Proposed acquisition of TransAlta Centralia Mine Property would benefit fish and wildlife conservation and provide public access for recreation

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is interested in acquiring 9,600 acres of the Centralia Mine property owned by TransAlta in Thurston and Lewis counties. With access to forest lands becoming much more limited in recent years, WDFW believes this land acquisition would benefit public access, recreational opportunities, and the local economy. Because reclamation work is still in process, the property would be opened to the public in phases.

The proposed acquisition also includes approximately 200 acres owned by the Industrial Park at TransAlta (IPAT) that lies fully within the mine property’s footprint.

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Get to know behavior, hunting methods for chukar, gray partridges

Though the season for singing about partridges in pear trees is behind us, there is some time remaining in the Eastern Washington gray partridge and chukar hunting season, so we wanted to share a closer look at pursuing these birds and their biology.

Jan. 18 marks the last chance for chukar and gray (Hungarian) partridge hunting this season, so we’ve gathered information from WDFW biologists for the benefit of both seasoned and new hunters making a late-season push.

A chukar perched on rocks scans its surroundings
A chukar perched on rocks scans its surroundings
Chukar, like this one seen in the Swakane Unit of the Chelan Wildlife Area, prefer dry, rocky, steep terrain. (Alan L. Bauer)

Hunting chukar partridge

Chukars are native to Asia and Southern Europe, and they thrive in dry, rocky, steep country with an emphasis on steep. Although now found through the western United States and in parts of British Columbia and Mexico, some of the best chukar hunting is found in the Snake River region of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. …

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Cascade red fox with silvery-black fur and white-tipped tail. Photo by M. Reid

By Alex Biswas

These days, an increasing number of us are escaping to the outdoors. Contribute to conservation on your hike by reporting your wildlife observations to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

These data provide scientists with information that can be used to study changes in our ecosystems. The recent wildfires have been devastating to Washingtonians — both human and wildlife. We need your help now more than ever.

Please remember to #RecreateResponsibly to protect yourself, others, and the outdoors.

“How do I report a wildlife observation?”

Reporting an observation is easy! Take a look at our reporting tool, here.

The first step in the survey asks you to give us an idea of what you observed. The survey will then prompt you with questions that are specific to that animal and your experience. You can either submit your data while you’re on your hike, or once you return home. …

Give ice fishing a try!

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Perch caught at Curlew Lake in December of 2020.

If you’re like many eastern and north central Washington residents, you are trying to social distance from other people but growing restless with being cooped up inside with limited sources of entertainment. And you still have at least a few more winter months ahead. This year embrace winter and try something new; ice fishing. This sport makes it easy to avoid people, it’s outside, is relaxing, and inexpensive. And with some safety precautions, you can be doing it safely in no time.

With the recent freeze-thaw cycle, you still need to wait to get out on the ice until temperatures fall below freezing for an extended amount of time. But once they do, the colder regions of the state (like eastern and north central Washington) turn into prime spots for catching trout, perch, and crappie through the ice. …

A finished dish of wild turkey enchiladas rests on a counter
A finished dish of wild turkey enchiladas rests on a counter
Read on for Bob Krajczynski’s wild turkey enchilada recipe. (Bob Krajczynski)

Hunters share field-to-table recipes for resident game birds

Today we are celebrating upland bird and turkey recipes from fellow hunters who heard our call to share their culinary craft with other outdoorsmen and women.

Whether it was a tasty forest grouse recipe for camp cooking or a full-on wild turkey dinner, we asked hunters to send in their favorite recipes and they answered.

So, if you had a good season already and have some birds in the freezer or are getting in late-season hunts for quail, chukar, gray partridge, or pheasant in Eastern Washington before those seasons close Jan. 18, read on for the recipes we received. …

In the natural resources field, we generally think that fish, snails, mussels and other critters are pretty cool. But there are a couple we don’t like; that we don’t even want in our state. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is the lead agency for statewide management of aquatic invasive animal species (AIS); non-native organisms that invade ecosystems beyond their natural historic range. In Washington, zebra and quagga mussels are the biggest aquatic invasive species threat, followed by European green crab and northern pike; but there are many others.

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Invasive zebra mussels encrust the propeller of a boat motor.

Washington’s aquatic invasive species threats
Nationally, invasive species cause hundreds of billions of dollars in economic and environmental damage while seriously impacting human use of natural resources. For instance, quagga and zebra mussels are known for devastating water-dependent industries like agriculture, hydropower, and municipal drinking water supplies. To date, the Columbia River basin is the last major watershed in the U.S. …

Solving Community Scientists’ Salamander Mystery

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April 6, 2020 — Undisclosed Location, Kirkland Backyard . . .

From: The Freni Family — Dad on behalf of Oliver (son)

To: Auntie Sharon, WDFW North Puget Sound Licensing Account Rep.

“Favor Please? Oliver caught this salamander today in our garden. We’re trying to identify it. It’s super long and has tiny arms. We looked on WDFW website and best guess, it’s a Dunn’s Salamander, but those only live in Southeast WA. If it’s a new species, Oliver votes, “Freni’s Dragon Salamander.”

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November/December 2020

Hello all,

Seasons Greetings! I hope this winter is keeping you and yours healthy and happy, and that you are still getting out to enjoy Washington’s outdoors.

2020 has been a year like no other. Here at WDFW, we’re trying to focus on our mission to preserve, protect, and perpetuate the state’s fish, wildlife and ecosystems and provide sustainable opportunities despite the destabilizing influence of a global pandemic. We’ve appreciated your support as we collectively navigate this hopefully once-in-a-century crisis.

This year we set a long-term course with our 25-Year Strategic Plan. At a time that has been driven by short term adjustments, I see it as an accomplishment that we are still prioritizing the need to address environmental and social challenges that require long-term thinking and urgent commitment. …

Work in other outdoor activities for a full outing

By Michael J. Foster/WDFW

“One thing at a time.”

“You have too much on your plate.”

“Do what you’re doing.”

No way.

When it comes to upland game bird hunting in Washington, you can sometimes really make the most of your outing by targeting multiple species.

What’s more is that when the timing’s right, you can even add some of your other favorite outdoor activities into the mix in a single-day effort or spread out over a few days.

With some planning, you could find yourself with a mixed bag of not only upland game bird species but also your favorite outdoor experiences thrown in with your quarry. …

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Manual spawning of rainbow trout takes place every fall at the Spokane Hatchery, to ensure future generations of the fish are available to stock area lakes the following spring. It’s a wet job, with volunteers from across the agency getting together several times throughout November and December to spawn thousands of trout. And while it’s a lot of work, it results in some great fisheries throughout eastern Washington.

This video shows the steps involved in manually spawning trout.

Also, on spawning days each fall, WDFW staff use some of the eggs and milt (sperm from the male fish) gathered to create triploid trout to also be planted in Washington lakes and rivers. …


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.

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