MOUNT VERNON--People with an interest in Padilla Bay brant management
practices are invited to a May 18 public meeting here to raise their questions and
concerns for consideration next month by a scientific panel.
The public session will be held downtown from 7 to 10 p.m. in Room B of the
Skagit County Courthouse, 700 S. Second St.
Questions raised in the public session will be forwarded to a panel of university
scientists which will convene in June to review Washington Department of Fish and
Wildlife's brant management practices.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife invited the Washington Cooperative Fish
and Wildlife Research Unit, located at the University of Washington, to conduct the
independent scientific review. The review panel is expected to include waterfowl
scientists and representatives of hunting and environmental organizations.
The scientific panel meeting will be followed by another public meeting in July to
discuss the panel's recommendations, the state brant management plan and the
proposed 1999-2000 waterfowl hunting seasons.
Recent WDFW brant management actions, including the decision to maintain
game reserves at Padilla Bay, have been questioned by some members of the public
who want more opportunity to hunt the small, black waterfowl, also known as sea
Brant population declines prompted WDFW to restrict hunting seasons in recent
years. Brant, which pass through and winter in this state, breed from the Canadian
Arctic to western Alaska, according to WDFW Waterfowl Section Manager Don Kraege.
Last year, brant hunting was limited to five days. Brant populations appear to
have recovered sufficiently to allow a longer season this year, Kraege said.