WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

May 23, 1997
Contact: Margaret Ainscough, (360) 902-2408

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Public meetings to air proposed state endangered species list revisions

Six meetings will be held across the state next month to gather public views on proposed changes to the state's list of sensitive, threatened and endangered species.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is holding the sessions in each of the agency's six administrative regions. The meetings are part of a public comment period which ends June 13. Written comments may be mailed up to that date to Harriet Allen, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia 98501-1091.

Under discussion will be the proposed addition to the state endangered species list of the Oregon spotted frog, as well as revisions which would change the gray whale from endangered to sensitive status and the Aleutian Canada goose from endangered to threatened status. The Olive Ridley sea turtle would be dropped from consideration for listing.

After the public meetings state biologists will prepare final status reports and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) documents, which will be available for public review in July. The species listing proposals will be presented to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission for action in early August.

The WDFW maintains a list of sensitive, threatened and state species separate from the list maintained by the federal government. Presently, there are 24 endangered, eight threatened and one sensitive species on the state's list.

Endangered species are those in danger of becoming extinct in the state; threatened species are considered likely to become endangered unless preventive steps are taken, and sensitive species are those which are vulnerable, showing declining numbers and are in danger of becoming threatened or endangered.

The Oregon spotted frog, which historically ranged from the Canadian border south to the Columbia River, is present only in Thurston County and two locations in the south Cascades. Habitat loss and introduced predators have contributed to the species' decline.

The gray whale is being recommended for downlisting because its numbers have rebounded to more than 21,000 animals in the eastern Pacific Ocean since gray whale hunting was prohibited. The species already has been removed from the federal endangered species list.

The Aleutian Canada goose is being recommended for downlisting because it has increased to more than 6,000 animals following a successful 20-year recovery effort.

The Olive Ridley sea turtle is being recommended to be dropped from listings because, although the tropical animal occasionally has been found washed up on Washington beaches, the state is outside the species' normal range.

The public meetings will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in each of the following locations:

YakimaJune 3J.M. Perry Institute
20 W. Washington St.
WenatcheeJune 4Chelan County Fire District One
206 Easy St.
SpokaneJune 5Spokane Counth Health Building
W. 1101 College Ave.
Mill CreekJune 10Wash. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
Region 4 Headquarters
16018 Mill Creek Blvd.
VancouverJune 11Clark County Public Utilities Operations Center
8600 NE 117th Ave.
AberdeenJune 12Grays Harbor Community College HUB
1620 Edward P. Smith Drive(off Hwy. 105)