Under new state laws, residents face fines for feeding bears

October 22, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 22, 2012

Under new state laws, residents face fines for feeding bears intentionally or otherwise, such as by leaving food waste in bear-prone locations.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife reminded residents about the changes Oct. 19, as black bears start to appear more frequently in areas populated by humans.

“This is the time of year when bears are looking to build up as much fat as possible to get through winter,” said Mike Cenci, deputy Department of Fish and Wildlife police chief, said in a statement. “Putting food scraps out for them or leaving garbage cans or pet food exposed is an open invitation for them to pay you and your neighbors a visit.”

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Encounter at Issaquah school offers bear safety reminder

October 16, 2012

Mike Pernack spotted a black bear cub in Squak Mountain’s Big Bear Court neighborhood Oct. 4. By Mike Pernack

Issaquah Valley Elementary School administrators briefly put the campus into lockdown Oct. 3 after surprise guests ambled onto school grounds.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife officers, plus Mishka, a Karelian bear dog, responded to the downtown Issaquah school, but arrived after a female bear and trio of cubs dashed across campus.

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Bear on campus puts Issaquah Valley Elementary into lockdown

October 10, 2012

Bears roam on the Issaquah Valley Elementary School campus Wednesday. By Jake Kuper, Issaquah School District

NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 10, 2012

A bear and three cubs paid a surprise visit Wednesday to Issaquah Valley Elementary School, prompting administrators to put the building into lockdown.

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Join ‘Gill’-iver’s Travels at Salmon Days to experience salmon migration

October 7, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 7, 2012

In addition to the Roving Fish Fan hunt at the Salmon Days Festival, the downtown Issaquah Salmon Hatchery features “Gill”-iver’s Travels — a chance for children and adults to assume the role of a migrating salmon.

(Trust us, nobody dies at the end of the journey.)

The experience starts at the entrance of the hatchery, 125 W. Sunset Way. Then, participants head to booths to answer questions about salmon, the environment and water quality. Show the passport to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife at the end of the journey to receive a fishy treat.

The program comes together through the efforts of the state fish and wildlife agency, the state Department of Natural Resources, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery and King County.

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Hatchery celebrates 75 years as Salmon Days returns

October 6, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 6, 2012

Salmon Days draws an average of 150,000 visitors to the streets of Issaquah. However, over the course of the fall season, between 9,000 and 10,000 students alone journey from all over the Puget Sound region to the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery to learn more about the star of the show.

Celebrating its 75th year in operation, the hatchery has evolved to include more learning opportunities for the young and young-at-heart. Bringing that history lesson to the masses via PowerPoint is Jane Kuechle, hatchery executive director.

The hatchery site actually was once part of the aptly named City Park, connected to downtown Issaquah via a wooden bridge over Issaquah Creek. The park, with its bandstand and speaking platform, played host to holiday celebrations and many a family picnic along the creek.

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Leaders celebrate 75th anniversary of wildlife law

October 2, 2012

State leaders recently celebrated a federal law passed 75 years ago to help Washington and other states manage wildlife, purchase habitat and educate hunters.

Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Phil Anderson said the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, has provided Washington with about $7 million in recent years to support wildlife conservation and hunter education initiatives.

Sept. 2 marked 75 years since Roosevelt signed the legislation into law.

Congress and the president enacted the measure at the urging of organized outdoor groups, state wildlife agencies, and the firearms and ammunition industries. The legislation extended the existing 11-percent excise tax on sport hunting ammunition and firearms and earmarked the proceeds for state investments in wildlife conservation.

Lake Sammamish kokanee need long-term fix

September 25, 2012

Dallas Cross

Oncorhynchus nerka, our kokanee salmon in Lake Sammamish, is a threatened native species with greatly reduced numbers spawning in streams feeding the lake.

Most of their historical spawning areas are now denied by barriers or degraded as a result of land development.

Until recently, Lake Sammamish kokanee have not been included with other salmon species in conservation measures and have been low in profile for public concern.

For the past several years, an effort of the environmentally concerned and governmental communities adjacent to Lake Sammamish have participated in defining the problem, setting goals and taking action to address the threatened loss of the kokanee.

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State receives $22 million for salmon recovery projects

September 11, 2012

State salmon recovery managers received $22 million to support restoration projects statewide, officials announced Sept. 6.

The total includes $15 million for the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board to award as competitive grants for projects statewide. In addition, $3.3 million from the federal grant goes to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for hatchery and harvest reform projects.

“A healthy Washington state economy is reliant on healthy salmon populations,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a statement. “Salmon support jobs and small businesses — especially our mom-and-pop tackle shops, restaurants, fishing guides and hotels.”

Recreational salmon fishing creates almost $130 million in economic activity annually, according to a 2006 Department of Fish and Wildlife study.

Issaquah Salmon Hatchery celebrates 75 years

September 4, 2012

See salmon, Snoqualmie carver at open house

Members of Girl Scout Troop 200 and some Canadian Girl Scout guests sit at the edge of one of the fish ponds Oct. 3, 1970, during a tour of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery given by Mayor Keith Hansen (far left) during the first Salmon Festival. File

Salmon reached the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery late last month, but the arrival is not the only celebration at the downtown landmark.

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Leaders mark 75th anniversary of wildlife restoration law

September 4, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 4, 2012

State leaders recently celebrated a federal law passed 75 years ago to help Washington and other states manage wildlife, purchase habitat and educate hunters.

Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Phil Anderson said the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, provided Washington with millions of dollars to support wildlife conservation and hunter education initiatives.

Sept. 2 marked 75 years since Roosevelt signed the legislation into law.

The law is better known as the Pittman-Robertson Act after the prime sponsors, U.S. Sen. Key Pittman, D-Nev., and U.S. Rep. A. Willis Robertson, D-Va.

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