WDFW seeks public’s assistance to monitor hoof disease in elk

For more information on elk hoof disease, see WDFW’s recent news release at http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/jun2314a/ and the department’s wildlife health webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/health/hoof_disease/.

OLYMPIA – State wildlife managers are seeking help from hunters and the general public in monitoring the spread of hoof disease among elk in 10 counties in southwest Washington.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) asks that anyone who spots an elk with hoof deformities in the area that is limping or dead report their observations at wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/health/hoof_disease/. A map on that website shows the department’s primary focus of interest.

Sandra Jonker, WDFW regional wildlife manager, said the department is primarily interested in receiving reports outside the primary area of infection around Cowlitz County, where the disease is already well documented.

“Our focus now is on assessing the spread of the disease to other parts of the region,” Jonker said. “Gaining more information about the incidence and geographical distribution of the disease will help determine how best to manage it.”

She noted that the website is designed to accept reports from the field using a mobile phone. Once filed, those reports will immediately appear on WDFW’s website.

Diagnostic testing conducted over the past year indicates hoof disease in elk closely resembles a contagious bacterial infection in sheep. There is no evidence that the bacteria are harmful to humans, but there is no vaccine for elk that contract the disease, Jonker said.

To help prevent the disease from spreading, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission recently approved a new rule requiring hunters in 10 southwest Washington counties to remove the hooves of any elk they harvest and leave them on-site.

Enchanted Valley Chalet relocated away from East Fork Quinault River

Enchanted Valley Chalet Relocated

Work to temporarily relocate the Enchanted Valley Chalet in Olympic National Park to protect the East Fork Quinault River was completed Friday, September 12.

“I am very proud of our park staff, and appreciative of the contractor and his work,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.  “We are very pleased to know that the chalet is now further from the river.”

Work to temporarily relocate the chalet began September 1. Contractor Monroe House Moving of Sequim, Washington, used hydraulic jacks to push the structure 100 feet along steel beams and away from the eroding river bank.

Once the move was complete, the building was lowered onto cribbing towers and secured. The building will remain closed to the public while in its current temporary location.

A planning and environmental analysis process will begin within the next year to determine the final disposition of the building.

The chalet relocation project was examined in the “Emergency Action to Temporarily Relocate the Enchanted Valley Chalet for the Protection of the East Fork Quinault River Environmental Assessment” (EA) and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was issued on July 25.

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