Game management plan development process and timeline

The Game Management Plan (GMP) is written by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) staff with guidance and final approval from the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC, Commission). The GMP is one document comprised of many chapters, each related to a different game species, species groups, and/or related topics. 

Mountain goat
Photo by Andrea Nesbitt

Process

The plan development process begins with WDFW staff writing draft chapters for the GMP based on the latest available information. Initial drafts of these chapters undergo broad internal review by Department staff and are also reviewed by the Commission’s Wildlife Committee. The Wildlife Committee will make recommendations to WDFW staff about the content of each chapter, and once these recommendations are sufficiently incorporated, the Wildlife Committee briefs the full Commission on GMP chapter development progress.

This process of writing, reviewing, and briefing the full Commission on draft chapters continues until all draft chapters of the GMP have been finished. Then, the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process begins on the full draft document. A formal public comment period is held as part of the SEPA process, during which the public has the opportunity to comment on the draft GMP. WDFW staff then review and respond to comments received and may modify the document based on those comments.

While members of the public may see early draft GMP chapters presented to the Commission or discussed during Wildlife Committee meetings, formal public comment periods will not take place until the SEPA process begins.

At the conclusion of the SEPA process, WDFW staff will present the final draft GMP to the full Fish and Wildlife Commission for consideration. If the Commission votes to adopt the GMP, the document is final and the development process is complete.

Timeline

This timeline is subject to change. This webpage will be continually updated throughout the GMP development process with the most up to date information. Please check back for updates.

GMP Development Timeline
Date Action Notes
2023    
Ongoing WDFW staff work on writing GMP chapters  
Late November to mid January 2024 FWC Wildlife Committee reviews GMP chapters prepared by WDFW staff

Chapters submitted to Wildlife Committee at this time include:

  • Overarching Chapter
  • Migratory birds
  • White-tailed deer
  • Elk
  • Predator-Prey
2024    
Ongoing WDFW staff work on writing GMP chapters  
Late February FWC Wildlife Committee members work with WDFW staff to review GMP chapters and incorporate feedback from the Committee

Chapters to be reviewed at this time include:

  • Overarching Chapter
  • Migratory birds
  • White-tailed deer
  • Elk
  • Predator-Prey
March FWC Meeting (tentative) FWC Wildlife Committee briefs the full Fish and Wildlife Commission on GMP chapters

Chapters to be reviewed at this time include:

  • Overarching Chapter
  • Migratory birds
  • White-tailed deer
  • Elk
  • Predator-Prey
Late March FWC Wildlife Committee reviews GMP chapters prepared by WDFW staff

Chapters submitted to Wildlife Committee at this time will include:

  • Cougar
  • Resident game birds
  • Pronghorn
  • Black-tailed deer
  • Bighorn sheep
Early April FWC Wildlife Committee members work with WDFW staff to review GMP chapters and incorporate feedback from the Committee

Chapters submitted to Wildlife Committee at this time will include:

  • Cougar
  • Resident game birds
  • Pronghorn
  • Black-tailed deer
  • Bighorn sheep
April FWC Meeting (tentative) FWC Wildlife Committee briefs the full Fish and Wildlife Commission on GMP chapters

Chapters submitted to Wildlife Committee at this time will include:

  • Cougar
  • Resident game birds
  • Pronghorn
  • Black-tailed deer
  • Bighorn sheep
Late May FWC Wildlife Committee reviews GMP chapters prepared by WDFW staff

Chapters submitted to Wildlife Committee at this time will include:

  • Furbearers, small game, unclassified wildlife
  • Bear
  • Mountain goat
  • Moose
  • Mule deer
Early June FWC Wildlife Committee members work with WDFW staff to review GMP chapters and incorporate feedback from the Committee

Chapters submitted to Wildlife Committee at this time will include:

  • Furbearers, small game, unclassified wildlife
  • Bear
  • Mountain goat
  • Moose
  • Mule deer
June FWC Meeting (tentative) FWC Wildlife Committee briefs the full Fish and Wildlife Commission on GMP chapters

Chapters submitted to Wildlife Committee at this time will include:

  • Furbearers, small game, unclassified wildlife
  • Bear
  • Mountain goat
  • Moose
  • Mule deer
July Tribes have the opportunity to review draft GMP and engage in consultation if requested

 

After tribal review Full Draft GMP undergoes SEPA process A public comment opportunity will be held as part of the SEPA process.
TBA SEPA public comment period begins  
TBA SEPA public comment period ends  
After SEPA public comment period ends WDFW reviews and responds to public comments, finalizes draft GMP  
TBA SEPA process concludes  
TBA Fish and Wildlife Commission votes on final draft GMP If the Commission votes to adopt the draft, the GMP is finalized at this time.