Commission approves land transactions, species listings; denies spring black bear petition at January meeting


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News release

Commission office, 360-902-2267

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission made decisions on lands transactions, species status for Columbian white-tailed deer and Cascade red fox, and a spring black bear petition, and discussed several other topics during its Jan. 26-28 virtual meeting.

The Commission began with meetings of its Wildlife, Big Tent, and Fish committees to discuss several items, including game management plans, cougar management, the draft Conservation Policy, eulachon management, and Tribal-State Co-manager Hatchery Policy.

On Friday, the full Commission approved a motion to rescind outdated Commission policies. The Commission approved a motion to delegate rule making authority to the Director for reporting requirements for coastal salmon troll. The Commission delegated the Director to work with his counterpart in Oregon to negotiate fishing on Columbia River waters in 2023. The Commission also approved a motion to apply the 2022 interim guidance for fisheries planning to the 2023 negotiations during the upcoming North of Falcon season salmon process.

The Commission approved two land transactions to acquire an approximately 109-acre parcel near the South Puget Sound Wildlife Area in Mason County and an approximately 339-acre parcel near the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area in Okanogan County. 

The Commission voted to deny a petition to begin rule making for spring black bear management hunts for 2023 and beyond.

The Commission heard briefings and public comment on development of a co-manager hatchery policy, a new eulachon management plan, proposed changes to commercial eulachon fishing regulations, and an update to the fishing guide reporting rule to support compliance and enforcement.

In addition, the Commission decided to reclassify the Columbian white-tailed deer as a threatened species and listed the Cascade red fox as endangered to close out Friday’s meeting.

On Saturday, the Commission approved the public review and schedule, including State Environmental Policy Act review, for the draft co-manager hatchery policy. The Commission also heard a briefing about the statewide status and trends of deer and elk. During future meeting planning, the Commission discussed upcoming meeting agenda topics and scheduled a special Wildlife Committee meeting on Feb. 17.

The meeting was recorded so members of the public who missed it can watch at their convenience. The recording, as well as information about past and future Commission meetings and ways to participate, can be found at WDFW’s website.

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

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