Wildlife Commission lists tufted puffins as state endangered species

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted new big game hunting rules for the upcoming season and an interim policy for Willapa Bay salmon fisheries during a public meeting April 9-10 in Tumwater.

The commission, a citizen panel that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also agreed to place tufted puffins on the state’s endangered species list and remove Steller sea lions from the state’s threatened list.

New hunting rules approved by the commission will expand hunting opportunities for virtually every big game species and gear type. New regulations will:

  • Add two more days to the modern firearm season for mule deer.
  • Shift archery elk season to start the Saturday after Labor Day to provide better opportunity for hunters in cooler weather.
  • Double the amount of spring bear permits available in northeast Washington.
  • Allow elk hunters using muzzleloaders to hunt in more game management units (GMUs).
  • Increase moose permits to 170 from 136 in the northeast part of the state, where moose populations are near an all-time high.


The commission did not adopt a proposal to restrict the use of bait when hunting for deer and elk. Instead, the commission directed WDFW to work with stakeholders to bring forward new options for consideration next year.


All of the hunting rules approved by the commission will be included in the 2015 Big Game Hunting pamphlet, which will be available later this spring on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/, in sporting goods stores, and at other license vendors throughout the state.

Tufted Puffin colony occupancyIn other business, the commission added tufted puffins to the state’s endangered species list to provide them with additional protection. Tufted puffins are native seabirds once considered common in parts of Washington. In recent decades, however, the population has significantly declined. WDFW will develop a plan outlining actions necessary for the species’ recovery in the state.

Steller sea lions, on the other hand, have rebounded in recent years, prompting the commission to remove the species from the state’s list of threatened species. The federal government has also delisted Steller sea lions. The species will remain as state protected wildlife and will still receive protection under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

After receiving a briefing from state fishery managers on a long-term salmon-management policy for Willapa Bay, the commission adopted an interim plan that will be in effect through 2015. The interim policy is designed to accelerate the recovery of natural-origin chinook salmon by reducing the incidental catch of wild fish while encouraging the harvest of hatchery chinook.


WDFW will work with stakeholders in the coming weeks to designate the 2015 salmon fishing dates in Willapa Bay, based on the new interim plan. The interim plan is posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/willapa_bay_salmon/.

The commission also took public comments on a proposal to reopen recreational fishing for flounder, sole and other flatfish – except halibut – in Quilcene Bay and the northern portion of Dabob Bay in Hood Canal. A separate public hearing was held on management of Columbia River sturgeon.

In other news, April’s meeting was attended by fishing columnist Dave Graybill and retired public health physician Kim Thorburn, who were appointed to the commission by the governor last month.

US Coast Guard stresses Pacific Northwest boat safety following Labor Day rescue

The Coast Guard reminds boaters to make smart decisions while operating in the Pacific Northwest following the rescue of eight people from an overloaded vessel that capsized near Bainbridge Island over the Labor Day weekend.

“Between the overloading of the vessel, the lack of lifejackets and a water temperature of less than 60 degrees, they are lucky to be alive,” said Daniel Shipman, director of boating safety for the Coast Guard 13th District. “It doesn’t matter how strong a swimmer you are; the shock of cold water immersion can instantly impair your motor function. A lifejacket may be the only ting keeping you afloat.”

A Coast Guard Station Seattle 45-foot Response Boat — Medium crew and good Samaritan rescued seven adults, one child and a dog after their 12-foot skiff capsized in Eagle Harbor, Sunday.

Reportedly only the child was wearing a lifejacket and all eight people were in the water for at least 20 minutes prior to discovery by the good Samaritan. All the passengers were treated by EMS for mild hypothermia.

View the original press release about the rescue here: http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/2233162/

Click on the text below to hear and download audio clips of the good Samaritan’s mayday call:

Sean Meek, a good Samaritan, issues a mayday call via VHF-FM channel 16 to Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound in Seattle to report a capsized vessel with multiple people in the water in Eagle Harbor near Bainbridge Island, Wash., Aug. 31, 2014.

Seven adults, a 4-year-old child and a dog were in the water for more than 20 minutes after their 12-foot skiff capsized before Meek and his daughter, Grace, heard their cries for help.

