WDFW COVID-19 response includes public meeting adjustments, hunter education alternatives, and regional office and hatchery closures

Date
Contact

Sam Montgomery, 360-688-0721   

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has announced a series of responses to how it will do business over the next several weeks.   

North of Falcon and other public meetings 

Public meetings previously scheduled as part of the annual salmon season-setting process known as North of Falcon are being rescheduled and consolidated as needed. This includes the cancellation of three meetings to discuss Eastern Washington fisheries – previously planned for this week in Clarkston, Richland, and Wenatchee – which WDFW plans to combine into one presentation that will be made available on WDFW’s website before the end of March. 

Anyone interested in participating in this process should regularly check https://wdfw.wa.gov/nof for the latest information about when meetings or presentations will take place, as well as ways to provide public comment. Information from previous meetings will also be available there. 

The Department previously announced that other meetings would shift to online formats. Updated information on WDFW commission meetings, advisory group meetings, and other public meetings is available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/get-involved/calendar.    

Hunter education classes  

The department will shift in-person hunter education classes to an online format through April 15, when it plans to reassess the current situation.     

“Unless someone is eligible for the once-in-a-lifetime hunter education deferral program, people are required to complete hunter education courses before purchasing their first hunting license,” said Dave Whipple, WDFW hunter education division manager. “Because of COVID-19, our ability to provide in-person classes isn’t feasible, and we still want to provide an avenue that can set hunters up for the coming year.”  

More information about the hunter education deferral program is available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/requirements/education/deferral-program.  

Facility closures  

In addition, fish hatcheries and regional offices’ public spaces are closed until further notice. Regional staff will not be available for walk-in service at regional offices but are still available by phone and the public is encouraged to call for guidance on particular issues.  

  • Eastern Region, Region 1 – 509-892-1001 
  • North Central Region, Region 2 – 509-754-4624 
  • South Central Region, Region 3 – 509-575-2740 
  • North Puget Sound Region, Region 4 – 425-775-1311 
  • Southwest Region, Region 5 – 360-696-6211 
  • Coastal Region, Region 6 – 360-249-4628 

The public may buy a license by phone at 360-902-2464 or online at: https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/#/login. However, the agency urges the public to resist any temptation to travel for recreational opportunities at this time.    

WDFW is taking these actions to support public safety in response to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest information and updates on coronavirus in Washington visit the Washington State Department of Health’s website at https://coronavirus.wa.gov/.  

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities. 

Persons with disabilities who need to receive this information in an alternative format or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact Dolores Noyes by phone (360-902-2349), TTY (360-902-2207), or email (dolores.noyes@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.