The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a proposal to allow nonlethal pursuit dog training practices and heard updates on proposed mineral prospecting rules, Columbia River sturgeon and Baker Lake sockeye during its January meeting.
On Friday, the commission approved nonlethal pursuit dog training practices to help keep dogs trained for enforcement response to wildlife conflicts. The rules and procedures, which go into effect later this year, serve to fulfill a 2019 legislative directive and create the process and requirements necessary to develop the nonlethal training program.
Commission members also heard updates on proposed rulemaking for grazing permits on lands managed by the department, proposed mineral prospecting rules, pinniped conservation and management, and Columbia River sturgeon. The commission also discussed a draft statement on commercial whale watching but decided not to advance it further.
On Saturday, commission members heard an update on the status report of the Oregon vesper sparrow. The commission also approved an updated draft of the Anadromous Salmon and Steelhead Hatchery Policy for environmental review under the State Environmental Policy Act process. The commission discussed the proposed timeline and public process for policy revisions to the Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy (C-3622) Comprehensive Review, which it approved during its December 2020 meeting.
Finally, the commission heard an update on Baker Lake sockeye management. Emerging WDFW research in collaboration with the Swinomish, Upper Skagit and Sauk-Suiattle tribes is looking at methods to improve conservation and harvest management of sockeye by incorporating ocean climate impacts.
The meeting was recorded and will available to the public on WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings/2021. The public can also find information on upcoming meetings at the same webpage.
WDFW saves illegally trapped eagle
WDFW last week referred charges to the Clallam County prosecutor against an individual who, among other trapping violations, had trapped a bald eagle with illegal steel jawed leghold traps.
In November , WDFW police received a report of a domestic dog that had become trapped in a steel jawed leghold trap.
The dog’s owners had managed to free the dog but reported that a bald eagle was also caught in another trap just feet away.
WDFW Police Sgt. Kit Rosenberger responded and found a mature bald eagle struggling to free its talon from one of the traps. The sergeant immobilized the eagle, removed it from the trap and assessed for injuries.
“Thankfully, the bald eagle didn’t have any injuries or broken bones,” Rosenberger said. “This was a rare poaching incident where the poached animal was still alive and able to be released back into the wild immediately on-site. It was a once-in-a-career event watching the eagle take flight on a crisp sunny day with the surrounding hills colored by fall leaves.”
WDFW officers monitored the trapping site and seized additional illegal traps. The WDFW officer’s investigation led them to a suspect who resides in Clallam County. The suspect admitted to WDFW officers during an interview to setting several unpadded steel jawed leghold traps and wire snares, which were used to capture and kill two coyotes. WDFW police have referred 16 criminal charges against the individual to the Clallam County prosecutor’s office.
Friends of Scotchman Peaks hiring
The Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness is looking for a northwest Montana outreach coordinator who will provide leadership and community building in efforts in southern Lincoln and western Sanders counties of Montana.
The group is looking for an individual with a connection to the land and a passion for conservation. Applications are due by Monday.
Full job description can be found at bit.ly/2NV4hY6.
FSPW upcoming hikes:
- Tuesday: Ross Creek Cedars Snowshoe
- Feb. 20: Historic Trail No. 999 Snowshoe
- Feb 27: Reach for the Moon and Star(s) Peak Hike
- Feb. 27: Ross Creek Cedars Snowshoe
IDFG fish managers host open house
Idaho Fish and Game will be setting new seasons for upcoming spring chinook fisheries in March and gathering public input on the upcoming season proposals. Anglers will be able to see the proposals starting Feb. 11.
The easiest way for the public to view and comment on the proposed seasons is online at idfg.idaho.gov/chinook. Proposals will be posted on Feb. 11, and the comment period will be open Feb. 11-21. The public comment process will include a virtual open house hosted by Fish and Game on Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m. PST.
Fisheries staff will give an overview of forecasts and season proposals for each of the state’s chinook salmon fisheries and discuss a number of important topics in salmon management. There will be a question-and-answer session for each fishery, as well as an “open” salmon fishery question and answer session at the end of the meeting.
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