The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is accepting public comments through September 15 on a draft plan for future management of the Blue Mountains elk herd in southeastern Washington.
One of 10 elk herds in Washington state, the Blue Mountains herd is located in Asotin, Columbia, Garfield and Walla Walla counties. The herd is known for its high proportion of large, mature elk and is currently estimated to number 4,250 to 4,700 animals.
“Conditions have changed since the last herd management plan was adopted 2001, requiring an update in our management priorities and direction,” said Paul Wik, WDFW district biologist.
The new draft plan includes several strategies to address those and other management issues. Key goals of the proposed plan include:
- Reducing elk/human conflicts, including minimizing elk damage on private property;
- Offering sustainable hunting opportunities, including general season and permit hunts and
- Coordinating and cooperating with the Nez Perce Tribe and Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation on herd management.
The draft plan for the herd is posted on WDFW’s website.
State wildlife managers will also accept comments on the draft plan at two public meetings at the end of August. Those meetings are set for:
- Aug. 29, 6-8 p.m.: CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley, WA, Room 109.
- Aug. 30, 6-8 p.m.: Dayton Memorial Library, 111 S. Third St, Dayton, WA, Delany Room.
Written comments can be submitted online to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BlueMtns or mailed to Blue Mountains Elk Herd Plan, Wildlife Program, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 2315 North Discovery Place, Spokane Valley, WA 99216-1566.
(Photo source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)