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Washington's Wild Future: A Partnership for Fish and Wildlife | Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife

What's next for the Wild Future initiative?

During the summer of 2016, WDFW will continue to solicit input from our advisory committees and the public before submitting proposals to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission in August and to Gov. Jay Inslee's budget office in September. Activities will include:

Public workshops in August: Six workshops are planned across the state to give the public the opportunity to review and comment on the draft proposals described elsewhere on this website.

Workshops will take place at the following dates, times and locations:

  • Aug. 2 – Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley, 6-8 p.m.
  • Aug. 3 – Selah Civic Center, 216 S 1st St, Selah, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 8 – Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way, Vancouver, 6-8 p.m.
  • Aug. 9 – Chelan County Public Utility District Auditorium, 327 N. Wenatchee Ave, Wenatchee, 6-8 p.m.
  • Aug. 10 – WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd, Mill Creek, 6-8 p.m.
  • Aug. 11 – Willapa Harbor Community Center, 916 W. First St., South Bend, 6-8 p.m.

The workshops will include a brief presentation from a WDFW regional director, describing proposals to maintain and improve fish, habitat, and wildlife management in Washington. Participants will be invited to talk in greater detail with representatives of the department's Fish, Wildlife, Enforcement, Licensing, and Habitat programs.

WDFW advisory committee meetings: The Wild Future proposals will be discussed with members of several WDFW advisory committees. Meeting information for many WDFW advisory committees is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/.

Meeting budget and legislative deadlines: The Wild Future proposals for 2017-19 will be reviewed by the State Fish and Wildlife Commission at its Aug. 5-6 meeting in Olympia. Following the commission's approval, expected in late August, WDFW will submit the package to the Office of Financial Management. Proposals are due to OFM by Sept. 9.

Continuation of initiatives already under way: WDFW has already begun several projects that respond to public comments received through the Wild Future initiative. These include fishing rule simplification, redevelopment of the WDFW website, conservation of non-hunted wildlife and critical habitats, and various activities to promote recreational activities in addition to hunting and fishing.

Summaries and notes from regional listening forums

Vancouver


October 14, 2015
Water Resources Education Center

No subject received more attention at the Vancouver forum than fishing and fish management. More than 100 people attended the forum, and WDFW received nearly 100 specific comments on issues ranging from barbless-hook requirements to problems with hatchery production on the Kalama and North Fork Lewis rivers.

Several anglers urged WDFW to expedite seine-fishery tests and pursue a commercial license buyout program as steps toward restricting commercial gillnetting to off-channel areas of the Columbia River by 2017. Others asked the department to provide more advance notice of emergency fishing-rule changes, sought a boost in coho salmon production and called for expanding kids fishing events.

Hunters, meanwhile, expressed concerns about access restrictions on industrial timberlands in the region and herbicide spraying by private timber companies. Several urged WDFW work with those companies to restore access to those lands. Other issues raised by hunters included poaching, predatory wildlife, and the desire to use dogs during the fall turkey season. The agency’s western Washington pheasant release program drew praise.

Several participants urged WDFW to make greater use of volunteers and to expand partnerships with conservation groups, RFEGs, port districts, and other groups who support WDFW’s mission. Licensing options proposed at the forum included reducing fees for seniors and issuing free licenses to wounded veterans.

Notes from the meeting

Selah


September 10, 2015
Selah Civic Center

About 70 central Washington residents provided their views and concerns about the management of WDFW wildlife areas, including vehicle access, fire control, signage, and the need for active advisory committees. Several people suggested the department should enlist volunteers to help improve wildlife habitat and tackle other projects on state lands. Others saw a need for additional WDFW enforcement officers to patrol lands inside and outside of the wildlife areas.

WDFW’s fishing and hunting regulations drew criticism from several participants. Some called for simplifying the rules pamphlets, and others proposed simplifying the regulations themselves. Others requested better distribution of the rules, better maps, and the development of a mobile app to find fishing opportunities and update catch record cards.

Representatives of two conservation groups credited WDFW for employing “hoot owl” rules to help protect fish during the drought. They also expressed support for expanding wild gene banks to help recover wild steelhead populations.

Hunters proposed a variety of changes, ranging from increasing opportunities for big game, master hunters and disabled hunters to legalizing hound hunting for cougars.

Notes from the meeting

Spokane Valley


September 30, 2015
Center Place

Attendees expressed several concerns, including a desire for better communication with WDFW and greater public involvement in land-use issues. Many of the 60-70 participants urged the department to broaden support for common goals by increasing collaboration with volunteer groups, conservation groups, the agricultural community, and people who do not hunt or fish.

