The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to hear updates on wolf, cougar, and bear management at its upcoming October meeting.
The commission, a volunteer panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will meet Oct. 18-19 at the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE in Olympia.
Commissioners will also hear an update on the implementation of House Bill 1579, which directs WDFW to adopt rules liberalizing the bag limits for bass, walleye, and catfish in many waters throughout the state. This language was passed in part to implement task force recommendations meant to increase the abundance of Chinook salmon for the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population.
The commission will also hear a briefing and public comment on proposed amendments to the spring black bear rule (WAC 220-415-080).
During Saturday’s meeting, staff will brief the commission on current cougar management. The briefing will include how the department currently manages cougars, the science behind it and comparison to neighboring states.
A full agenda is available online at wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings.
Send comments here: https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/contact
After years of delay, the Trump administration is finally taking comments on a plan to reestablish a healthy grizzly population in this wild and rugged part of the state. Grizzlies once roamed this area for thousands of years, but now fewer than 10 bears remain.
The National Park Service has given the public a range of options to comment on, with different timelines and strategies for recovering the struggling grizzly population. Alternative C takes an incremental approach that would start by releasing about five bears each summer to remote sites, for five consecutive years, with the goal of reaching 200 bears in the next 60-100 years. Please tell the Park Service to choose Alternative C — the best way to help grizzly bears recover while meeting people’s needs.
Act now to send in a personalized letter telling the Park Service why grizzly recovery matters to you. With your help we can bring these magnificent bears back to this wild area.
• I support the plan to restore grizzly bears to the North Cascades. But it’s essential that agencies consider the recovery of grizzly bears in balance with the needs of humans. Alternative C is the best way to ensure both needs are met.
• Alternative C provides the most appropriate timeline for bear restoration while emphasizing factors that’ll be key to this population’s long-term recovery. For instance, this alternative recognizes the importance of interaction and breeding by strategically releasing these bears near one another in remote sites. I also support this alternative’s incremental approach — starting with small releases of five bears each summer, for the first five years.
• Please move forward quickly with the plan to bring these bears back to the North Cascades under Alternative C. Restoring grizzlies to these lands will benefit not only the bears, but the entire ecosystem and all the people who are rooting for their recovery.