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

Field Reports: Washington sets gray wolf conflict protocols, requires deterrents

Gray wolves are reclaiming territory in Washington, especially in the northeast corner of the state. (Washington Fish & Wildlife Department / Courtesy)
From staff and wire reports

ENDANGERED – Washington has released a revised “Protocol for Wolf-Livestock Interactions” that requires livestock producers to try at least two proactive deterrence measures appropriate to their operation before the state would consider using lethal control in cases of wolf attacks on cattle, sheep and other stock.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and its Wolf Advisory Group worked on the guidelines for reducing conflicts between wolves and livestock after a lot of finger pointing occurred last year on who was responsible for wolf attacks leading to an order to try to eliminate a wolf pack in Ferry County.

“The protocol prescribes proactive measures livestock producers can take to reduce the probability of wolf-livestock conflicts, and establishes a framework for WDFW’s response when conflicts between wolves and livestock do occur,” the agency said in a release posted late Thursday.

“It also serves to increase the transparency and accountability of the Department’s activities and management actions related to wolves.”

“This updated protocol is the product of months of coordination between biologists, conservationists, livestock producers, hunters, and other wildlife stakeholders on and off the Wolf Advisory Group and WDFW,” said Paula Swedeen, a WAG representative and head of carnivore policy for Conservation Northwest. “We strongly believe that these policies reflect a balanced approach to wolf conservation…while also meeting the needs of local communities and small businesses operating in wolf country.”

The number of producers who have signed up for Damage Prevention Cooperative Agreements or who are being covered by department-contracted range riders has increased from 20 in 2013 to 90 in 2017, Swedeen said.

South Hill bluff road restoration ending

PUBLIC LANDS – A four-week effort of regrading, hydroseeding and replanting trees, shrubs and grasses to restore the illegal road cut into the South Hill bluff is schedule to conclude this week.

More than 4,300 feet of the road cut has been regraded and hydroseeded, with 3,000 feet of that on the City’s property and the rest on a private inholding. Stumps and fallen trees are being used in the restoration to help direct hikers, runners, and cyclists, as well as to prevent erosion and create habitat.

The road was bulldozed in April without proper permits to aid in constructing a par-3 golf course and help Avista replace powerline poles.

Scotchman Peaks proposal topic of Idaho meeting

PUBLIC LANDS – The staff of U.S. Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) will hold an open house meeting to present information about the Idaho portion of the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness on Tuesday at Hope Elementary School Gymnasium, 255 Hope School Rd. in Hope.

Information about a potential wilderness will be on display from 4-7 p.m. and representatives from Risch’s office and officials from the U.S. Forest Service will be available to answer questions. Public comments will be collected.

Risch had introduced a bill to designate the wilderness in the final days of the last Congress.

No license required on free fishing days

FISHING – States are offering a chance to go fishing without the expense of purchasing a fishing license during Free Fishing Days this month

Idaho Free Fishing Day is on Saturday.

Washington is offering two free days – on Saturday and Sunday.

Montana will hold two free fishing days on Father’s Day weekend, June 17-18.

Although fishing license requirements are suspended for this special day, all other state rules remain in effect. These include regulations such as bag and length limits or special fishing regulations.

All of the states’ regulations brochures are available online or free at local sporting goods stores and other retailers.

Free fishing day provides a no-cost opportunity for novices to give fishing a try. Youths in Idaho and Washington do not need a general fishing license any time of the year.