WDFW Commission sets waterfowl seasons, discusses elk with hoof disease

With a record number of ducks counted on the northern breeding grounds this year, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved migratory waterfowl hunting seasons for this fall and winter during a public meeting in Olympia Aug. 8-9.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also approved a new regulation that requires hunters to leave on site the hooves of any elk taken in southwest Washington to help minimize the spread of a disease that affects the region’s herds.

Under the waterfowl hunting package, most hunting opportunities in Washington will be similar to last year. That includes a statewide duck season that will be open for 107 days, starting Oct. 11-15 and continuing Oct. 18-Jan. 25. A special youth hunting weekend also is scheduled Sept. 20-21.

Limits for mallard, pintail, scaup, redhead, goldeneye, harlequin, scoter and long-tailed duck will remain the same as last season. But the commission reduced the daily bag limit for canvasback to one per day because of decreasing numbers throughout North America.

Goose hunting seasons will vary among management areas across the state, but most open mid-October and run through late January. Limits for most geese did not change, except the commission did increase the daily bag limit for cackling geese in southwest Washington from three to four.

The commission also increased the overall harvest quota for dusky Canada geese in southwest Washington from 45 to 85 birds. As in previous years, hunters are limited to one dusky Canada goose a season in southwest Washington.

The goose and duck hunting seasons approved by the commission are based on state and federal waterfowl population estimates and guidelines. According to those estimates, a record number of ducks – approximately 49 million – were on the breeding grounds this spring in Canada and the United States.

Details on the waterfowl hunting seasons will be available later this week on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/.

In other action, the commission approved several land transactions, including the purchase of two parcels totaling nearly 2,900 acres of shrub-steppe in Yakima County. The land, located about five miles west of Naches, serves as critical habitat for a variety of wildlife, and is an important connection between summer and winter range for the Yakima elk herd.

The two parcels will be acquired through a partnership with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Cowiche Canyon Conservancy and the state Department of Ecology (DOE). The 2,588-acre property will be purchased for $1.38 million, while a 305-acre property will cost $170,000.

DOE and the Kennewick Irrigation District are providing the funding to acquire the two parcels to mitigate for the loss of shrub-steppe habitat that was converted to agricultural land. The properties will be managed as part of WDFW’s Oak Creek Wildlife Area.

The commission also received a briefing on a scientific panel’s determination that the disease that leaves elk in the St. Helens and Willapa Hills areas of southwest Washington with misshapen hooves likely involves a type of bacterial infection.

Members of the panel, composed of veterinarians and researchers throughout the state, agreed that the disease closely resembles contagious ovine digital dermatitis in sheep. The panel’s diagnosis is consistent with the findings of the USDA National Animal Disease Center and four other independent diagnostic laboratories that have tested samples of elk hooves submitted by WDFW since last year.

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/.

In other business, the commission conducted public hearings on the 2015-2021 Game Management Plan and proposed updates to the state Hydraulic Code.

The commission also received briefings on the department’s legislative proposals for 2015, proposed 2015-2017 operating and capital budget requests, and new potential revenue sources.

In addition, the commission was briefed on the impacts of a possible reduction in state General Funds. The potential cuts are in response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s directive to state agencies to prioritize their activities and identify reductions totaling 15 percent.

BPA offering $20,000 in science and energy education grants

Portland, Ore. – The Bonneville Power Administration is offering $20,000 in science and energy education grants to nonprofit organizations, schools and others in support of work to educate students in grades K through 12 about the energy systems of the Pacific Northwest.

The goal of the program is to advance students’ understanding, awareness and interest in the issues and science involved in energy generation and transmission in the region.

Funded projects could focus on hydroelectricity, wind and other sources of electric power, methods of conserving electricity, studies of energy and environment, programs on engineering and technology skills relating to energy, and others. The intent of the grants is to support science, technology, engineering and math education with specific emphasis on electric-utility issues.

“Science, technology, engineering and math education is absolutely vital to the energy industry in the Northwest, and this program represents an investment in future innovators, leaders and workforce in that industry,” said Greg Delwiche, BPA deputy administrator.

A total of $20,000 will be awarded. BPA anticipates making five to 10 grants ranging from $500 to $5,000.

The educational grant program is in its third year. Projects funded in 2013-2014 were:

Martin Sortun Elementary School, Kent, Wash. – $1,400 for energy robotics kits and teacher training that engaged 360 students in third through sixth grade in energy concepts such as energy transfer, generation, operation of the electric grid, and renewable energy.

Central Klickitat Conservation District, Goldendale, Wash. – $2,314 for a comprehensive program of classroom instruction and field trips on electric energy and conservation in the Northwest for 540 students in seventh through 12th grade.

Yakima Basin Environmental Education Program, Yakima Basin, Wash. – $2,500 for classroom visits and field trips for 700 students in fourth through 10th grade in Yakima and Kittitas counties. Students learned about the life cycle of the salmon and operations of the river to meet multiple demands, capped off with a field trip to see the historic return of salmon to Cle Elum Lake for the first time in 100 years.

Polson Middle School, Polson, Mont. – $2,134 for a school-wide sixth-grade science education project focusing on energy stewardship, including experiments, building models, collecting data, and developing reports and conclusions about alternative sources of energy. Students presented their findings in a “Creativity Showcase” event for families and the community.

