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March 31, 2017
Contact: Lauri Vigue, (360) 902-2549;
Greg Mackey, (509) 653-2390

WDFW seeks comments on Oak Creek
Wildlife Area management plan

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public comments on a draft management plan for the Oak Creek Wildlife Area in southcentral Washington.

WDFW also will host a public meeting next month to discuss the plan. The meeting is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m., April 11, at the West Valley Fire and Rescue, 10000 Zier Rd., Yakima.

The wildlife area is located in Yakima and Kittitas counties and covers a total of roughly 67,100 acres. Oak Creek features diverse forests, high quality shrub-steppe and riparian areas that support steelhead and other fish. Each year, thousands of visitors take part in a variety of recreational activities – including hunting, fishing, hiking and wildlife watching – on the wildlife area.

Over the past year, WDFW staff has worked with a citizen-based advisory group to develop a draft management plan that addresses the status of wildlife species and their habitat, forest management, restoration efforts and public recreation on the wildlife area.

"Wildlife areas are public lands, so it is critical for us to have public input to inform management," said Cynthia Wilkerson, WDFW lands division manager.

The plan will be available for review in early April on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/management_plans/oak_creek/.

The public can submit comments online through May 11 at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/sepa/sepa_comment_docs.html. Comments can also be submitted at the April 11 meeting.

The public comment period will be conducted under the State Environmental Policy Act, which is designed to ensure that Washington citizens can participate in governmental decisions that could affect the environment.

The department is revising management plans for the state's 33 wildlife areas to reflect current conditions and identify new priorities. WDFW is currently updating a plan for Snoqualmie Wildlife Area in King and Snohomish counties.