Commission approves water access area acquisition and protective statuses for Greater sage-grouse, gray whales, and humpback whales, and hears annual update on status of wolves in Washington

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Commission office, 360-902-2267

OLYMPIA – On Friday, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a land acquisition to accept a seven-acre land donation from the Wild Steelhead Coalition in Asotin County. The Ebsen Water Access Area along the Grande Ronde River is next to the Chief Joseph Wildlife Area and includes a popular hand boat launch, restrooms, and five primitive camping sites. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has operated and maintained the area for many years under property owner agreements.

The Commission also reclassified the state status listing for Greater sage-grouse from threatened to endangered. WDFW biologists remained concerned when last year’s wildfires burned over significant leks (mating grounds), and nesting and wintering habitat of the already dwindling population.

The Commission heard an annual briefing on the Department’s wolf management work outlining a 12th consecutive year of population growth as wolves continue their journey toward recovery in Washington. As of December 2020, a minimum estimate of 178 wolves and 29 packs were documented across the state.

The Commission also maintained the state’s sensitive status of gray whales and endangered status for humpback whales. Recreational boaters should follow regulations to support the safety of Southern Resident killer whales and other marine mammals. For more information visit bewhalewise.org.

To review the agenda and presentation materials from the Commission meeting, visit wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is a panel appointed by the governor that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). WDFW works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish, wildlife, and recreational and commercial opportunities. 

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email (Title6@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.