Benton Conservation District, Kennewick, Wash. – $3,700 for “Salmon Power!” where students raised tanks of salmon in their classroom, studied hydroelectric generation and dam operations, and learned how their actions can conserve electricity and aid salmon.

Springfield School District, Springfield, Ore. – $3,120 for materials and teacher training for a project that allowed 1,000 sixth graders and 140 high school physics and engineering students to build, test and modify a small-scale hydropower generator.

Clackamas County Friends of Extension, Clackamas County, Ore. – $5,000 to develop and administer the state’s first curriculum on renewable energy and energy conservation topics designed to meet state science and engineering education standards. The project reached 1,000 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students in Clackamas County.

The Science and Energy Education grants program, which is one facet of a much larger education outreach program by BPA, was designed to extend the reach of BPA’s education efforts by supporting the teachers and nonprofits working locally to advance energy education.

Funding can be awarded to school districts, government agencies and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. The recipients must be from, and funding used in, BPA service territory in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and parts of Montana, Nevada and Wyoming.

Applications for project funding are due May 9, and funding will be awarded in June for projects taking place over the 2014-2015 school year. For complete terms and instructions on completing a science and energy education grant proposal, please visit: www.bpa.gov/goto/EducationGrants.

BPA’s education program provides free presentations and information to K-12 schools in our region to help students achieve energy literacy, and to support science, technology, engineering and math education. For information on BPA education programs, go to www.bpa.gov/goto/Education.

BPA is a nonprofit federal agency that markets renewable hydropower from federal Columbia River dams, operates three-quarters of high-voltage transmission lines in the Northwest and funds one of the largest wildlife protection and restoration programs in the world. BPA and its partners have also saved enough electricity through energy efficiency projects to power four large American cities.

Pacific County E911 Operator Recognized

SOUTH BEND, Wash. – The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office tells KBKW Judy Indermark has been chosen as the 2011 Washington State Telecommunicator of the Year for a Critical Incident. The event for which she was nominated was a surf rescue call off the Cranberry Beach Approach that took place on August 5, 2011. The event was well documented nationally and the victim related to the call survived.

This award recognizes a Telecommunicator in Washington state who handled a critical incident in an exemplary manner that positively affected its outcome.
Chief Criminal Deputy Pat Matlock tells us Judy’s performance during the event was exemplary and worthy of the selection. Judy has been with the Sheriff’s Office for over 16 years. Judy was also chosen for the award in 2006.

Judy will be recognized for her efforts at the Washington State Public Safety Communications Conference in Kennewick the evening of June 28th, 2012.

New ways for you to access financial education

To reach more Washington residents while using fewer resources and funds, we’ve joined the world of Web 2.0 and are adding new ways to provide access to much-needed resources, including:

With these new points of access, Washington consumers may now receive immediate updates and get the latest information on how protect and improve their financial well-being, including:

  • Financial resources for the unemployed;
  • How to talk with your children about the family budget in today’s economy;
  • How to verify the license of a business;
  • Staying up-to-date on fraud alerts;
  • Getting help and avoiding foreclosure;
  • How to avoid mortgage fraud and foreclosure rescue fraud;
  • How to avoid becoming a victim of predatory lending; and
  • Access to financial education events and resources for the whole family.

Adhering to our mission of “Regulating financial services to protect and educate the public and promote economic vitality” DFI will continue to add additional resources and increase the number of methods to make this information available to Washington residents as they arise.

Understanding that Washington residents face many challenges in today’s economy, DFI is partnering with KCTS 9 PBS in Seattle for their “Tough Times” series on how to survive in a down economy http://www.kcts9.org/toughtimes. DFI’s Steven C. Sherman, Esq., a Financial Legal Examiner in our Consumer Services Division will participate in the second in the series on housing and Martin Cordell, Supervisor, Securities Division Criminal Unit of the Enforcement Section will be on hand for the third in the series on personal finance and protecting your investments.

DFI is assisting the City of Tacoma Safe and Clean Team, Federal Reserve Board, United Way of Tacoma-Pierce County and numerous non-profit organizations to offer help to homeowners facing foreclosure with a free all-day workshop.

  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 14
    Foreclosure Intervention Workshop
    Evergreen College Tacoma Campus
    1210 6th Ave.
    Tacoma, WA
    Call 1.800.368.1455 to register.
    Visit www.homeownership.wa.gov for more information.

We’re also partnering with AARP (and other partners including FINRA, Microsoft and the Washington Attorney General’s Office) on four “Taking Charge In Tough Times” education outreach events throughout the state.

  • Wednesday, April 8
    Three Rivers Convention Center
    7016 Grandridge Blvd.
    Kennewick, WA 99336
  • Wednesday, April 22
    Red Lion Hotel Bellevue
    11211 Main St.
    Bellevue, WA 98004
  • Wednesday, May 6
    Vancouver Red Lion Hotel at the Quay
    100 Columbia St.
    Vancouver, WA 98660
  • Wednesday, June 3
    Red Lion Hotel at the Park
    303 W. North River Dr.
    Spokane, WA 99201

All events will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Space is limited. Register by calling toll-free 1-877-926-8300.