Graphic that has WDFW logo and titled WDFW Connections

Spring 2021

Hello Everyone:

Summer brings a lot of joy to outdoorspeople. We are well into fishing season, kayaks are splitting the early morning waters, children are learning to bike and fly kites, and the camping gear is getting good use as we enter one of the most beautiful times in Washington.

It is also a time of preparation and care. For our part, spring and summer are incredibly busy for our fish and wildlife biologists, enforcement officers, and land managers. Our staff are monitoring and caring for species and habitats and conducting surveys on the distribution and abundance of fish and wildlife species.

Summer is time for family, friends, and life outdoors. Please enjoy recreating outdoors, and do so responsibly. Pay attention to fire restrictions while camping. Pack out what you pack in. Know the land ownership before going afield and follow posted recreation rules and guidance.

This is a great time to be outside. Let’s take it in and enjoy what we conserve together.

Sincerely,

Kelly Susewind
WDFW Director

Bumble bee feeding on flower

Help Conserve Bumble Bees

The Western States Bumble Bee Atlas will establish a regionwide network to gather data to provide a better understanding of bumble bee distributions and habitats including four western bumble bee species of conservation concern. This project builds on work done since 2018 by the Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas, a collaboration between state agencies and conservation organizations in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Fueled by volunteer community scientists, the atlas gathers data throughout the region that helps shape conservation work. The project is funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration program through a competitive State Wildlife Grant, and is in partnership with Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Fish and Wildlife, and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Watch our series of videos for an inside view of how you can help.

You child on a boat wearing a life jacket holding a large bass vertically

Celebrate Bass Week (July 12–16)

With more than 1,000 lakes containing bass statewide, and some outstanding river fishing opportunities, both smallmouth and largemouth bass offer excellent fishing in Washington waters. And, you don’t have to own a boat to catch bass — some of the state’s best fishing can be done from docks or along the shoreline. Our second annual “Bass Week” will take place July 12–16, when we’ll highlight some of the best bass waters in Washington, provide bass fishing tips, and answer your questions on all things bass.

Drawing that says “Stop Don’t tank our Wild Washington”

“Don’t Let it Loose” Art Contest Winners

WDFW partnered with the Washington Invasive Species Council to sponsor an art contest as part of the “Don’t Let it Loose” campaign, which explains the dangers of releasing unwanted pets and plants into the wild and highlights other ways to rehome them. Artists of all ages submitted a wide range of entries. Winners were chosen in four age divisions: 5–9; 10–14; 15–18; and 19+. Winners from each division received awards ranging from stickers to Amazon gift cards and had their artwork displayed on Washington Invasive Species Council and WDFW social media platforms. To see all the submissions, visit the Washington Invasive Species Council website.

Enjoy Local Washington Seafood this Summer

Whether you’ve brought it home from the market or your own harvest adventure, there’s truly no better time to enjoy Washington seafood. Get out the grill and check with your market for local Washington shrimp, crab, salmon, halibut, ground fish, tuna, and other fish and shellfish. Watch for barbeque recipe catering to yet more ways to enjoy your life outdoors.

Meet the WDFW staff and commercial fishers helping to bring local Washington seafood to families’ tables, restaurant menus, and dockside and retail markets by taking in our YouTube playlist.

To learn more how WDFW is supporting sustainable Washington seafood — and where you can find it locally — visit our local seafood webpage.

Large grassland with trees of different sizes in the distance.

The Conservation Fund purchases ranch in Tenino

The Conservation Fund announced its purchase of the 1,567-acre ranch just west of the City of Tenino. This acquisition is a critical step to establishing the future WDFW Violet Prairie Wildlife Area Unit. The Conservation Fund is a nationally recognized nonprofit that focuses on land conservation that makes both environmental and economic sense. The Conservation Fund will work with WDFW and hold the Violet Prairie property until adequate funding is available for the ultimate purchase, long-term management, and protection of this important habitat. In the short term, the property will remain closed until appropriate provisions are made for public use. When the property is eventually open as a wildlife area, it will support public recreational opportunities such as hiking, hunting, and wildlife viewing. The new unit will be managed as part of the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area. Protection of the Violet Prairie is a high priority for the state due in part to its unique habitat features. It includes Puget lowland prairies, wet prairie-oak woodlands, riparian areas, and conifer forests the provide habitat for various wildlife, including the federally threatened Mazama pocket gopher.

Graphic of distances boats should stay back if Southern Resident Killer Whales are nearby

Help protect endangered Southern Resident killer whales

WDFW has been leading a public engagement campaign this spring and summer to let recreational boaters know about the regulations in place to help protect Southern Resident killer whales. Partners such as The Whale Museum/Be Whale Wise, Washington State Parks, Recreational Boating Association of Washington, Lummi Nation, NOAA Fisheries, Puget Sound Partnership, Washington Sea Grant, San Juan County, and Northwest Marine Trade Association, are working hard to help get the word out. Please take a moment to watch and share a new Be Whale Wise video available on YouTube.

Take the Office of Equity listening survey

The new Washington State Office of Equity is gathering collective wisdom for a five-year strategic plan to help our state bridge opportunity gaps and reduce disparities. We at WDFW are asking for your help. Historically and currently, not all communities have the same opportunities to access the outdoors. Learn more and complete a survey to have your voice heard towards more welcoming participation experiences.

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