Lawmakers set meeting to address grizzly & cougar populations, other "wildlife management" issues

The Chronicle OnLine > News

7th District legislators plan meetings

OLYMPIA - Meetings are planned by 7th District legislators in Kettle Falls and Tonasket to address public concerns about grizzly bears and cougars.

Designed as updates on regional wildlife issues, the meetings are scheduled from 7-9 p.m.
The first will be Dec. 30 at the Kettle River Grange, Barstow. The second is planned for Jan. 3 in the Tonasket Elementary School commons.

Sen. Bob Morton, R-Orient, scheduled the meetings with his fellow 7th District lawmakers Rep. Cathy McMorris, R-Colville, and Rep. Bob Sump, R-Republic.

Morton said representatives of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and other wildlife agencies have been invited to address issues ranging from a plan to augment the grizzly bear population in British Columbia to the status of deer populations in eastern Washington.

"Wildlife management - whether for bear, cougar, deer or other wildlife - has a real effect on people's lives in our district," Morton said. "We want to give them a chance to get answers to their questions first hand from the various agencies involved in these decisions."

Of all the wildlife issues brought to Morton's attention, none has sparked greater concern than plans by the British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection to augment the grizzly bear population in a region of Canada north of the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests, he said.

In Washington, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated a portion of the North Cascades as a grizzly bear recovery zone, although no funding has been secured for a federal environmental impact statement that would be used to assess recovery options for the species in that area.

In either case, Morton said residents of northeastern Washington are concerned that grizzlies could stray into inhabited areas.

"To rural landowners, recovery of grizzly bears means invasion of orchards and livestock," Morton said.
With regard to cougars, the question Morton said he hears most frequently from is how to get a special state permit that allows the use of hounds to hunt them.

Steve Pozzanghera, assistant state wildlife manager, said a bear and cougar specialist from the department will attend both public meetings to explain the department's "public safety removal process" and how it is used to address cougar complaints.

Pozzanghera said the department also will have biologists on hand to answer questions about eastern Washington deer populations and other issues of interest to area residents.

"This is a great opportunity to get the most current information directly from those entrusted to manage our state's wildlife," Morton said.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

Back to Current Edition Citizen Review Archive LINKS Search This Site