Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meets in Olympia April 18-20


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News release

Contact: Commission office, 360-902-2267

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet in Olympia April 18-20 for committee meetings and to discuss cougar rule making, potentially adopt a policy regarding best available science, and hear the annual wolf report describing the 2023 population estimate and summarizing wolf-livestock interactions. The meeting will be held at the Natural Resources Building in Olympia and will also be live streamed online

The meeting begins Thurs., April 18 with committee meetings. The Fish Committee will discuss a non-native game fish policy, give updates on North of Falcon salmon-season setting process, and discuss Fish Program’s budget. The Habitat Committee is scheduled to hear an update on the Springwood Ranch in Kittitas County. The Big Tent Committee will discuss the draft Conservation Policy, managing public comments, and the final draft of the best available science policy.

Friday’s agenda begins with an open public input opportunity followed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) director’s report. After a briefing from WDFW staff and public comment, the Commission will decide on a proposed land acquisition for Springwood Ranch in Kittitas County as part of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan. A large portion of the proposed acquisition could be managed as an off-channel reservoir to capture and hold water early in the year and release it in spring to coincide with juvenile salmon and steelhead migration to improve their survival.

The Commission will hear a briefing and decide on a proposed timber sale as part of a forest restoration project at the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area in Thurston County. In the afternoon, the Commission will hear a briefing on managing public comments and make a decision on proposed rule making changes related to hydraulic project approval for dock flotation. 

The Commission will also hear a public petition on the use of decoys and calls for hunting waterfowl, turkey, snow geese, Ross’s geese, and deer. The Commission will conclude Friday with a discussion about which elements to include in a draft rule and submit for public comment on cougar hunting seasons.

The Commission reconvenes Sat., April 20 with another open public input opportunity. Then, the Commission will decide on the Best Available Science Policy. The Commission will receive a briefing on the annual gray wolf report which relays the latest population estimate and summarizes wolf-livestock interactions in 2023. The Commission will have a meeting debrief and discuss future meeting planning before moving to executive session at the end of the day’s agenda. 

Those interested in providing verbal public comment during the meeting, either in-person in Olympia or remotely via webinar or phone, need to register in advance. All members of the public are invited to share their perspectives and participate in WDFW public feedback opportunities regardless of race, color, sex, age, national origin, language proficiency, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, status as a veteran, or basis of disability. 

The full meeting agenda, including information about submitting public comment and accessing the hybrid meeting online or by phone, is available on the WDFW website. The meeting will be recorded and published on the Commission webpage so the public can watch afterward at their convenience. 

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. 

Request this information in an alternative format or language at wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation, 833-885-1012, TTY (711), or CivilRightsTeam@dfw.wa.gov.