan and Douglas counties.
- A proposed pilot elk and deer damage-control program in south-central Washington, including new wildlife control specialist positions.
- Progress in developing WDFW’s 2007-2009 biennial strategic plan.