September 30, 2002
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509)456-4073
Fish and Wildlife Commission delays grazing policy for more review
WALLA WALLA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has delayed adoption of a new policy for livestock grazing on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) lands pending additional review by department scientists.
In a meeting here last weekend, the commission –a nine-citizen panel appointed by the governor to oversee WDFW– asked the department's chief scientists to complete their review in time for the commission to consider policy adoption at a Dec. 6-7 meeting in Mount Vernon.
There are currently 37 grazing permits on 62,000 acres; about 7.5 percent of the 808,000 acres owned or managed by WDFW. Under the proposed policy, domestic livestock grazing would be permitted on WDFW lands only if it is consistent with site management objectives, WDFW's Priority Habitats and Species (PHS) recommendations, Coordinated Resource Management (CRM) plans, and WDFW's broader strategic plan.
During its two-day meeting, the commission also:
- Adopted permanent regulations to replace temporary emergency rules for protection of upper Columbia River sturgeon and Kalama River steelhead, and closure of the breached Lewis River Power Canal
- Approved a federally funded purchase of 106 acres of salmon habitat in Jefferson County; 181 acres for hatchery water in Chelan County, and acceptance of 118 donated acres in Grays Harbor County for floodplain restoration as mitigation for pipeline construction
- Heard briefings on WDFW's youth sport fishing program, proposed marine fin fish aquaculture regulations, financial and wildlife impacts of eastern Washington wildfires, Columbia River spring chinook non-treaty harvest, and Lower Columbia River sturgeon management
- Heard updates on compliance with fish screen and passage laws, and on WDFW's six-year game management plan process
- Discussed license fee alternatives, as directed by the Legislature, in preparation for October public meetings on the issue.