The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is traveling the state this fall seeking public comments to help determine what values and priorities will drive the department over the next several years.
These meetings will help identify changes in WDFW’s operations and services and help shape policy, budget and fee proposals. The department’s press release says it wants to strengthen relationships with “anglers, hungers, outdoor recreation groups and others interested in fish and wildlife in Washington.”
Let’s let them know what we think — in person and in writing.
They’re taking written comments through October on the department’s website and via email (WildFuture@dfw.wa.gov) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WashingtonFishWildlife). Public meeting information is below.
There are so many issues, but here’s a start:
- Reverse the snap decision this past spring to increase cougar-hunting quotas by 50 percent to 100 percent despite huge declines in cougar complaints — and the fact that heavy hunting actually increases cougar-human conflicts.
- More than 1,200 Canada geese and goslings were shot and gassed by Wildlife Services in King County alone. There are better ways, and WDFW should pursue them.
- Expedite the building and placement of fishing line recovery bins as part of a state project WDFW is overseeing. They need to be in place as soon as possible, and the program needs to be expanded.
- Continue to protect the wolves, which are finally making a comeback but still face threats from some ranchers. (Again, there are better ways.)
- Continue working to protect sage grouse and other animals who live in shrub-steppe habitat. (And thank you for fantastic efforts to date.)
- Thank you for extending protections for giant Octopus following an atrocious incident of recreational octopus slaughter in Elliott Bay.
- Work toward greater enforcement of existing laws, including against illegal traps for coyotes.
Please take a few minutes to let WDFW know what’s important to you when it comes to Washington wildlife, and if you can, attend one of these public meetings, all scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.:
Sept. 30: Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley
Oct. 6: WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd, Mill Creek
Oct. 8: Saint Martin’s University, Norman Worthington Conference Center, 5300 Pacific Ave SE, Lacey
Oct. 14: Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver
Oct. 20: Port of Chelan County Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Center Way, Wenatchee
Each meeting will include a brief presentation by a WDWF regional director, then participants will break into small groups to chat with department representatives. The department will summarize the comments and suggestions later this year.
Here’s a photo of WDFW Director Jim Unsworth, who started in January. He’s the one who’s making the effort to ask for feedback, which is commendable. Hi, Jim!