Yakama Tribal Court to hear case over state’s elk management

 

May 7, 2014

By Kate Prengaman / Yakima Herald-Republic
kprengaman@yakimaherald.com

YAKIMA, Wash. — The Yakama Nation Tribal Court ruled it has jurisdiction in an unprecedented lawsuit that maintains that the state has responsibility to manage an elk herd to prevent damage to a sacred burial site.

Chief Judge Ted Strong found in favor of the tribal member who brought the civil suit against the state Department of Fish and Wildlife when he ruled Friday that the Tribal Court has the authority to hear the case. He ordered the parties to discuss settlement options before continuing with hearings.

Attorneys for the state had asked the court to throw out the lawsuit, saying it lacked authority over Wildlife Department officials named in the suit because they are not tribal members and because the burial site is not on the reservation.

In the case of the burial sites, the judge found that the court’s jurisdiction should not be limited to the reservation.

The case was brought under a 1989 state law allowing tribal members to seek damages in civil court against those who have knowingly damaged Indian burial sites. The law allows cases to be brought in Superior or Tribal Court, but this is the first time a case has been heard in Tribal Court.

It’s a test case for the authority of the Tribal Court, said Jack Fiander, the attorney representing Shay-Ya-Boon-Il-Pilpsh, who brought the case. Fiander said he hopes this case can demonstrate the fair, professional process of the Tribal Court.

Typically, tribal courts only have jurisdiction over cases involving tribal members and tribal lands.

“The Yakama Tribal Member who seeks preservation of the ancient burial grounds has no less right to be heard by this court simply because the remains of his fellow Yakama lies buried in the grave some miles distant from the Yakama Reservation Boundary,” Judge Strong wrote in the order granting the jurisdiction.

The tribal court is “uniquely competent” to hear concerns about the desecration of burial sites, he wrote.

Plaintiff Shay-Ya-Boon-Il-Pilpsh, who is also known as Ricky Watlamet, is charged in Kittitas County Superior Court with felony unlawful hunting after allegedly shooting several of the elk on the Kittitas County property where the burial site is located.

He was invited by the nontribal landowner who was frustrated with the Wildlife Department’s response to her complaints about damage by the elk, which were also eating grasses intended for cattle.

But under state law, tribal members’ treaty hunting rights that allow them to hunt outside of the state-set seasons don’t apply on private land.

Fiander is also representing his client in the criminal case, but he said that he’s encouraged by the Tribal Court’s decision to hear this civil case.

“I think everybody’s pleased about the decision, but we see it as chapter three of about seven,” Fiander said.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that in less than a month as the snow melts that the elk will start leaving the property and hopefully, a settlement can be reached for next year.”

In other areas with elk problems, Fiander said management strategies have included temporary fencing or issuing more hunting permits to keep the herd smaller.

A spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s Office, which represents the Wildlife Department, said in an email that it is “reviewing the decision with our clients and considering our course of action.”

The next hearing is set for June 19, after the parties meet to discuss settlement options.

Once the Tribal Court has reached a conclusion in the case, the decision can be subject to a federal court review to ensure the process was fair, Fiander said.

But, he said he would not be surprised if the state’s attorneys planned to appeal.

“My sense is that ultimately it will end up in federal court,” Fiander said.

Razor clam dig starts March 28; more digs tentatively set for April

Easter weekend clamming

March 20, 2013
Contact: Dan Ayres, (360) 249-1209

 OLYMPIA – State shellfish managers have approved a four-day razor clam dig starting March 28 and scheduled tentative dates for additional openings in April.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the late-March dig after marine toxin test showed the clams are safe to eat.

Twin Harbors beach will be open for morning razor clam digging March 28-31.

Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks will be open to digging March 29-30.

No digging will be allowed at any beach after noon. The schedule, along with morning low tides, is:

  • March 28, Thurs., 7:57 a.m., -0.3 ft., Twin Harbors
  • March 29, Fri., 8:40 a.m., -0.6 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • March 30, Sat., 9:26 a.m., -0.7 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • March. 31, Sun., 10:16 a.m., -0.6 ft., Twin Harbors

By law, clam diggers are limited to 15 razor clams per day, and are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2012-13 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

Meanwhile, WDFW has tentatively scheduled two morning digs in April, subject to favorable marine toxin tests. Final word on these digs will be posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, reminds diggers they will need to purchase a 2013-14 license to participate in the April openings, since current fishing licenses expire at midnight March 31. Licenses are available online (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), by phone (1-866-320-9933) and from license dealers around the state.

Tentative opening dates in April, along with morning low tides, are:

  • April 9, Tues., 6:39 a.m., 0.0 ft., Twin Harbors
  • April 10, Wed., 7:19 a.m., -0.3 ft., Twin Harbors
  • April 11, Thurs., 7:57 a.m., -0.4 ft., Twin Harbors
  • April 12, Fri., 8:34 a.m., -0.4 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
  • April 13, Sat., 9:11 a.m., -0.2, ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
  • April 14, Sun., 9:49 a.m., +0.1, ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
  • April 24, Wed., 6:10 a.m., -0.3 ft., Twin Harbors
  • April 25, Thurs., 6:54 a.m., -1.0 ft., Twin Harbors
  • April 26, Fri., 7:38 a.m., -1.5 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
  • April 27, Sat., 8:24 a.m., -1.7 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
  • April 28, Sun., 9:11 a.m., -1.7 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
  • April 29, Mon., 10:01 a.m., -1.5 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks
  • April 30, Tues., 10:55 a.m., -1.0 ft., Twin Harbors

3 Ways to Catch Razor Clams

From Do it yourself

Razor clams are coastal shellfish, known for their rarity and their meaty contents. Found in the sand of the intertidal coastal beaches, they can be harvested in several ways.