U.S. Coast Guard audio courtesy of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound.

A watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound in Seattle responds to a mayday call via VHF-FM channel 16 from Sean Meek, a good Samaritan reporting a capsized vessel with multiple people in the water in Eagle Harbor near Bainbridge Island, Wash., Aug. 31, 2014.

A 45-foot Response Boat — Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Seattle transferred the eight people and their dog to shore where they were treated by EMS for mild hypothermia.

U.S. Coast Guard audio courtesy of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound.

Sean Meek, a good Samaritan, counts people in the water in Eagle Harbor near Bainbridge Island, Wash., while issuing a mayday call to watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound in Seattle via VHF-FM channel 16, Aug. 31, 2014. 

Officials believe the overloading of a 12-foot skiff contributed to the eight people and a dog being thrown from the vessel after it capsized around sunset.

U.S. Coast Guard audio courtesy of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound.

Washington joins emphasis patrols on 5,600 miles of road with the I-90/94 Challenge

Motorists will notice an extra law enforcement presence when driving on two of the country’s most highly traveled interstates during a four-day enforcement campaign in early August.

The Washington State Patrol and law enforcement officials in 14 other states are joining together with a goal of zero deaths on Interstates 90 and 94 between Washington state and New York Aug. 1-4. That’s more than 5,600 miles of road.

This combined effort is known as the “I-90/94 Challenge.” It’s not a competition between states, but a challenge to drivers to stay safe on one of the country’s busiest highways.

“We will have zero tolerance for the violations we know cause the most deaths and injuries,” said WSP Chief John R. Batiste. “Speed, DUI and the failure to wear seat belts continue to cause preventable tragedies and rip families apart.”

Batiste urged drivers to answer the challenge by tweeting “#9094challenge” when they’ve arrived safely at a destination.

Coordinated by the Minnesota State Patrol, the challenge will use education, awareness and strict enforcement to save lives and remind all motorists to drive safely and obey important traffic laws.

Traffic crashes kill more than 33,000 people each year in the United States. Local, state and national traffic safety officials agree too many of those fatalities are happening on I-90 and I-94.

In Washington, regularly scheduled troopers will focus their work time on I-90. A few additional troopers are being brought on specifically for the emphasis patrol. I-90 splits into two highways, 90 and 94, in Montana. I-94 does not exist by that name in Washington State.

“The first weekend in August is the mid-point between two other driving holidays- Independence Day and Labor Day,” Batiste said. “We’ll use this emphasis patrol to help drivers maintain good driving habits.”

I-90/94 Challenge is intended to help the International Association of Chiefs of Police reach its goal this year of reducing U.S. traffic fatalities by 15 percent.

More information on is available at www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or follow the hashtag #9094challenge.

Last weekend to catch the bus in Grays Harbor

ABERDEEN, Wash. – Today begins the last weekend of transit service for Grays Harbor. Despite the need to drum up support for a sales tax increase on the November ballot, after the Labor Day weekend, Grays Harbor Transit will eliminate weekends, holidays, transfers, and the route to Centralia, but keeping the College Sticker Program for students.
The transit will ask the public for a .01% sales tax increase on the November countywide ballot to upright an $800-thousand budget deficit. General Manager Mark Carlin says if the tax passes it will return them to a state-approved budget. He hoped to see a return to weekend service by 2015.

DNR: Public encouraged to heed fire safety this Labor Day weekend

In areas where campfires are allowed, DNR asks the public to please follow these suggestions:

  • Use an existing fire ring; don’t create a new one.
  • Clear all vegetation away from the fire ring (remove all flammable materials, such as needles, leaves, sticks, etc.).
  • Keep your campfire small.
  • Keep plenty of water and a shovel nearby for throwing dirt on the fire if it gets out of control.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended!


When putting out your campfire, you should:

  • First, drown the campfire with water.
  • Next, mix the ashes and embers with soil. Scrape all partially-burned sticks and logs to make sure all the hot embers are off of them.
  • Stir the embers after they are covered with water and make sure everything is wet.
  • Feel the coals, embers, and any partially burned wood with your hands. Everything should be cool to the touch.
  • When you think you are done, take an extra minute and add more water. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again.
  • If water is unavailable, use moist dirt. Be careful not to bury any hot or burning material, as it can smolder and later start a wildfire.
  • Finally, check the entire campsite for possible sparks or embers; it only takes one to start a forest fire.
  • If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.


