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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

This document is provided for archival purposes only.
Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

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September 29, 2014
Contact: Commission Office, (360) 902-2267

Commission approves land purchases
for wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation

OLYMPIA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the purchase of nearly 4,200 acres in Douglas County to protect important shrub-steppe habitat for wildlife and provide public access for outdoor recreation.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), approved the acquisition during its meeting in Pasco on Sept. 26-27.

The land, located about five miles northwest of the town of Grand Coulee, includes access to the Columbia River and serves as critical habitat for a variety of wildlife, particularly sharp-tailed grouse. Acquiring the parcel is the first phase of a multi-year plan to secure the 20,500-acre Grand Coulee Ranch.

WDFW secured an option to purchase the 4,200-acre property for an assessed value of $1.8 million with a grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.

The department received support for the acquisition from the Douglas County commissioners. Once the sale in finalized, the land will be managed as part of WDFW's Wells Wildlife Area.

The commission also approved the purchase of nearly 132 acres of land in Grays Harbor County. The parcel includes a 35-acre island and surrounding tidelands that provide important habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife, especially waterfowl and shorebirds migrating along the Pacific Flyway.

The property, located about one mile southeast of Westport, also provides access for waterfowl hunting. WDFW secured an option to purchase the property for $108,000 and will manage the land as part of the department's Johns River Wildlife Area.

In other business, the commission received briefings on proposed changes to sportfishing rules in the Columbia River Basin, the development of the 2015-2021 statewide Game Management Plan, and state wolf management and conservation activities this year.

The commission also discussed the recruitment of a new director of WDFW. The current director, Phil Anderson, announced in August he is resigning from his position at the end of the year.