Webinars aimed at discussing wolf management

OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has scheduled three online, interactive webinars this month and in October to discuss planning and management for wolf populations once they are no longer listed as endangered in the state.

“We know that wolves are a huge topic of interest to the public, and we want to hear everyone’s input, in a respectful and productive way, on how to manage them,” said the agency’s director Kelly Susewind. “These digital open houses will allow anyone who is interested to learn about Washington’s wolves, ask questions and find out how to provide feedback on the topic.”

While public comment won’t be accepted during the webinars, according to a news release from the agency, the goal is to both educate about wolves and share ways that people can voice their thoughts to agency officials. The input will help to inform the State Environmental Policy Act process that will be used to develop a post-recovery plan for wolves, according to the release.

The webinars will be held on the agency’s website from 6-7:30 pm. on Tuesday and Oct. 15 and from noon to 1 p.m. on Sept. 25.

Feedback sought on proposed changes to IDFG rules

BOISE — Hunters, anglers, trappers and other interested people can comment on proposed Idaho Department of Fish and Game rules published in the Idaho Administrative Rules September Bulletin.

Written comments must be received via email or post by Sept. 25 to Paul Kline, Deputy Director, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, P.O. Box 25 Boise, ID 83707 or rules@idfg.idaho.gov.

The rules available for comment include one that would limit nonresident participation in general season big game hunts without reducing resident opportunity. Another would reduce tag-buyer congestion for highly competitive general season capped tags. One would ban the importation of deer, moose and wild elk. The last would change the minimum age to hunt turkey with a Hunting Passport and allow the agency to require special permits to hunt planted pheasants in areas not already covered by existing permits.

The proposed rules, adopted by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission, must be approved by the 2020 Idaho Legislature to become effective.

Moscow bar is venue for wilderness foundation fundraiser

MOSCOW — The Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation will hold a fundraiser at Tapped, a bar and restaurant at 210 S. Main St. here Wednesday.

Known as a “Tap Takeover” the event will feature beer from Fort George Brewery in Astoria, Ore. A portion of every purchase will go to the foundation that does trail and other stewardship work in the Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church-River of No Return wilderness areas of central Idaho. The event will also feature raffles and prize giveaways.

WFW panel ready to decide on combination license

OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to take action on a new combination fishing and hunting license at its September meeting.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, will meet today and Saturday in Room Pasayten B at Sun Mountain Lodge, at 604 Patterson Lake Road, in Winthrop. The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. both days.

A full agenda is available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings. Today’s meeting will be livestreamed on department’s website at http://bit.ly/2kvHTqc and the Saturday meeting will be available at http://bit.ly/2lKC2gO.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing to create a new Get Outdoors license for state residents. The license would include an annual combination recreational freshwater, saltwater and shellfish license; a two-pole permit; Puget Sound crab endorsement; annual combination hunting license for deer, elk, bear and cougar; bear and cougar transport tags; small game license; migratory bird permit and migratory bird authorization; and two turkey tags.

If approved, the new license would cost $235.18 and would be available for purchase starting Dec. 1 for the 2020 license year, which runs April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021.

The commission will also hear a briefing on the state’s policy on hunting for ducks on “corn ponds” or flooding standing crops and will receive an update on the department’s timeline for evaluating the state’s hatchery and fishery reform policy. The policy is intended to improve hatchery effectiveness, ensure compatibility between hatchery production and salmon recovery plans and support sustainable fisheries.

Stacia Morfin is artist-in-residence for Lolo visitor center

POWELL — The Lolo Pass Visitor Center near here will welcome Stacia Morfin as its artist-in-residence Saturday and Sunday. Morfin will be at the visitor center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day sharing Nez Perce history and culture with visitors. She will be accompanied by her mentors Solo Greene, a member of the Nez Perce Tribe and Maurice “Pistol Pete” Wilson, a Nez Perce veteran, elder, leader and cultural consultant. Together, they will provide hands-on learning opportunities and demonstrate traditional singing, drumming, dancing and artwork.

