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Field reports: State wolf panel coming to Spokane

WILDLIFE – Washington wildlife managers are putting together a road show of experts to help the public understand options for dealing with the expanding number of gray wolves spreading into the state.

The recovery and management of gray wolves in Washington and other western states will be the topic public meetings this month hosted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The only Eastern Washington meeting is set for 6 p.m. on Jan. 16 at the Center Place Regional Event Center, 2426 N. Discovery Pl. in Spokane Valley.

A panel of experts will discuss efforts to recover Washington’s gray wolf population, the latest information from population surveys in Washington and gray wolf management strategies used in other states.

“Wolves are a high-profile species that attract considerable public interest from people who often have opposing views,” said Dave Ware, WDFW game manager. “This is a great opportunity for people interested in gray wolves to hear from experts about the recovery of the species throughout the West.”

Speakers will include Mike Jimenez, Rocky Mountain wolf coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Wyoming; Carter Niemeyer, retired wolf specialist with the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services; and Donny Martorello, WDFW carnivore section manager.

The meeting will include an opportunity for the public to submit questions to the presenters about wolf recovery and management.

Colville Hatchery sale to county approved

FISHING – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission Friday approved the sale of the state’s Colville Fish Hatchery to Stevens County, which plans to use it as an educational and vocational learning center.

The commission approved a proposal to sell the aging trout hatchery and 19.4 acres for its appraised value of $150,000.

Dan Budd, Fish and Wildlife Department real estate manager, said the state acquired the trout hatchery from Stevens County in 1933 and operated it for nearly 80 years. The agency closed the facility in June and moved most of the fish production to the Spokane Hatchery to cut costs, he said.

Sullivan Bridge access focus of meeting

RIVERS – Proposals for providing public access to the Spokane River under the new Sullivan Road Bridge project will be presented Wednesday, 4 p.m.-6 p.m., in the Council Chambers at Spokane Valley City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague Avenue, Suite 101.

The updated Public Access Plan provisions of Spokane Valley’s Shoreline Master Program also include details regarding Shelley Lake.

Public access to the river at Sullivan Road is critical to paddlers, including kayakers, canoeists and rafters as well as anglers.

Info: (509) 720-5335.

Winter festivals set at region’s ski areas

Seeley Lake Winterfest, Jan 18-27: biathlon, snowmobiling, nature activities, Nordic races and skating;

Methow Valley Nordic Festival, Jan. 25-26: free skiing and lessons, kids activities, snowshoe tours and Methow Valley Pursuit cross-country ski race;