The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is inviting public comment through Feb. 12 on 10 proposals to acquire land for fish and wildlife habitat and public recreation.
Proposed acquisitions include lands in Walla Walla, Snohomish, Lincoln, Kittitas, Klickitat, Grays Harbor, Thurston and Pacific counties. Information on the properties is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/acquisitions/. The webpage also includes information on previous land acquisition projects.
Written comments on the proposed acquisitions may be submitted via email to vog.aw.wfdnull@sdnaL or by mail to Lauri Vigue, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
The review process is designed to solicit public input on the proposals before the department seeks funding sources later this year, said Cynthia Wilkerson, WDFW land conservation and restoration section manager.
“We want to give people the opportunity to comment on these proposed acquisitions before moving forward,” Wilkerson said.
After reviewing public comments, WDFW will seek potential funding for the current proposals from state and federal grants administered by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund and the North American Wetland Conservation Act.
The department employs several strategies, including land acquisitions, to meet its mandate of protecting fish and wildlife, while also providing sustainable recreational and commercial opportunities, Wilkerson said. WDFW works with private landowners and coordinates with other state, federal and local governments to ensure their lands also are managed to benefit fish and wildlife and maximize recreational opportunities.
“Land acquisition helps preserve our state’s critical habitat and species for the future,” Wilkerson said.
WDFW currently owns or manages about one million acres in 33 wildlife areas, along with 700 public water-access sites. Those properties provide habitat for fish and wildlife, as well as fishing, hunting and wildlife-watching opportunities that contribute significantly to maintaining the state’s open spaces and economy each year.