Remember, a little extra care takes only a few minutes of your time, and it could prevent a wildfire.

 DNR statewide burn ban

In an effort to reduce preventable wildfires, DNR issued a statewide burn ban covering all DNR-protected lands, effective July 1, 2013, through September 30, 2013. The ban includes all forestlands in Washington except for federal lands. During the ban, designated campgrounds may allow campfires in approved fire pits. DNR or the campground management may put additional restrictions in place, including a ban on campfires, depending on weather conditions. 

Old Fashioned Labor Day Picnic and Paddle A Thon in Ocean Shores


The younger set can participate in the Community Club’s Human Hamster Ball races, or on the Pacific Bank sponsored Fire Engine “bouncer” for tots. A first for this year is a five-in-one bouncer for the older kids sponsored by Playtime Family Fun. Old fashion Cow Milking, Duck Races, Sack Races and Water Balloons are also available. And food, with several booths serving up picnic fare including those famous Lion’s Club burgers and the IGA sponsored Watermelon Eating Contest, which starts on the hour all day long. The picnic ends at 3 p.m.


Canoes, tandem and single Kayaks are available for rent from Doug of Waterway Adventures who will have all those items available on site. All items on-site are for display, demo and rental.


Food, fun and prizes galore for the young, and the young at heart, abound at this Old Fashioned Labor Day Picnic and Paddle A Thon in Ocean Shores. For more information see http://www.oceanshoresact.com/ or contact Lynda Miller at 360 289-3887.

Ocean Shores “Old Fashion Labor Day Picnic and Paddle A Thon”
Fun and activities for all ages
Date: Saturday, August 31, 2013
Time: Paddle: 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Picnic: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Place: North Bay Park, Ocean Shores, WA
Free Admission. Additionsl Information: 360-289-3887

Event flyerThe Action Committee for Tourism (ACT) and the Business’s of Ocean Shores combine to present the “Old Fashioned Labor Day Picnic & Paddle A Thon”. This event combines the fun and excitement of Human Powered Boat Races, Poker Paddle, and Wacky Boat Races with all the fun, games, and excitement of an Old Fashioned Picnic.

Enjoy the Pacific Bank Fire Dept. Bouncer for the Tots, or race one of the Community Club’s sponsored Human Hamster Balls. There will be Cow Milking, Duck Races, Sack Races, and a Water Balloon Fight. This Year a new 5/1 Bouncer for the older children is being sponsored by Playtime Family Fun. Or enter the always popular IGA sponsored Watermelon Eating Contest held every hour from 11:00 to 3:00. Lighthouse Family Medical Clinic will be on hand offering free Blood Pressure Checks, and other free health information.

Come and see how the poor victim survives the new “Shower Splash”

Meanwhile those interested in Human Powered Boat Races may begin registration at 9:00, with the first 6 mile race scheduled at 10:00 am. All Participants are required to pay a $5.00 Insurance Fee and provide their own Life Jackets and Whistle for Safety. A 2 mile race will be held at 12:00 followed by the Poker Paddle at 12:30 and a final “Wacky Race” at 3:00.

There will be Canoes, and Tandem and Single Kayaks available for rent provided by Doug of Waterway Adventures.

There will be delicious food supplied by the Lions or you may bring your own Picnic Basket. Other Picnic Fare will be available and sold by area vendors. Prizes and surprises abound.

For a Fun Day and A Great way to say farewell to Summer don’t miss the “Old Fashioned Labor Day Picnic & Paddle A Thon”, Saturday August 31st at North Bay Park.

