WDFW seeks public comment on proposed land acquisitions


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News release

Contact: lands@dfw.wa.gov 
Media contact: Eryn Couch, 360-890-6604

Update: The deadline to share your feedback has been extended through Dec. 7. Please email comments to lands@dfw.wa.gov

OLYMPIA –The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is inviting public comment on 20 proposed public land acquisitions that would help promote fish and wildlife conservation and public access to Washington’s outdoors.

The proposals encompass about 13,558 acres with acquisitions in Pend Oreille, Grant, Okanogan, Douglas, Kittitas, Yakima, Chelan, Skagit, Whatcom, Grays Harbor, and Jefferson counties. 

The proposals are currently under review through the Department’s annual Lands 20/20: A Vision for the Future process, which launched in 2005. The rigorous review process considers species and habitat management plans, regional conservation initiatives, community perspectives, and outdoor recreation potential. 

“Public input is extremely valuable to us as we work to implement our long-term strategies for WDFW-managed public lands,” said Cynthia Wilkerson, WDFW lands division manager. “As always, these proposed acquisitions are being considered with specific, targeted purposes in mind. Many of them are adjacent to existing public lands and are key to our ability to manage and protect conservation, habitat restoration, and recreation.  All of these projects will improve conservation of the outdoors across Washington.” 

Illustrative projects include: 
Rustler’s Gulch, Pend Oreille County: WDFW has proposed the acquisition of a 40-acre inholding within the WDFW-managed Sherman Creek Wildlife Area, Rustler’s Gulch Unit. This property would support habitat for a suite of wildlife species and provide recreational opportunities for hunting, horseback riding, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

West Wiser, Whatcom County: This proposed acquisition would add 117 acres to the Whatcom Wildlife Area. The property would enhance public access and freshwater wetland habitat for waterfowl and other species.
Yakima River Floodplain and Water Access, Kittitas County: This 89-acre property is near the Yakima River as well as the WDFW-managed Yakima River Unit of the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area. WDFW has proposed acquisition of this property to enhance habitat restoration and outdoor recreation opportunities, including boat access, fishing, and wildlife viewing. 

More information about the proposed land acquisitions is available on WDFW’s land acquisitions webpage. WDFW is accepting comments on the proposed acquisitions via email to lands@dfw.wa.gov through Nov. 28. The public may also mail comments to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, ATTN: Wildlife Program, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504.

WDFW staff will brief the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission on the proposed land acquisitions during the Commission’s Dec. 14-16 virtual meeting. More information is available on the Commission webpage.

Following public review and final approval by the WDFW Director, the Department will begin pursuing grant funding to move forward with the proposed acquisitions. Potential grant sources include the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and federal grants through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund. Securing grant funding can take several years.

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.

WDFW manages more than a million acres of land and hundreds of water access areas throughout the state. By actively managing lands, restoring habitats, and preserving wild places, the Department serves as stewards for Washington’s natural places, protecting the state’s land and water for its human and wildlife populations.

Request this information in an alternative format or language at wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation, 833-855-1012, TTY (711), or CivilRightsTeam@dfw.wa.gov.