OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled a public meeting in Longview to gather comment on its proposed Mount Saint Helens Elk Herd Management Plan.
The open house is scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. April 11, at Lower Columbia College, 1600 Maple St., Longview. It will feature a computer presentation that summarizes the proposed plan's purpose, goals and funding for managing the Saint Helens elk herd during the next five years.
The presentation will be shown repeatedly through the evening. WDFW staff will be on hand to receive verbal or written public comment. Members of the public also may submit testimony via email. The complete plan and email options are posted at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/game/elk/sthelens.htm on the Internet.
"The open house is a good place for people to learn about the plan and get any questions answered," WDFW Wildlife Biologist George Tsukamoto said. "We've scheduled the meeting to run until 8 p.m., but if we have people still there, we'll stay so people can have a chance to comment and learn more."
The Mount Saint Helens Elk Herd is one of 10 elk herds in the state and is considered one of the most important because of its significant recreational, aesthetic and economic benefits.
The purpose of the Mount Saint Helens Elk Herd Management Plan is to guide WDFW's elk management activities. The plan includes strategies for managing a sustained harvest through hunting while ensuring continued protection of the herd. The plan outlines strategies and funding for increasing the herd's population, reducing elk damage in the herd area and maintaining and enhancing existing elk habitat.
Public testimony on the proposed plan will be taken through the month of April, before a final elk management plan is adopted.