Category: Game Management and Conservation
Published: December 12, 2014
This Game Management Plan (GMP) will guide the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's management of hunted wildlife for the next six years. The focus is on the scientific management of game populations, harvest management, and other significant factors affecting game populations.
As mandated by the Washington State Legislature (RCW 77.04.012), "the Department shall preserve, protect, perpetuate, and manage the wildlife"; "the Department shall conserve the wildlife in a manner that does not impair the resource"; and "The commission shall attempt to maximize the public recreational hunting opportunities of all citizens, including juvenile, disabled, and senior citizens." It is this mandate that sets the overall policy and direction for managing hunted wildlife. Hunters and hunting will continue to play a significant role in the conservation and management of Washington's wildlife.
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was completed on November 27, 2002, after public review of draft and supplemental EIS documents. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission formally adopted the Game Management Plan on December 7, 2002. This comprehensive process facilitated public discussion and understanding, while cooperatively developing the priority strategies.
The purpose of this Supplemental EIS is to update the plan for 2015-21. The Environmental Impacts Chapter (Chapter 2) from the original EIS is not included in this document, as no changes were made to that section. Several of the original strategies and objectives have been accomplished, additional studies and research have been conducted, and some priorities have changed. Those are the changes that have been addressed in this SEIS. Public outreach earlier this year helped shape the priority issues, objectives, and strategies identified in the SEIS.
The overall goals are to protect, sustain, and manage hunted wildlife, provide stable, regulated recreational hunting opportunity to all citizens, protect and enhance wildlife habitat, and minimize adverse impacts to residents, other wildlife, and the environment.
With all of these issues, it is understood that the implementation of strategies are conditioned first on meeting game population objectives. Science is the core of wildlife management, supporting WDFW's legislative mandate to preserve, protect, and perpetuate wildlife populations while maximizing recreation.
Science and the professional judgment of biologists is the foundation for all objectives and strategies identified in this plan. At times, the science may not be as strong as managers would like. In those instances, management actions will be more conservative to minimize the potential for significant negative impacts to hunted wildlife species. Chapter 2 focuses on the science and management of hunted species and lays out how those populations will be monitored to ensure perpetuation of these species over the long term.