A number of comments suggested that WDFW could improve communication with the public by simplifying its fishing and hunting rules, redesigning its website, and holding more meetings like the Wild Future forum.

Participants proposed various changes to fishing and hunting rules, ranging from deregulating bass and walleye to adjusting deer seasons to reflect the impact of bluetongue disease. More than a dozen comments focused on conflicts with wildlife, including wolves, bears, cougars, coyotes, beavers, and wild turkeys.

Many called for more projects to restore wildlife habitat, rehabilitate lakes, and improve WDFW water-access sites (particularly Sprague Lake). Some also support hiring more enforcement officers. To help support new initiatives, several in attendance favored imposing new fees on wildlife watchers and other recreationists who do not hunt or fish.

Notes from the meeting

Mill Creek


October 6, 2015
WDFW Mill Creek Regional Office

A common theme at the Mill Creek forum was that WDFW needs to simplify its fishing and hunting regulations and do a better job of explaining its goals and management actions to the public. Several of the nearly 80 participants said they appreciated the Wild Future forums and want the department to further expand its public outreach and increase opportunities for volunteers. Many participants represented outdoor groups that expressed a desire for WDFW to provide more recreational opportunities beyond fishing and hunting.

A number of anglers questioned the fairness of tribal fishing allocations, and several suggested that the North of Falcon season-setting process for salmon fisheries is “broken.” Several people favored designating some regional rivers as wild fish sanctuaries (“gene banks”) to help recover native steelhead populations. However, some anglers opposed including the Skagit River in that strategy.

Participants expressed strong support for maintaining access to public recreation, and several proposed using tax laws to penalize industrial timber companies that have closed access to hunters. Others said WDFW should provide more support for Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups (RFEGs), and some proposed ways to generate funding for stewardship of state lands.

Notes from the meeting

Lacey


October 8, 2015
Saint Martin's University

About 70 people participated in the Lacey forum, offering proposals to expand partnerships with fishing and hunting groups, watershed councils, RFEGs, land trusts and other organizations. Several suggested new volunteer opportunities for habitat restoration, and one person proposed that WDFW sponsor a statewide volunteer day to encourage citizen involvement in conservation.

A number of participants expressed support for creating wild steelhead gene banks in Puget Sound rivers, but others said they would oppose that approach if it reduced production of hatchery fish. Comments were also divided on the allocation of salmon between recreational and commercial fisheries.

Most comments about WDFW land management suggested the department should ease existing restrictions and expand public access. Others proposed taxing wildlife watchers

and using some automobile-license fees to increase funding for fisheries and wildlife habitat.
One comment struck a common theme at the forum: “Maintain two-way communication.” Many participants expressed a desire for more – and better – information from the department. Specific requests included simplifying the fishing pamphlet, improving WDFW’s website, and developing a mobile app for catch reporting.

Notes from the meeting

Wenatchee


October 20, 2015
Port of Chelan County Confluence Technology Center

Many of the nearly 60 participants at this forum proposed changes to hunting and fishing regulations, but the highest number of comments called for stricter conservation standards and for preserving public access to outdoor recreation.

Conservation concerns raised during the meeting included fish-passage barriers, invasive species, lead shot, gillnetting, suction dredging, ATVs in wildlife areas, and catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon.

Several comments also suggested that WDFW should improve monitoring of wildlife species and put more enforcement officers in the field to prevent poaching.

Many also called for new partnerships between WDFW and “non-consumptive users” such as hikers and birdwatchers to achieve shared goals for conservation and outdoor recreation. Some suggested that new excise taxes on sporting equipment should be imposed to achieve these objectives.

Hunters and anglers pressed WDFW for better maps, clearer rules, and a mobile app for viewing regulations.

Eight people commented that the rule pamphlets for fishing and hunting are too complicated and should be overhauled.

Relatively few hunters attended, in part because the event took place during the general deer hunting season.

Department managers have continued to reach out to hunting organizations and have urged hunters and others with a stake in resource management to use the online comment option to provide input for the Wild Future initiative.

Notes from the meeting

South Bend


February 4, 2016
Willapa Harbor Community Center

Attendees expressed differing perspectives on the allocation of resources, allocation of catch and WDFW's perceived orientation toward commercial or recreational fishing. As in other meetings, there was concern expressed about access to hunting and relationships with timber companies. Attendees called for more attention to providing access to those with disabilities, providing more access for razor clamming, concern for predation on fish by other species, and local hatchery policy. There were also expressions of support for youth and education efforts as well as enforcement.

