The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources. The department operates under a dual mandate from the Washington Legislature to:
WDFW has five broad programs to provide sound stewardship of the state’s fish and wildlife resources: Fish Program (which includes harvest and hatchery management); Wildlife Program (which includes wildlife and lands management; Habitat Program (which includes regulatory and technical services); Enforcement Program; and Business Services Program. These programs carry out a broad range of functions including: Basic research; Stock assessment; establishing harvest numbers and seasons; habitat protection; habitat restoration and creation; inventory and regulating the maintenance on fishways; identify and track priority habitats and priority species; hatchery production of fish, shellfish, and game birds; management of over 800,000 acres of land for the recreational enjoyment of fish and wildlife and the conservation of important habitats; public access to state waterways; regulate land-use activities that effect fish and wildlife; and enforce Fish and Wildlife regulations.
Within the Skagit Basin, WDFW is an important landowner. It provides hunting areas and important habitat for waterfowl and other species (including bald eagle wintering areas). WDFW has a salmon hatchery and steelhead rearing facilities, and provides several public boat launch sites along the river. WDFW has been inventorying potential salmon habitat enhancement sites and has been conducting enhancement projects in the basin since 1981. WDFW also has a District Office located in LaConner that supports all of its programs.
Reason for Participating on the Skagit Watershed Council
Department policy is guided by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission composed of nine citizen members appointed by the Governor. Department operations are led by a Director and an Executive Management Team. The Director is appointed by the Fish and Wildlife Commission. The department is headquartered in Olympia and operates six regional offices throughout the state.