Field Reports: Elk Foundation grants fund habitat projects

WILDLIFE – Nine counties in Washington have been granted nearly $180,000 for habitat projects and research from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. 

The 2014 grants will affect nearly 1,600 acres in Asotin, Cowlitz, Jefferson, King, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Skamania and Yakima counties.

 The money will boost local, state and federal programs for prescribed burns, forest thinning, meadow restoration, noxious weed treatments and other projects, said David Allen, RMEF president.

“We also committed considerable resources toward three different elk studies including one focused on determining the cause of hoof rot,” he said.

RMEF volunteers in Washington raised the money through banquets and activities.

 Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 521 different conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Washington.

Grand Coulee police cite angler near dam

FISHING – A Grand Coulee man has been cited by city police for fishing in an area immediately downstream from Grand Coulee Dam that’s closed to public access.

Water below the dam was opened to fishing last month for the first time since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but a stretch of shore below the dam, marked by signs, remains closed for dam security.

Tyler Mellick was warned for trespassing in the closed area, but returned the next day to make a case for public access and was cited, said Capt. Chris Anderson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife police supervisor.

“Working with the Colville Tribe, we opened this stretch of water for fishing, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t restrictions to the land and around structures,” he said.

“Mr. Mellick is a Bureau of Reclamation employee who, for some reason, is making this his cause. He’s gone to the sheriff, to WDFW, the media and last I heard he’s going to the U.S. Attorney General’s office. He’s on a mission.”

Anderson said the restricted area is clearly posted.

• See a map of the area, photos on Rich Landers’ blog, spokesman.com/outdoors.

Stevens Pass reports record season

WINTER SPORTS – More than 406,000 guests visited the Stevens Pass ski area last winter, making 2013-14 its largest season since visits have been electronically tracked.  While much of the West Coast saw below average snowfall, Stevens Pass surpassed its 450-inch average with a seasonal total of 463 inches.

The Nov. 16, 2013, opening was the resort’s third earliest.  During the last three winters, the Washington resort operated more than 150 days, besting its 134-day average set during the previous 28 years. 

Memorable storms this season included an 11-day snow cycle that dropped 125 inches Feb. 10-21. That brought the ski area to a total of 160 inches for the month of February

Lake Roosevelt drawn down for runoff

BOATING – Lake Roosevelt’s water elevation will be down to 1,231 feet by today to make room for heavy runoff expected in May, the Bureau of Reclamation reports.

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