Her first bill ensures better notice of wildlife relocations

The state now must give local officials detailed information before introducing big game animals.

Carolyn Eslick

Carolyn Eslick

OLYMPIA — A state lawmaker from Sultan has succeeded in making the state Department of Fish and Wildlife do a better job of spreading the word on any wildlife-relocation plan.

A new law, authored by Rep. Carolyn Eslick, R-Sultan, requires the state agency to hold a public hearing in a community near to where it is considering the transfer, relocation or introduction of any big game animals. And it mandates the agency provide that community’s elected leaders advance notice of the public meeting as well.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 2276 on March 22, concluding an effort begun several years ago by former state Sen. Kirk Pearson, of Monroe.

“I just picked up the ball and carried it to the finish line,” Eslick said moments after the governor handed her the pen used to sign the legislation.

This is Eslick’s first bill to be signed into law. It passed unanimously in the House and Senate and will take effect in June.

It requires Fish and Wildlife officials to provide at least 30-day notice of any public hearing on any potential relocation effort.

The announcement of the hearing must include information on the species and number of animals involved, where they will be released, and an estimate of the potential range the wildlife is likely to roam.

Per the law, written notices must be sent to “the mayor or county executive of any location that is likely to be impacted by the presence of the wildlife.” Similar notices also must be sent to the members of a town, city or county legislative body.

At the public hearing, the law requires department officials explain the proposed action and management plans “in sufficient detail to provide an understanding of the reasons for the proposed movement and potential impacts of the action in or near the community.”

Eslick said a critical component is “making sure the (hearing) notification is proper and in plenty of time so the public can make the time to attend.”

She wanted language requiring community leaders be informed because they might not see a press release put out by the state agency and they can help spread the word.

Case in point, she said, is the current conversation about relocating mountain goats from the Olympic National Park to their native habitat in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a press release March 6 with dates of four upcoming public meetings, including March 21 in Darrington. She said the Darrington mayor was unaware of the meeting until she told him.

Another public meeting on the relocation plan was set for Monday evening in Sultan City Hall.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Soper Hill roundabout and pedestrian trail work wraps up

Lake Stevens and Marysville worked together on the traffic infrastructure because of nearby development.

Rep. Larsen tours small businesses given federal PPP loans

The congressman said leaders in Washington D.C. continue to negotiate for further COVID-19 relief.

Deputies: ‘Abnormal strength’ led to forceful arrest in 2018

Newly released reports give Snohomish County deputies’ side in a case that’s now central to a lawsuit.

Oak Harbor Public Schools decide on plan for fall opening

Conditions which must be met for a combination of in-person education and distance learning.

Police dog nabs, nips man suspected of burgling smoke shops

Monroe police arrested a man after two smoke shops were broken into Monday morning.

Local families praise state’s online early education program

The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program found creative ways to reach kids during COVID.

Some waited months for jobless benefits, and some wait still

Not all 81,000 cases are resolved, but some people finally received thousands of dollars in back payments.

New help during COVID: Counselors reach out with resources

Funded by the CARES Act, 10 community social workers are deployed across Snohomish County.

Latest COVID spike may have peaked in July, data shows

New numbers are a positive step forward, but some metrics are headed in the wrong direction.

Most Read