Bird-watchers to lead walk at Mann Lake on Saturday

Members of the Canyon Birders will lead a bird-watching walk at Mann Lake southeast of Lewiston Saturday. People interested in attending the short walk can meet at the lake’s boat ramp parking area at 8 a.m.

Fire danger reduced thanks to recent rainfall, cooler temps

PENDLETON, Ore. — Recent widespread rainfall and cooler weather across the Umatilla National Forest has decreased fire danger, prompting fire managers to lift all public use restrictions pertaining to recreational chain saw use, smoking, and off-road travel.

Forest officials are still encouraging visitors to practice safe campfire principles when recreating in dispersed and developed campsites.

Volunteers at park will be part of public lands national effort

SPALDING — Volunteers at Nez Perce National Historical Park will join hundreds of thousands of people across the country at 9 a.m. Sept. 28 for the largest single-day volunteer effort on public lands.

Volunteers who help rehabilitate and improve habitat in the park will receive a coupon redeemable for one fee free day in a National Park.

Saturday is National Public Lands Day which is designed to connect people to public land and their communities, inspire environmental stewardship and encourage use of public lands for education, recreation and general health. Projects may include planting, weeding and seeding in an effort to remove non-native plants and restore habitat.

Those interested are encouraged to bring family, friends, classmates, students or coworkers to spend the day outdoors celebrating public lands.

Volunteers do not need to register but are requested to arrive at 9 a.m. to ensure they can fill out volunteer agreements and hear project instructions and safety briefings. Projects are age appropriate for people 7 and older. Volunteers younger than 18 need a parent’s signature to join the fun.

Participants should bring water, closed toed shoes, sun protection and lunch for picnicking after the event.

More information is available via email at nepe_volunteers@nps.gov.

Corps extends time it will accept comments on dams’ master plans

WALLA WALLA — The Army Corps of Engineers is extending the public comment period for the Lower Monumental and Little Goose Project master plans, and accompanying Environmental Assessment in response to requests from stakeholders.

The comment period now runs until Sept. 30.

Meeting scheduled to discuss proposed Pete King Wildlife Restoration Project

LOWELL — The Lochsa-Powell Ranger District of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is inviting people to comment on its proposed Pete King Wildlife Restoration Project.

A public meeting about the project will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Fenn Ranger Station, 5 miles east of Lowell on the Selway River Road. At the meeting, Forest Service employees will be available to discuss the project, answer questions and accept public comments and feedback.

The Pete King Wildlife Restoration project encompasses about 17,650 acres in Idaho County within the Pete King Creek watershed, a tributary of the Lochsa River.

The goal of the project is to improve elk habitat and the quantity of forage for elk and other wildlife species.

Forest officials are proposing to do so through prescribed burning, timber harvest and replanting forest vegetation.

The agency plans to carry out the project planning under a categorical exclusion — a process that allows for shortened analysis.

More information is available at http://bit.ly/2kaTNp2.

The comment period ends Oct. 7.

Female grizzly euthanized for getting grain from buildings

MISSOULA, Mont. — Montana wildlife officials euthanized a female grizzly bear and relocated two of her three cubs after they broke into structures in the Seeley-Swan Valley to get grain.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say the grizzly was killed on Tuesday because it lost its natural foraging habits. Two cubs were taken to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, a wildlife park in West Yellowstone.

A third cub could not be captured because it stopped returning to the trap site. Officials have removed traps from the area.

Biologists to start tracking pronghorn antelope in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say the agency plans to start tracking pronghorn antelope to learn more about the species and identify migration patterns in southeast Oregon.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports during the last week of September, wildlife biologists working with federal agencies will capture and attach radio collar tracking devices to 155 pronghorn antelope.

Ungulate species coordinator Don Whittaker says state police aircraft will look for groups of pronghorn and then a contractor will use helicopters to capture and deploy GPS radio collars.

Fish and Wildlife will track the antelope in connection with a U.S. Interior Department program that aims to improve habitat quality in western big game winter range and migration corridors.

The project comes after the archery deer and elk seasons but before the rifle deer season starts Sept. 28.

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