Native American Heritage Day

Celebrating our partnership with Washington tribes

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is proud to serve as a partner alongside Native American tribes throughout Washington to work towards making our state a better place for residents and wildlife. Here are just a few projects that we partnered with tribes with in the last year:

Northern Pike

WDFW partnered with the Spokane, Kalispel and Confederated Colville tribes, as well as several public utility districts, in May 2019 for a northern pike suppression effort on Lake Roosevelt.

Northern pike are voracious predator fish that have the ability to eradicate some native salmon species. A single large female northern pike can produce tens of thousands of eggs. If not controlled, this species could spread through the entire Columbia River system, killing off other fish species.

To combat this, the partners above teamed up for a week of removing northern pike on the river, catching 450.

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WDFW staff place nets during a coordinated effort at Lake Roosevelt to remove invasive northern pike.

Short-tailed Grouse Recovery

For many years, Region 2 (North Central) has partnered with the Colville Confederated Tribes (CCT) on sharp-tailed grouse recovery. WDFW and CCT biologists combined forces to trap and relocate birds from Idaho, Utah, and British Columbia, and bring then to Okanogan County on and off the reservation. In fact, 2020 will be the third year three of the effort. The next translocated birds are slated to be split between release sites on the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area and the Colville Reservation.

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Research Scientist Schroeder retrieves a sharp-tailed grouse from a live trap. The bird is one of many translocated to Washington to augment the population in the central part of the state.

Mountain Goat Relocation

In 2019, WDFW worked with the Olympic National Park, USDA Forest Service, and a host of other partners to translocate 101 mountain goats to the North Cascades. Several area tribes lent support for translocation in the Cascades including the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Suak-Suiattle Indian Tribe, Stillaguamish Tribe, and Tulalip Tribes. The Muckleshoot, Stillaguamish, and Tulalip Tribes also provided additional funding to make the project possible.

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A Mountain Goat is prepped for relocation.

European Green Crabs

After invasive European green crabs were found near the Washington-Canadian border in Blaine, the Lummi Nation worked with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Washington Sea Grant Crab Team to set traps on reservation tidelands, where they captured 36 invasive European green crabs from two locations in Lummi Bay. This is just one example of a Washington tribe working with state natural resource managers to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. WDFW and the Crab Team are working in partnership with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Makah Tribe, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Samish Indian Nation, Stillaguamish Tribe, Suquamish Tribe, and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community to monitor dozens of sites in hopes of preventing invasive European green crab from establishing populations.

European green crabs are a globally damaging invasive species that pose a threat to Washington’s economic, environmental, and cultural resources. Potential impacts include destruction of eelgrass beds and estuarine marsh habitats, threats to the harvest of wild shellfish and the shellfish aquaculture industry, the Dungeness crab fishery, salmon recovery, and a complex array of ecological impacts to food webs, which could negatively impact human uses and cultural resources of the Salish Sea.

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A green crab found while doing trapping in Puget Sound waters.

Creating habitat for fish species in the Yakima River basin

The Yakama Nation — working alongside WDFW, the Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group, The Nature Conservancy, the Department of Natural Resources and others — has been instrumental in floodplain restoration work with their long running “wood fiesta,” a project that used helicopters to place thousands of logs into 24 miles of Yakima River tributaries for the benefit of salmon and people across the state.

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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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