The best way to start is to get to the beach is early in the morning, so you can follow the tide out. First, look for a “clam show.” At the edge of the surf line, there will be small dimples or holes in the wet sand as the water ebbs. It’s where the clam has stuck its neck out and tried to dig to go back to the sea. As soon as you see the telltale hole, start quickly with one of these methods:

Tools you will need gloves (razor clams are so named because of the sharp edges of their shells), ice chest, clam gun or tube (for1st way), clam shovel or other sharp curved, narrow bladed shovel (for 2nd way) and table salt (for 3rd way). Although, the tools will majorly depend on how you are catching clams.

Ways to Catch Razor Clams:

1. With a Tube or “Clam Gun”

The tube, or “clam gun,” you need for razor clams is about 2-3 feet long and 4 inches in diameter, with a ½ inch hole at the top. Stainless steel or metal will work best for digging in wet sand. The best idea is to just go to a fishing supply store and get a clam gun, but if you have something similar it could work just as well. A clam gun has a T-shaped top so you don’t have to try and cover it with your fingers while digging.

When you spot a clam show, place the tube around it, with the hole in the center and work the tube down into the sand at least 2 feet. Then cover the hole at the top and remove the tube. Empty the tube onto the beach and take the clam or clams out and put it in your ice chest. Clam guns can be difficult to use on rocky or pebble-filled beaches.

2. Dig With a Clam Shovel

Once you locate the holes in the sand, dig quickly with a clam shovel. Go straight down about 3-6 inches from the center of the clam show. Place the back of the shovel facing the hole and begin removing sand. Don’t curve it toward the center of the hole because you risk cutting the clam off at the neck or breaking the shell. Keep scooping straight down until you expose the clam. Then reach in and carefully grab it by the neck or shell and place it in your ice chest. 

3. Salt Them Out

Razor clams are extremely sensitive to salinity. One way to reduce your effort and have the clams come to you is to use table salt. As soon as you see the show, when it is open widest, pour salt into the hole. The clam should emerge in order to escape the salt and then just catch it and place it in your ice chest.

Be sure to check fishing rules and seasons with the Department of Fish and Wildlife (1-866-880-5431). There’s a limit on how many clams you can harvest at one time. So be very careful when digging, especially with the clam shovel. The clams are fairly delicate and break easily. Clams with broken shells will die, but they will also count for your total, so don’t discount the broken ones. They can still be eaten, just harder to clean.

Next razor clam dig starts March 7

March 01, 2013
Contact: Dan Ayres, (360) 249-1209
Washington State Dept of Fish and Wildlife

 clams_shovelWSDFW

OLYMPIA – State fishery managers have approved an evening razor clam dig that will run March 7-11 at Twin Harbors and some of those days at three other ocean beaches.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the evening dig after marine toxin tests showed the clams on those beaches are safe to eat.

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said the dig will extend for five consecutive evenings at Twin Harbors, the beach with the most clams available for harvest. Long Beach will be open for digging March 8-10, while Copalis and Mocrocks will be open March 9-10.

No digging will be allowed at any beach before noon.

Ayres said an extra evening of digging – March 8 – has been added to the original schedule at Long Beach, because diggers harvested fewer clams than expected there last month.

In planning a trip to the beach, all diggers should be aware that Daylight Saving Time starts March 10, Ayres said.

“If you forget to set your watch ahead, you could miss an hour of prime digging,” he said, noting that the best digging occurs an hour or two before low tide.

Evening low tides for the upcoming dig are as follows:

  • March 7, Thursday, 3:06 p.m., +0.3 ft., Twin Harbors
  • March 8, Friday, 4:01 p.m., 0.0 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach
  • March 9, Saturday, 4:50 p.m., -0.2 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
  • March 10, Sunday, 6:33 p.m., -0.2 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
  • March 11, Monday, 7:12 p.m., 0.0, Twin Harbors

By law, clam diggers are limited to 15 razor clams per day, and are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2012-13 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/ and from license vendors around the state.

map_beaches

Beaches in Washington with razor clam fisheries include:
Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.
Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.
Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.
Mocrocks Beach, which extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips.
Kalaloch Beach, which extends from the South Beach Campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park.

Information about the location of Washington’s razor clam beaches, as well as current and proposed digs, is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

At least 3 bald eagles found shot to death

kirotv
Posted: 3:55 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013

 

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. —

The State Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking for the public’s help in finding who killed at least three bald eagles in Snohomish County.

Officials said four eagles were found floating in a small lake near Granite Falls last week. Investigators confirmed that three of them had been shot with a small-caliber rifle. It’s unclear how the fourth bald eagle died. The species is protected under both state and federal law. A nearly $4,000 reward is being offered for information about the person responsible for killing the eagles.

The department sent KIRO 7 Eyewitness News pictures of the slaughtered birds. Warning; graphic images.

http://www.kirotv.com/gallery/news/warning-graphic-eagles-found-shot-near-granite-fal/g7Sp/#3026598

 

Source:

http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/least-3-bald-eagles-found-shot-death/nTygq/