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Outdoors Notebook: Wildlife vehicle plates studied

Thursday, August 5, 2004
By ALLEN THOMAS, Columbian staff writer

OLYMPIA - Vehicle owners may have several options for wildlife-themed license plates if design proposals by the Department of Fish and Wildlife are approved by a state review panel.

The wildlife agency is developing a series of license plates with six themed backgrounds using eagle, deer, elk, pheasant, bear and waterfowl.

Money from the sale of the pates would support a variety of department programs, including wildlife viewing, habitat improvement and recreational access.

The department must submit at least 2,000 signatures to the Washington State Special License Plate Review Board from potential patrons for each of the six designs before plates can be made available.

The board's recommendation would be submitted to the Legislature as a bill for possible adoption into law.

Designs and signature sheets are available at license_plates/index.htm.

Signature sheets also are available at agency offices.

"A physical signature is required, and they must be submitted to the department by Aug. 21,'' said Mike O'Malley, the agency's watchable wildlife manager. "Signing the form is not an obligation to buy a plate, but it does give us the ability to contact individuals with follow-up information should the design proposals pass.''

The proposed price of the special plates is $40 for new and $30 for renewals, in addition to regular licensing fees.

Gillnet seasons scheduled

Washington and Oregon fishery officials will meet by telephone on Aug. 13 to consider additional gillnetting for salmon and sturgeon in the lower Columbia River.

The second of five 12-hour commercial fishing periods between the mouth of the river and Bonneville Dam begins at 7 p.m. today.

The other netting periods begin at 7 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Tuesday and 7 p.m. Aug. 12.

A catch of about 12,000 fall chinook salmon is anticipated.

Wildlife workshop slated

A public workshop on the management of pheasants, whitetail deer and cougar is scheduled Aug, 28 at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.

The session, organized by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, will begin at 9 a.m. in room 200 of the Samuelson Union Building.

Dave Ware, game management chief for the agency, said the workshop is a progress report on the department's 2003-09 game management plan. State biologists will present updates on key initiatives outlined in the plan then answer questions from the public.

A timeline for developing new hunting regulations for whitetail deer will be on the agenda, plus progress reports on opening more private land to public hunting. The department recently picked 14 landowners in southeast Washington to receive money to improve pheasant habitat and allow public access.

Other topics for discussion include new research on elk and a Web-based mapping system for hunters, scheduled to go online this fall.

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