ELLENSBURG -- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission today
approved the outline of a hunting and fishing agreement with the Colville Tribe that
would continue to provide recreational opportunities for non-Indians on reservation
The commission directed Bern Shanks, director of the Department of Fish and
Wildlife, to begin a public process that would develop the details of the agreement. The
public will have opportunities to comment during that process.
Key elements of the outline include:
- Cooperative tribal and WDFW enforcement on the Colville Reservation
- Cooperative fish and wildlife management, including efforts to restore salmon
- Non-tribal hunting on tribal land for upland birds (including pheasants but not
grouse), migratory birds (including doves) and small game such as rabbits
- Tribal commitment to help landowners with problems from nuisance or
- Tribal commitment to maintain or enhance existing non-Indian fish
opportunities on the reservation
- Tribal and state recognition of state fishing licenses for non-Indians on
The tribal land would remain closed to big game hunting by non-Indians under
the proposed agreement.
- Tribal and statement commitment to a mule deer conservation program
The outline also contains a provision for the tribe and Fish and Wildlife
Commission to review the new agreement after five years.
The new agreement would replace one signed by the state and tribe in 1982.
That agreement ended litigation in federal court that threatened to eliminate all state
authority over fish and wildlife management on the reservation.
Commissioner Pat McMullen, an attorney, said, "The federal courts have made it
clear that the state would have no jurisdiction over fish and wildlife at all on this
reservation, which is the size of the state of Rhode Island, without the agreement."
"The tribes are important managers of fish and wildlife in much of Washington,"
noted Shanks. "This is an opportunity to improve an existing agreement with one of the
state's largest tribes that will benefit fish, wildlife and the Indians and non-Indians who
In other action, the commission adopted the following "vital tasks" to be
accomplished in the current biennium:
- Participate in Gov. Gary Locke's Quality in Government Initiative
- Develop diverse fish and wildlife opportunities
- Organize and manage the department on an ecosystem basis
- improve public outreach and customers relations
- Restore and protect priority fish and wildlife habitat and species