May 05, 2008
Contact: Susan Yeager, 360-902-2267
Land transactions approved, cougars, wolves
discussed at May 2-3 commission meeting
COLVILLE – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved proposed land transactions and heard briefings on and discussed cougar management, future wolf management and other topics at its May 2-3 meeting here.
The nine-member commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), approved five property acquisitions for fish and wildlife habitat and public recreation in Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Skagit and Snohomish counties. Parcels to be acquired with grants from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program are:
- 1,079 acres of wetlands, streams and other diverse fish and wildlife habitat along the West Branch of the Little Spokane River, between Fan and Horseshoe lakes in southern Pend Oreille County, as phase one of a total acquisition of 2,772 acres referred to as Rustler’s Gulch;
- 19.54 acres on Beaver Creek between Twisp and Winthrop in central Okanogan County to be managed within the Methow Wildlife Area for bull trout, songbirds, mule deer and more; and
- two parcels of riparian forest and wetland habitat used by a diversity of fish and wildlife at the convergence of the north and south forks of the Skagit River, north of Conway in Skagit County -- 29 acres including 700 feet of waterfront and another 27 acres with 1,000 feet of waterfront.
A fifth parcel – 808 acres of Deadwater Slough wetlands east of the Snohomish River and west of Ebey Slough near Everett in Snohomish County – will be acquired with a National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grant and managed along with adjacent WDFW property in the Ebey Island unit of the Snoqualmie Wildlife Area.
At the Commission’s request, WDFW staff provided briefings on:
- 2008 Pilot Cougar Control Program final report to the Legislature and cougar research project progress;
- The status of Wolf Management Plan development with 17-citizen Wolf Working Group;
- The status of land exchange with Washington Department of Natural Resources;
- WDFW strategic spending priorities, budget process, and capital projects update.
At the Commission’s invitation, two northeast Washington sportsmen groups provided input on future hunting seasons. Others in attendance also commented on hunting seasons and deer and turkey populations.
The Commission reminded hunters that discussion will begin this summer on the next three-year hunting seasons and rules package, covering 2009 through 2011, when major changes might be involved.