Pheasant Habitat in Washington State Dealt Legislative Win
Habitat authority increased for Eastern WA Pheasant Enhancement Program.
Olympia, Wash. – -(AmmoLand.com)-Pheasants Forever (PF) is pleased with the State of Washington’s decision to increase authority for the dollar amount the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife can spend on pheasant habitat projects via the Eastern Washington Pheasant Enhancement Program.
The Eastern Washington Pheasant Enhancement Program was created over a decade ago as a dedicated funding source to improve pheasant hunting in eastern Washington and is maintained by a dedicated percentage of small game license fees. As previously stipulated, 80 percent of the funds have been used for releasing pheasants on lands that are open for public access, with the balance of the money available for pheasant enhancement grants to private organizations, individuals, and state or federal agencies. As part of HB 1778, that stipulation has been removed, meaning a higher percentage of the dollars from the account can be spent on habitat projects which hold larger benefits for pheasants and other wildlife, as well as hunters.
Last year, approximately $270,000 was spent in Washington on the release of pheasants from the Eastern Washington Pheasant Enhancement Account, while approximately $32,000 went to habitat.
“That difference is staggering,” said Kraig Paulson, PF Field Representative in Washington, “While we understand the Eastern Washington Pheasant Enhancement Program will still release pheasants to provide opportunities for hunters, we’re pleased that going forward, there will be an increased emphasis on the habitat component of the program. Habitat restoration and enhancement should be the chief focus in improving pheasant populations and thus hunting opportunities over the long term.”
HB 1778 also increases spending authority for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife outside of the Pheasant Management Focus Area in southeast Washington (portions of Whitman, Walla Walla, Columbia, and Garfield counties), allowing for up to $100,000 to go to habitat enhancement in Grant, Franklin and Adams Counties.
“My thanks to the Pheasants Forever chapters in Washington and those who supported these measures,” Paulson added, “Part of creating habitat is giving our natural resources a voice in the halls of the legislature, and we did that this session.”
For more information on PF in Washington, to start a chapter or join one of the state’s existing chapters contact Kraig Paulson at (360)353-8200 or via email at [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> .
Since 1989, Washington’s 12 PF chapters and 1,600 PF members have spent over $1.3 million to complete over 1,400 wildlife habitat projects benefiting over 71,000 Washington acres for pheasants, quail and other wildlife.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has more than 130,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.
For additional information about Pheasants Forever, please visit www.PheasantsForever.org