Warning: Toxic algae blooming on Snake River

HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR — Health officials are warning visitors to Hells Canyon Reservoir to use caution when recreating in or near the Snake River because of toxic algae blooms.

The Southwest District Health and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality issued a health advisory for the reservoir from Copper Creek down to Hells Canyon Dam. Recent samples taken from the water body indicate high concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria, which can be harmful to people, pets and livestock. Those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness.

They recommend people avoid swimming or wading in the water, keep pets out of the water and avoid drinking or cooking with water from the reservoir. People or pets who come in contact with the water are advised to clean as soon as possible with potable water. Anglers are advised to wash their hands after handling fish caught in water with algae bloom; and to only eat flesh of fish, not the fat, skin or internal organs.

Exposure to the bacteria can cause rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, people are advised to consult a health care provider. The agencies will issue a news release when health threats no longer exist.

Umatilla restrictions ease as fire danger lessens

PENDLETON — Last week’s 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.

U.S. Forest Service officials are encouraging visitors to continue to practice safe campfire principles when recreating in dispersed and developed campsites.

Fishing guides sought for WDFW advisory panel

OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking candidates to serve on a new committee that advises the agency on the commercial fishing guide industry.

As many as 12 individuals from the guiding industry will be chosen for two-year terms that begin next month. The committee may be extended beyond two years as needed. Candidates have until Aug. 27 to apply.

Advisers will initially be asked to provide input on the implementation of a new monthly reporting requirement for commercial guides, said Kelly Cunningham, acting director of department’s fish program.

“Beyond that, we want to work with the guide industry to gain a better understanding of their perspective in an effort to improve opportunity,” Cunningham said.

Beginning Jan. 1, fishing guides will provide the agency with information such as the date and location of each guided fishing trip, the number of anglers guided and the number and type of fish species caught per trip.

“We’re looking for advisers who will help us review logbook data and provide the guiding industry’s perspective on fisheries,” Cunningham said. “We’d like to establish a group that includes both part-time and full-time guides and industry representatives from the various fisheries around the state.”

More information on the committee and how to nominate potential members is available at http://bit.ly/2OZiuDu.

Comment sought on dams’ master plan revisions

DAYTON — The Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District is revising the master plan for the Little Goose and Lower Monumental projects.

Public scoping for this effort will take place from through Sept. 13. The Corps invites comments from the public regarding management of natural resources and recreational opportunities that should be considered for the Little Goose Master Plan and the Lower Monumental Master Plan. Public comments received during this process will be considered during development of the draft plan. The Corps also will prepare an environmental assessment to address potential effects associated with the plan revision.

More information is available at http://bit.ly/2Z6gRDI for the Little Goose plan or http://bit.ly/2Ha6Zmy for the Lower Monumental plan.

IFGC puts its stamp on proposed legislative bills

BOISE — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission recently approved two legislative proposals to advance for review by Gov. Brad Little’s office.

The first piece of proposed legislation would increase nonresident license and tag fees, and the second would give the commission to the ability to require upland game bird permits on areas it releases pheasants that are not state Wildlife Management Areas.

If approved, the legislation would raise the price of nonresident combination hunting/fishing licenses from $238.25 to $262.25, nonresident hunting licenses from $153 to $183.25, nonresident fishing licenses from $96.50 to $106.25, nonresident elk tags from $300 to $350 and nonresident elk tags from $415 to $650.

Commissioners also forwarded to the legislature a proposal that would remove the current rule that requires snare diverters for trapping gray wolves, but would allow diverters to be required in local areas to reduce the catch of other species. The wolf snare proposal also included adding rules that mandate cable stops and breakaways on wolf snares in order to allow nontargeted animals to escape if they’re accidentally snared.

The commission will meet again Thursday at the Southwest Region office at 15950 North Gate Blvd. in Nampa, where it is scheduled to vote on fall chinook and steelhead fishing seasons and adopting new whitetail and mule deer management pans. A full agenda of the meeting is available at http://bit.ly/2YPDxgn.

IFG: Nonresident tags for deer, elk are going fast

BOISE — Idaho Fish and Game officials are advising hunters who wish to purchase an extra nonresident deer or elk tag to do so soon.

The tags typically sell out quickly, and according to a news release from the agency few remain available for this fall. On Monday just 716 nonresident elk tags out of 12,815 and fewer than 4,000 second deer tags out of 15,500 remained available.

Nonresident deer and elk tags are available as second tags every year after July 31. Hunters can see how many tags are left on the nonresident tag information page. Sales updates are posted weekly.

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