Notes from the meeting

Summaries and notes from regional workshops

Mill Creek


August 10, 2016
Mill Creek Regional Office

Approximately 28 members of the public participated in the public meeting focused on WDFW revenue and spending priorities. Puget Sound residents provided their views and concerns about the proposed fishing and hunting license fee increases, the North of Falcon process, fishing and hunting regulations, and outreach and education needs.

Staff and participants had multiple conversations regarding conservation funding and the budget process. Several participants suggested the department provide more detailed information to illustrate how license money is spent. Several hunters and anglers discussed the importance that all recreationists pay their share to use public lands, and not just those who hunt or fish. A number of people also highlighted the need for additional enforcement officers to handle poaching concerns in the area.

Representatives from Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups (RFEGs) expressed support for the proposed catch record card changes and license fee increases. They also noted that increased collaboration between RFEGs and WDFW could help outreach efforts to reach a wider audience, including youth.

Notes from the meeting

Vancouver


August 8, 2016
Water Resources Education Center

Approximately 50 members of the public participated in the public meeting focused on WDFW revenue and spending priorities. Attendees provided their views and concerns about the proposed fishing and hunting license fee increases, WDFW revenue sources, hatchery reforms, hunting access, and conservation issues.

Several people expressed concern about the proposal to charge a fee for catch record cards. A number of people suggested adjusting license costs to be cheaper for beginner hunters or anglers, or for those who haven't purchased a license in recent years. Both hunters and anglers noted the importance of hiring more enforcement officers, and that a portion of the license fee increase should be dedicated to enforcement.

Many people discussed revenue sources for conservation and suggested charging a fee or implementing a tax on recreational gear for people who don't hunt or fish, but still use public lands. A few conservationists expressed concern about salmon restoration activity that impacts access to wetlands and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Notes from the meeting

South Bend


August 11, 2016
Willapa Harbor Community Center

Approximately 50 members of the public participated in the public meeting focused on WDFW revenue and spending priorities. Participants shared their views and concerns about the proposed fishing and hunting license fee increases, rules for recreational and commercial fishing, and hunting access and opportunities. Many attendees also acknowledged the need for increased WDFW enforcement.

When discussing the proposed catch record card fee, a few people suggested keeping the card free for seniors or reducing the cost for the first card. Several anglers noted they want to see additional recreational fishing opportunities for crabbing and salmon fishing, particularly in Willapa Bay. Commercial fishers voiced concerns about illegal charter fishing, gillnets in the Chehalis, and the cost of commercial license fees.

Hunters expressed concerns about waterfowl hunting opportunities in Pacific County, noting that there seems to be a decrease in waterfowl populations. Goose hunters suggested more days should be open for hunting goose in Pacific County.

Notes from the meeting

Spokane Valley


August 2, 2016
Center Place

Approximately 17 members of the public participated in WDFW's second Spokane Valley public meeting focused on WDFW revenue and spending priorities.  Participants commented on issues of improving public access to fish and hunting areas, youth and senior license policies, and recruitment of new hunters and anglers.  Participants expressed concerns for license increases and expressed interest in WDFW working to find additional support from outdoor enthusiasts who do not fish and hunt.

Notes from the meeting

Wenatchee


August 9, 2016
Chelan County Public Utility District Auditorium

Approximately 26 members of the public participated in WDFW's second Wenatchee public meeting focused on WDFW revenue and spending priorities.  Participants fielded revenue generation ideas exploring the addition of hunting guide fees, and land access fees for non-hunter use of hunting grounds, such as hikers and mountain bikers, as well as capturing more revenue from the Discover Pass.  Participants supported rule simplification efforts and called for more flexibility in enforcement of rule changes.  There was some support for charging for catch record cards, but not at the price level proposed in the presentation and fact sheets. Finally, there was support for more work to monitor and control aquatic invasive species.

Notes from the meeting

Selah


August 3, 2016
Selah Civic Center

Approximately 33 members of the public participated in WDFW's second Selah public meeting focused on WDFW revenue and spending priorities.   Participants expressed some support for fee increases, particularly in regard to hunting, but felt the amount of proposed increases were too high.  They also questioned some of the proposed investments, such as for the hunting app. One hunter suggested modifying policies at the existing shooting range rather than investing in a new one.  He suggested part of the solution to current issues of security and poor behavior at the existing shooting range would be investing in monitoring via video cameras.

As in other meetings, members of the public made suggestions to increase the role non-hunters and anglers play in paying for WDFW management activities, as well as support for increased fees for charter boat and guides.

Respondents wished to see more opportunity, and more detail on the ways proposed investments would be spent.   They also supported youth recruitment, outreach and education efforts.  

Notes from the meeting


Category: Fibonacci

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