If you are interested in becoming a vendor or need more information,

Opening Night at Grays Harbor Raceway

In an effort to bring more excitement back to GHR in 2010, double file restarts will be used in the Modified, Midget, Hobby Stock and Hornet divisions this year. The leader will start on the front row alone, with all other drivers lined up double file. There will be no more cone on the front straight, on all restarts passing will begin when you pass the chalk line in turn four.
Highlights for the 2010 season at the fast high banked 3/8’s mile clay oval considered by many as the top facility on the West Coast, includes the 2nd annual three day Little Creek Casino Resort Lucas Oil ASCS National Sprint Dirt Series that starts on Thursday July 15th, , Friday July 16th and Saturday July 17th for the running of the 4rd Annual Fred Brownfield Memorial race. Thursday will feature the North West Wingless Tour Sprint Cars and Midgets, while Friday and Saturday will include the best ASCS Drivers in the country along with the Triple X For Focus Midgets.
The Rolling Thunder Big Rig Racing Series will make their second appearance at Grays Harbor Raceway on July 24th, this event was one of the biggest attended events at Grays Harbor Raceway in 2009 as these diesel pushing Warriors put on a excellent show.
The 11th Annual Shipwreck Beads Modified Nationals will run on Friday July 30st and July 30th, that will see the top Modified drivers on the West Coast vie for the biggest Modified event in the Northwest. Friday night will feature qualifying and heat races that will determine starting spots for Saturday Night’s features, highlighting Friday will be the Pete Muller Logging Race of Champions that will include former Nationals winners and track champions. Saturday night will feature Main events and Last Chance races.
The DAA Northwest Spec Dirt Late Models Mountain Dew/AMP Energy 50’s will be here forr two shows, the first on June 19th and the second on August 28th. The Cut Rate Auto Parts Hobby/Street Stock Challenge that will feature two races at each Grays Harbor Raceway on these dates, as well as two races May 29th and August 7th at Sunset Speedway Park in Banks. Each race will pay $500 to win with an overall points Champion.
The highlight of the year as always will be the BIG E Weekend Open Wheel Extravaganza presented by the Lucky Eagle Casino on Labor Day Weekend, featuring three big nights of open wheel action. Staring off on Saturday, September 4th as the North West Wingless Tour Sprint Cars and Midgets make their third appearance of the year Grays Harbor Sunday, September 5th will see the ASCS Northwest Region event named the Night Before The Big One along with the Triple X Ford Focus Midgets and on Monday, September 7th the race everybody waits for all year along, the World of Outlaws, featuring the best 410 Sprint Cars Drivers in the world again backed by the Triple X Ford Focus Midgets. Sunday will also feature the second annual Elma Auto Racing Fall of Fame Induction Ceremony that will start at 1:00 pm
New and exciting events for 2010 include a Domino Car Jump on May 22nd by Mr. Dizzy, Fair Night on August 14th will include Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Hornets and a Bus Domino highlighted by a Fireworks Show.
August 21st will see something totally new at Grays Harbor Raceway as Extreme Night hits the Raceway with Monster Trucks, Extreme Motorcycles and Mud Drags.
September 25 will feature the Eve of Destruction Demolition Derby, a Bus Jump and Fireworks.
Other highlights include the two day ASCS Northwest Region event on Memorial Day weekend, Saturday May 29rd and Sunday May 30th, this will be a big tune up as the top ASCS drivers in the Northwest will have their only stop at GHR before the National event in July. The North West Wingless Tour will make two other stops at GHR in 2010 on July 12th and September 18th. The annual Whitney’s Auto Group Fireworks Spectacular will be on July 10th , as fans get to see the biggest fireworks display in the harbor. Championship Night for all Classes will end on September 11th as all classes will be in action for Trophy Dashes and Main Events.
Bulldog Trailers located in Chehalis will once again be a big part of the Raceway as for the third year in a row they will be giving a trailer away in the Hobby Stock division, to be eligible you must run 80% of the races and attend the 2010 banquet,
Triple X will be the class sponsor for the Ford Focus Midget Division at Grays Harbor Raceway, which will be referred to as the Triple X Ford Focus Midgets.
As part of their sponsorship, Triple X will give a new chassis away at the 2010 Championship Awards Banquet, to be eligible to win the chassis, competitors must run a Triple X sticker on their car, finish in the top ten in points or compete in 80% of the scheduled races and attend the 2010 Championship Awards Banquet.

Start times are a little different this year as the front gate will open at 4:30 pm, time trials at 5:30 pm, with racing to start at 6:30 pm.

