WILDLIFE – Washington Fish and Wildlife officials say they’re struggling to keep up with reports of poaching and fishing violations in Cowlitz County because the department has no game wardens stationed there.
Four game wardens are allocated to Cowlitz County, but two of the officers are on medical leave and two have left and not been replaced, says the Longview Daily News.
With more budget deficits looming for the state, the wardens in Cowlitz County may not be replaced any time soon. Fish and Wildlife is facing a shortfall between $10 million and $20 million in the next budget cycle.
In 1993, the agency had 117 enforcement officers. The number has dropped to 96 patroling officers even though th e state’s population has increased by 20 percent in that period.