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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Field reports: Quilomene bighorn sheep test negative for lethal bacteria

Staff and wire reports

Last week’s tests showed no signs of the bacteria that causes pneumonia among members of the Quilomene bighorn sheep herd, according to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists.

The department lethally removed and tested 12 bighorns from a remote area of the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, where a domestic ewe infected with a pathogen known to cause pneumonia in bighorns was seen. The domestic ewe was lethally removed a week prior.

Wildlife biologists sent lungs and nasal swabs from nine bighorn rams and three ewes to the Washington State University veterinary diagnostic laboratory to test for the presence of the bacteria.

Tests from all 12 bighorns were negative.

“This is hopeful news for the Quilomene bighorn herd following their interaction with a domestic ewe this month,” WDFW Region 3 Director Mike Livingston said.

“We decided to lethally remove and test animals that were at the highest risk of being infected based on their proximity to the ewe.

“While these preliminary tests indicate good news, we are going to continue to take additional steps to monitor the herd.”

Beginning next week, WDFW will begin to conduct systematic searches of the area by helicopter to monitor the herd and may also capture and test animals opportunistically.

“Because of the severity of this disease to bighorn populations, we’re on high alert for any abnormal behavior in the Quilomene,” Livingston said. “And, if we’re able to capture and test a few animals, that may bolster additional confidence in these negative results.”

WDFW encourages anyone who observes bighorn sheep within the vicinity of the park that are coughing or displaying other abnormal behaviors to contact the department immediately.

Mt. Spokane Summit Road closed for winter

Mt. Spokane closed its Summit Road for the winter season Thursday due to inclement weather.

For questions, call the Mount Spokane Ranger Station at (509) 238-4258.

Lake Roosevelt encourages clean boats

Autumn means waterfowl season is open on Lake Roosevelt and throughout Eastern Washington.

Detailed information about open seasons, bag limits and other hunting regulations can be found on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website at wdfw.wa.gov.

In an ongoing effort to preserve Lake Roosevelt’s wildlife character, WDFW is urging all sportsmen to do their part in keeping aquatic invasive species out of Lake Roosevelt and all of Washington’s waters.

To that end, officials ask:

  • Clean: Wash anything that’s been in the water, including boats, motors, waders, decoys and other gear or equipment. Remove any visible plants or mud.
  • Drain: Pull boat plug and drain all water from anything that might collect water, including live wells, bait containers, decoys, motors and other containers.
  • Dry: If going from one body of water to another, let everything that’s been in the water dry for at least five days unless it’s high-pressure washed at 140 degrees.

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area now requires all boaters to self-certify that they have cleaned, drained and dried their watercraft before launching.

Self-certification forms are located at all boat ramp kiosks. The cost to self-certify is free, but the expense of letting an aquatic hitchhiker into the lake can be incalculable.

Lake Roosevelt lifts fire ban

The recent autumn rains enabled Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area to lift its fire ban Friday.

The public is reminded that fires are only allowed in established campsite or picnic areas where National Park Service-provided receptacles are located and on the exposed lakebed, below the high-water mark of 1,290 feet elevation.

Lakebed fire guidelines are found in the superintendent’s compendium.

See the park’s compendium for normal fire restrictions on Page 12 at nps.gov/laro/learn/management/upload/2020-Compendium-FINAL-5-12-2020-w-maps-508.pdf.

Idaho sets plans to translocate elk from southern region

Idaho Fish and Game announced Wednesday it will soon conduct a trapping and translocation project on private property to remove elk responsible for ongoing depredation issues in the Little Camas region of southern Idaho.

Elk in this area have a long history of expensive damage to crops on private property at night and retreating to adjoining private property during the day.

Because all activity will be on private ground, there will not be any disruption to ongoing hunting seasons.

Up to 70 cows and calves will be trapped and transported to central Idaho.

Any bulls captured in the trapping effort will be anesthetized, ear-tagged and released on site.

For more information about elk management and big game depredation, contact the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359.

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