Field reports: Lawmakers back wolf protections

SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014

WILDLIFE – Federal lawmakers pressed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Wednesday to drop the administration’s plan to end federal protections for gray wolves across most of the lower 48 states.

Seventy-four House members signed a letter that cited a peer-review panel’s recent conclusion the government relied on unsettled science to make its case that the wolves have sufficiently recovered.

Gray wolves were added to the endangered-species list in 1975 after being widely exterminated in the last century. Wolves quickly reproduced and spread across Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. Protections have been lifted for rebounding populations of the predators in the northern Rockies and Great Lakes regions, where wolf hunting is allowed to help keep their numbers in balance with prey.

Public comment on Interior’s proposal will be taken through March 27.

Conservation events benefit ducks, deer

HUNTING – Local chapters of two national wildlife conservation groups have set their annual fundraisers in Spokane:

Mule Deer Foundation, April 5, Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St., includes dinner, auction, games.

Sign-up: muledeer.org/node/2178. Info: 994-5031.

Ducks Unlimited, April 10, Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St., includes dinner, auction, shotgun raffle.

Sign-up: ducks.org.

Info: (509) 435-6450.

Idaho sets steelhead, chinook regulations

FISHING – The Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Thursday set spring chinook seasons and rescinded the 28-inch length restriction for steelhead fishing on the Clearwater River.

The length restriction was imposed last fall during a below-normal run of the large Clearwater-bound steelhead to assure there would be enough adults to produce eggs needed at Dworshak National Fish Hatchery.

Mangers say they have collected enough fish and eggs for the next crop of steelhead.

The commission also set the 2014 spring chinook fishing regulations. The season will start April 26 with four-fish limits that allow one or two adult fish depending on the stretch of river.

Reward up to $22,500 for wolf poacher

WILDLIFE – Three animal-related groups have pooled $22,500 in rewards for tips leading to a conviction in the case of protected gray wolf shot and killed in Stevens County in early February.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists found the wolf near Cedar Lake. It had previously been captured and fitted with a GPS collar for research monitoring.

Conservation Northwest, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Humane Society of the United States, have each pledged $7,500 to create the reward.

WDFW poaching hotline: (877) 933-9847.

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