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spectr17
10-01-2007, 07:47 PM
Commission Will Consider Adoption of Public Conduct Rules on WDFW Lands

10/1/07

Olympia, Washington- At a public meeting here on Oct. 12-13, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to take action on new rules for public conduct on lands managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The commission's scheduled action follows several public meetings and a written comment period on the proposed rule changes. WDFW's proposals, which were amended to reflect public comments, are posted on the department's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/proposed_wac_232-13.htm.

The nine-member commission, which sets policy for WDFW, will convene both days at 8:30 a.m. in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., in Olympia.

New public-conduct rules proposed by the department would address camping, dumping, vehicle use, parking, livestock, use of firearms and other activities on WDFW wildlife areas and water-access sites around the state.

"Public demands on these lands have grown along with our state's population," said Mark Quinn, WDFW lands division manager. "The new rules are designed to address emerging issues and protect both public safety and the fish and wildlife species that rely on these areas."

In other business, the commission is scheduled to take action on a measure designed to clarify rules for using decoys on WDFW lands and consider approval of several land transactions.

WDFW staff also will update the commission on efforts to redesign the department's Advanced Hunter Education Program to ensure that it addresses current needs. Enrollment in the program, which provides special hunting opportunities for those who pass the course, was suspended last spring pending a review of its goals and requirements.

The commission will also be briefed on a proposal to adopt permanent rules for a new program that allows beginning hunters to defer the state's basic hunter-education requirements for one year and hunt under the supervision of an experienced hunter during the current season. That option, authorized by the 2007 Legislature, is currently available to prospective hunters under a temporary rule that expires in December.

In addition, the commission will hear briefings on:

Proposed sportfishing rules for the 2008-09 season, currently scheduled for adoption by the commission in February. The commission will hear public testimony on the proposed rules during its Nov. 2-3 meeting in Olympia. Current proposals are posted at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/rule_proposals/index.htm.

The Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA), and a proposal to change the application period for the $1.4 million grants program to Dec. 1 through Feb. 28.

A permanent rule to eliminate a requirement that shellfish harvesters wear their fishing license on their outer clothing. This requirement was temporarily suspended by emergency rule earlier this year.

Land acquisitions scheduled for consideration by the commission include a 77.6-acre parcel on Padilla Bay in Skagit County, 77.8 acres on the upper Yakima River in Kittitas County and 12.2 acres on the Methow River in Okanogan County. All three areas provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife.

An agenda for the upcoming meeting is posted on the commission's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/com/meetings.htm.


Media Contact:
Susan Yeager, (360) 902-2267