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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The mission of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is to preserve, protect, and perpetuate the state’s fish and wildlife resources and to maximize public beneficial use without impairing those resources. This is done through securing, maintaining, and enhancing diverse habitats and the species that live in them.

WDFW completed its Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy in 2005.

The agency administers the State Endangered Species Act. It provides technical support on habitat issues for Growth Management Act and Sensitive Area Ordinance development and implementation.

WDFW provides input through the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act for federally funded or permitted projects related to habitat and species protection, and it provides educational materials to agencies, communities, and individuals.

Programs include:

ALEA Volunteer Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Program

The Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account Volunteer Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Program assists volunteer organizations in fish and wildlife habitat enhancement. Work is done on private property with materials and construction cost paid by the program.

The program works with individual volunteers and volunteer organizations to enhance fish and wildlife resources and habitats. Volunteers must be organized by the grantee. Projects undertaken by volunteers include habitat projects, research projects, education projects, facility development projects, and artificial production projects.

A wide range of clients are served by this program including private landowners, corporations, tribes, and local governments. At times, public access is requested in exchange for financial assistance. WDFW staff provide technical support. 

Landowner Incentive Program

The Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant program administered by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. It provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners for conservation and restoration efforts that produce benefits to at-risk fish and wildlife species and their habitats.

Projects are identified through state and regional planning processes, as well as best professional knowledge, and utilize best available science to determine project design, prioritization, implementation, and monitoring. The program encourages local partnerships between neighboring landowners, public agencies, and private organizations.

The program is designed to assist private landowners that do not qualify for some of the larger grant programs, such as the Farm Bill programs or Salmon Recovery Funding Board grants. 

Migratory Waterfowl Artwork Program

The Migratory Waterfowl Artwork Program provides small grants to private landowners or non-profit organizations for waterfowl enhancement or restoration projects and implementation of best management practices. The program also provides funds for acquisition of WDFW properties.

Examples of projects funded include construction of nesting floats, wood duck nest boxes, fencing of overgrazed habitat, and creation of freshwater impoundments. Priority is given to projects that provide the greatest long-term benefits to waterfowl production for the lowest cost. Often grants are provided for projects on 10 acres or more. Once in the program, landowner may be required to sign an agreement with WDFW that provides public access for hunting.

Another part of this program, the Migratory Bird Stamp Program, provides approximately $300,000 annually to WDFW for migratory bird habitat acquisition and restoration of migratory bird habitat on WDFW lands. 

Partnerships with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Fisheries Restoration and Irrigation Mitigation Act (FRIMA), the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, and the Landowner Incentive Program (LIP). 

Pheasant Habitat Enhancement Program

The 1997 Washington State Legislature passed Substitute Senate Bill 5104 creating the Washington Pheasant Enhancement Program in order to increase pheasant hunting opportunities. Under this law, WDFW is authorized to release pheasants and award grants to improve pheasant habitat.

To fund this program $10 from the small game license of each eastern Washington pheasant hunter is placed in a special account. Up to 20% of these funds may be used for pheasant habitat enhancement in areas available for public hunting in eastern Washington. 


Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups

Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups are citizen based, nonprofit organizations created by the 1991 Washington State Legislature that work to recover salmon in their own communities. The 14 RFEGs create partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies, tribes, local businesses, community members, and landowners. RFEGs help with restoration, education and monitoring projects.

The RFEGs receive pass-through funds that derive from a surcharge on state recreational and commercial salmon fishing licenses, the sale of salmon carcasses and eggs, and allocations from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Every RFEG receives an equal portion of the total funds available each year. Volunteer groups or individual landowners can contact their nearest RFEG to discuss how to identify, fund, and complete a project for salmon enhancement.

Projects can include stream-side fencing, construction of off-channel rearing habitat, and estuarine and riparian habitat restoration. The program improves fish habitat on private lands with little to no cost to the landowner. Technical assistance is provided by WDFW field staff who assist in project design and implementation.

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