WDFW asks public’s help to generate leads in shooting of radio-collared wolf

Source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WFDW) is seeking the public’s help to identify the person or persons responsible for shooting and killing a gray wolf last month in Stevens County.

A 2-year-old black female wolf from the Smackout Pack was found dead Feb. 9 near Cedar Lake in northeast Stevens County. The condition of the carcass indicated it had died between Feb. 5 and Feb. 7, and a veterinarian’s examination confirmed it had been shot.

Wildlife managers had captured the wolf about a year ago and fitted it with a radio collar so they could track its movements and those of her pack members.

WDFW, with the help of three non-profit organizations, is offering a reward of up to $22,500 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.  Conservation Northwest, the Center for Biological Diversity, and The Humane Society of the United States, have each pledged $7,500 to create the reward.

Gray wolves are protected throughout the state.  WDFW is responsible for management of wolves and enforcement of laws to protect them. The illegal killing of a wolf or other endangered fish or wildlife species is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Sergeant Pam Taylor of the WDFW Northeast Washington Region is leading the investigation.  She urged people with knowledge of the crime to report it confidentially by calling WDFW’s poaching hotline, 877-933-9847, or by texting a tip to 847411.

Legislature funds final push to rid Puget Sound of derelict fishing nets

When spread out, nets cover a significant amount of habitat.Source: The Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative

When spread out, nets cover a significant amount of habitat.
Source: The Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative

Source: San Juan Islander

August 2, 2013

OLYMPIA – The final push in a decade-long effort to clear Puget Sound of derelict fishing nets within 105 feet of the surface will get under way later this year with funding approved by the Washington State Legislature.

The state budget adopted last month provides $3.5 million for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to complete the task in partnership with the Northwest Straits Foundation, which has led the net-removal effort since 2002.

Since then, divers working for the non-profit organization have removed 4,437 lost or abandoned fishing nets, 2,765 crab pots and 42 shrimp pots from the waters of Puget Sound. Animals found dead or entangled in that gear include porpoises, sea lions, seabirds, canary rockfish, chinook salmon and Dungeness crab.

According to one predictive catch model, those derelict nets were entangling 3.2 million animals annually every year they remained in the water.

Robyn du Pré, executive director of the foundation, said the new funding will support the removal of approximately 1,000 derelict nets in high-priority areas of Puget Sound after current funding runs out in December.

“These legacy nets have been fishing the waters of the Salish Sea for decades,” du Pré said. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to finish the job and to celebrate a true conservation success story in 2015.” Du Pré added that current fishing net loss is minimal and commercial fishers are now required to report any lost nets.

State Rep. Norma Smith of Whidbey Island led the legislative effort to fund the net-removal initiative.

“I am deeply grateful to my colleagues who helped achieve the goal of a $3.5 million appropriation for the Northwest Straits Foundation to remove the last of the legacy nets from the Puget Sound,” Smith said. “Lost in previous decades, they have had a devastating impact on harvestable natural resources and marine life. Once removed, because of the reporting requirements now in place, this challenge comes to an end. What an achievement!”

WDFW Director Phil Anderson said the new funding is specifically designed to support the removal of derelict fishing nets in areas of the Sound where historic fisheries coincide with bottom conditions likely to snag nets. The foundation locates those nets using sidescan sonar surveys, then dispatches recovery vessels with dive teams to retrieve them.

Few efforts have been made to remove nets from depths of more than 105 feet, because of safety concerns. However, the foundation recently completed an assessment of deepwater net-removal strategies that include the use of remotely operated vehicles, grapples, and deepwater divers.

“Working in conjunction with our partners at Northwest Straits and in the State Legislature, we have made enormous strides toward eliminating the risks posed to fish and wildlife by derelict fishing gear,” Anderson said. “This is difficult work, and it requires a real commitment from everyone to get it done. We look forward to celebrating the next milestone in 2015.”

Source: Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative

Source: Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative

Stillaguamish tribe joins investigation of 4 bald eagles shot

Article By Monica Brown, Tulalip News Writer

Four bald eagles have been found shot dead in the Granite Falls area; three of the eagles were adults and  the other a juvenile.

The Stillaguamish Tribe, state Fish and Wildlife, the Humane Society of the United States and Conservation Northwest have banded together to offer a $13,750 cash reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for shooting the eagles.

The Bald eagle population has improved enough that they were removed from protection status under the federal Endangered Species Act several years ago and were counted to have an estimates 840 occupied nests in 2005. However, they are still protected under other state and federal laws.

Killing an eagle is a misdemeanor under federal law and also a state crime with a maximum penalty of $1,000 and 90 days in jail with a $2,000 fine per eagle.