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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Field reports: Habitat gets boost from Elk Foundation

WILDLIFE – Prescribed burns, forest thinning and spraying for noxious weeds are among treatments involved with 20 habitat projects to boost elk in Washington.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation says its working with state and federal agencies and contributing $191,726 for projects in Asotin, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Pend Oreille, Skamania and Yakima counties.

Controlling weeds on public land in the Blue Mountains has increased forage and helped to reduce elk damage to private crop lands, said Scott Rasley, state Fish and Wildlife private lands coordinator.

“Invasive weeds and closing forest canopies continue to overtake many areas that once provided elk with plentiful forage on the forest floor,” said Blake Henning, RMEF spokesman. “The RMEF grants specifically target critical areas of elk summer and winter range for improvement.”

This year’s projects include:

• Treating 2,620 acres for noxious weeds in Asotin, Columbia and Garfield counties; burning 1,200 acres of summer range in the Umatilla National Forest to improve critical summer range.

• Seeding and goat grazing 1,015 acres in Columbia County to curb weeds and restore winter range in Blue Mountains foothills.

• Burning sites totaling 940 acres in Ferry County and 217 acres in Pend Oreille County to enhance forage.

Snake River dredging comments due Tuesday

RIVERS – Comments on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to dump dredging material from shipping lanes near the Snake-Clearwater rivers confluence are due Tuesday.

The document also outlines the agency’s strategy of dealing with sediment accumulating behind the four lower Snake River dams.

Priest Lake survey netting lake trout

FISHING – A survey that started March 4 has captured, tagged and released 2,100 lake trout to learn more about the fishery at Priest Lake.

About 630 mackinaw have been killed in the netting and studied for age and diet analysis, said Jim Fredericks, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager.

Preliminary surveys indicate the lake holds up to 30,000 lake trout, he said.

Netting will continue through May 17. Results will help guide fisheries management decisions several years from now, he said.

Forest Service sued over ATV accident

PUBLIC LANDS – An Idaho woman is suing the federal government for injuries sustained in a 2011 all-terrain vehicle accident in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

Karleen Linford, of Inkom, filed Thursday seeking almost $800,000 in damages for injuries related to her accident on a fence crossing ramp on the Inman Canyon Trail.

She fell 4 feet as the ATV rolled off the hillside and landed on top of her.

She alleges the U.S. Forest Service was negligent in its construction and care of the fence crossing.

She’s also asking for about $1,300 for damage to her ATV.