As reported two weeks ago in this column, Fish and Wildlife was looking at a shortfall of funding. Indeed, the Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the budget. Here are the highlights or lowlights:
Fish and Wildlife Commission approves budget and policy proposals
The commission approved the department’s 2019-21 operating budget proposal, which includes a request of more than $30 million to preserve the existing services Fish and Wildlife provides and an additional $28.2 million to provide new or improved services, such as enhanced fishing and hunting opportunities and conservation work.
Approved was an increase of 5 percent across-the-board on recreational fishing and hunting license fees.
Other commission business at the meeting last weekend included:
A donation of 94 acres to the department in Whitman County. Pheasants Forever is donating the land, which is adjacent to Fish and Wildlife’s Revere Wildlife Area. Native grassland will be restored on the property, which supports mule deer, raptors, and game birds such as pheasants and quail.
The commission also heard an update from Fish and Wildlife staff on wolf conservation and management, including the process for developing a post-delisting wolf conservation management plan. During the discussion, commissioners advised the department against changing its method for sharing information on the location of wolves with ranchers during the current grazing season.
Additionally, Fish and Wildlife staff presented an overview of seals and sea lions in Washington and discussed the implications of recently proposed federal legislation to amend the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Commissioners voiced support for efforts to provide fish and wildlife managers greater flexibility in the management of seal and sea lion predation on salmon stocks.
Still time to sign up: Sept. 14 beginning of Outdoor Skills workshop for women
Fish and Wildlife will offer a workshop featuring the basics of fishing, hunting and other outdoor skills on Sept. 14 through 16 at Camp Waskowitz in North Bend.
Twenty-five certified and experienced volunteer instructors will teach 18 classes throughout the weekend on skills such as archery, basic freshwater fishing, fly-fishing and fly-tying, big-game hunting basics, map and compass, survival, backyard wildlife habitat, Dutch oven cooking, backpacking, duck hunting, wilderness first aid, and more.
Workshop participants must be at least 18 years old and must have a current Washington recreational fishing license to participate in the fly-fishing class.