600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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November 16, 2015
Contact: Commission Office, (360) 902-2267

Commission approves land transactions,
revisions to wildlife interaction rules

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved revisions to rules addressing various sources of conflict between people and wildlife, such as wildlife damaging crops or harming livestock.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), approved the changes during its meeting Nov. 13-14 in Olympia.

The revised rules relate to interactions between humans and wildlife such as deer, elk, cougars or bears. They also address reporting and permit requirements for people dealing with a wildlife conflict.

In other business, the commission approved two land transactions, including the purchase of 235 acres in Cowlitz County to protect riparian areas along Merrill Lake and the Kalama River for steelhead and bull trout habitat.

The commission also approved the purchase of 2,061 acres of riparian and high meadow lands in Asotin County. WDFW's plan to acquire this land nearly completes a multi-phased plan to expand the department's Chief Joseph Wildlife Area and preserve critical habitat for threatened salmon, steelhead and trout, as well as deer, bighorn sheep and elk. The department has secured state and federal funds to purchase the $3.7 million property, currently owned by 4-O Land & Livestock, LLC.

In addition, the commission received public comments on proposed changes in sportfishing rules for freshwater areas of Puget Sound and the Washington coast. The proposals cover fishing seasons, daily limits and other rules.

To review the proposed sportfishing rules, visit WDFW's webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/. The commission is schedule to take action on these proposals at its December meeting.

The commission also received briefings on:

  • WDFW wildlife program’s citizen science initiative.
  • Forest restoration projects in Okanogan and Garfield counties.
  • Grays Harbor and Puget Sound coho salmon runs and in-season management actions.