Domestic Livestock Grazing on Department Lands

Policy number
Effective date
Signed by
Signed by: Russ Cahill, Fish and Wildlife Commission Chair

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife acquires and manages land to protect fish and wildlife and their habitats, maintain biodiversity and provide opportunities for fish and wildlife related recreation.

GENERAL POLICIES: Domestic livestock grazing on Department owned or controlled lands may be permitted if determined to be consistent with desired ecological conditions for those lands, or with the Department's Strategic Plan.

  1. Livestock grazing on Department lands is a practice that can be used to manipulate vegetation for fish and wildlife, accomplish a specific habitat objective, or facilitate coordinated resource management. If permitted, livestock grazing must be integrated with other uses to ensure the protection of all resource values, the most important of which is maintaining ecological integrity.
  2. Grazing permits are of agency-wide interest. The Department will develop procedures that include a cross-program review to ensure all grazing permits are subject to the best available science.
  3. New grazing permits will be made available for Commission review before being forwarded to the Director for approval. All grazing permits, excluding temporary permits, must include a domestic livestock grazing management plan that includes a description of ecological impacts, fish and wildlife benefits, a monitoring and evaluation schedule, and a description of the desired ecological conditions.
  4. Coordinated Resource Management Plans will be encouraged where appropriate.
  5. The Department will promote adaptive management and continued improvement of programs and practices as new knowledge and understanding of habitat ecology becomes available.