The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) released a draft strategic plan designed to help WDFW invest in connections with communities and partners to improve fish, wildlife and habitat outcomes. It’s a need that members of the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission and Director Kelly Susewind identified a year ago in light of Washington’s growing human population, a changing climate, and shifting public expectations.

Susewind is encouraging people to provide feedback, “Understanding how we can meet public expectations is a big part of whether we’re going to be successful stewards of fish, wildlife and the public’s trust. If we’re on the right or wrong track, we want to know.”

To craft the plan, Jeff Davis, WDFW director of conservation policy, has been reaching out internally and externally to an array of diverse interests. “We heard a lot of consistency on what we need to keep doing, and what we need to improve. Conversations repeatedly circled back to the need to see significant strides in conservation if we’re going to avoid continued fish and wildlife population declines – through community engagement and science, in particular.” 

The draft plan focuses on five key areas of change:

  • Proactively address conservation challenges,
  • Build passionate constituencies through community engagement,
  • Connect people to nature and conservation through recreation and stewardship,
  • Deliver science that informs Washington’s most pressing fish and wildlife questions, and
  • Move WDFW toward operational and environmental excellence.

The 25-year plan will also help the department to take a longer view of its work, said Davis. “We want to provide clarity around our intention so others can join us, and we can join them, to support our state’s fish and wildlife.”

The Commission is inviting the public to share their thoughts at upcoming digital meetings June 12, currently scheduled for 1:50 p.m., and July 17, 2020. Department staff are also encouraging feedback online through July 10, 2020. To view a copy of the draft plan and provide feedback, visit wdfw.wa.gov/about/administration/strategic-planning.

The Commission intends to consider adoption of the plan at their Aug. 21 meeting.

The Commission is a citizen panel appointed by the governor that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.