For more information please go to www.graysharborracewayway.com or call the Raceway office at 360 482- 4374

As summer vacation ends, long-term lane closures on I-90 begin

The following restrictions will be in place 24 hours a day on I-90 from Sept. 8 to early November, between Easton (milepost 69) and Bullfrog Road (milepost 79):
  • Eastbound traffic will be restricted to one lane starting Sept. 8.
  • Eastbound and westbound traffic will be restricted to one lane starting Sept. 13.
  • Westbound traffic will be rerouted to the eastbound side of the road, as early as Sept. 16.
  • On weekends, three lanes will be open: Two lanes eastbound Friday through Sunday morning; and two lanes westbound Sunday morning through early Monday morning.
“Our crews are working with very tight timelines to deliver this critical preservation project,” said Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. “We purposely waited to do these closures after the Labor Day weekend when there are fewer travelers on the pass. Now it’s a race against the weather and winter storms.”
Drivers are advised to plan ahead, pack their patience, and plan for an extra hour to travel over Snoqualmie Pass through November. Drivers can sign up to receive e-mail updates (www.wsdot.wa.gov/emailupdates) as conditions change on I-90 between Snoqualmie Summit and Ellensburg.
For more information about the I-90 Lake Easton to Bullfrog Project or other Recovery Act- funded projects, please visit our project Web page:

Spent Labor Day weekend home? You weren’t the only one

Labor Day Weekend Travel Recap 2009

I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass
187,000 vehicles traveled both directions of Snoqualmie Pass between Friday and Monday 2009, a decrease of 18,000 vehicles (9 percent) compared with 2008.

Other comparisons with 2008 include:

  • 53,700 traveled Friday, with 2,200 (4 percent) fewer vehicle. Much of the decrease came in the westbound direction.
  • 42,200 traveled Saturday, with 5,000 (or 11 percent) fewer vehicles.
  • 42,000 traveled Sunday, with 5,800 (or 12 percent) fewer vehicle.
  • 48,800 traveled Monday, with 5,300 (or 10 percent) fewer vehicles. The data also noted a large drop after 7 p.m., when compared with 2008.

I-5, Bellingham to U.S./Canadian border
129,700 vehicles traveled both directions of I-5 near Bellingham between Friday and Monday 2009, an increase of 3,400 vehicles (3 percent) compared with 2008. Other comparisons with 2008 include:

  • 36,300 traveled Friday, with 580 (2 percent) more vehicles,
  • 32,600 traveled Saturday, with 440 (1 percent) more vehicles.
  • 31,400 traveled Sunday, with 1,000 (3 percent) more vehicles.
  • 29,300 traveled Monday, with 1,300 (4 percent) more vehicles.

I-5, Olympia to Chehalis (Thurston/Lewis county line)
258,000 vehicles traveled both directions of I-5 near the Thurston/Lewis county line between Friday and Monday, a decrease of 14,000 vehicles (6 percent) compared with 2008. Other comparisons with 2008 include:

  • 76,700 vehicle traveled Friday, with 880 (or 1 percent) fewer vehicles.
  • 63,300 vehicle traveled Saturday, with 5,600 (or 9 percent) fewer vehicles.
  • 56,100 vehicle traveled Sunday, with 5,400 (or 10 percent) fewer vehicles.
  • 61,900 vehicle traveled Monday, with 2,400 (or 4 percent) fewer vehicles.

US 2, Stevens Pass
29,900 vehicles traveled over US 2 Stevens Pass between Friday and Monday, a decrease of 6,500 vehicles (or 22 percent) compared with 2008. Other comparisons with 2008 include:

  • 8,100 vehicle traveled Friday, with 800 (or 10 percent) fewer vehicles.
  • 7,000 vehicle traveled Saturday, with 1,700 (or 25 percent) fewer vehicles.
  • 6,900 vehicle traveled Sunday, with 2,000 (or 28 percent) fewer vehicles.
  • 7,900 vehicle traveled Monday, with 2,000 (or 25 percent) fewer vehicles.

You can find many other ways to know before you go 24-hours-a-day, seven-days a week on the WSDOT Web site www.wsdot.wa.gov and WSDOT’s traveler information line, 5-1-1.