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Washington State Elk Herd Plan: Rattlesnake Hills (Hanford) Elk Herd

Category: Wildlife Research and Management - Game Management and Conservation

Date Published: February 2000

Number of Pages: 34

INTRODUCTION:
A rapidly expanding population of Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) on the Fitzner- Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology (ALE) Reserve of the Hanford Site, resulted in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) development of this plan. The ALE is a restricted access area with unique habitats and is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The USFWS is currently developing a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the management of the ALE. Conflicting management issues of the elk resource will be an important component of the plan. The CCP draft should be completed by midsummer 2000, and a step-down plan process will be used to more fully describe elk management and other major issues. The step-down plan, generated through the CCP, will prescribe a coordinated effort between the USFWS, Department of Energy (DOE), Tribes, and WDFW for the long term management of the elk resource, (Jeffrey Haas 2000 personal communications). The risks of elk damages to the ALE Reserve’s unique habitats and adverse effects of elk to adjacent private lands with high risk of crop and property damages are key factors that require the development and implementation of this plan as soon as possible.