The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will hold a public workshop Dec.19 to kick off an updated planning process for the South Puget Sound Wildlife Area in western Washington.
The workshop is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m., Dec. 19, at North Mason High School, 150 E. North Mason School Road, Belfair.
The wildlife area consists of seven separate units that cover roughly 5,560 acres in Mason, Kitsap, Pierce, and Thurston counties. The management plan will address the status of wildlife species and their habitat, wildlife restoration efforts, and public recreation, said Darric Lowery, wildlife area manager.
There are units in Mason County including the Union River [452-acre located at the inland terminus of Hood Canal, is part of a larger complex of conservation and recreation lands that encompass Lynch Cove, the mouth of the Union River, and surrounding forested shorelines. The site is managed for multiple uses, including passive recreation, nature study, hunting, and habitat restoration. Local habitat and recreation management partners include the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group (The Salmon Center) and the North Mason School District (Theler Community Center).] and Skokomish [45 acres of floodplain and 104 acres of estuary habitat on the Skokomish River north of Shelton in Mason County. The WDFW George Adams Fish Hatchery is situated on the southern property and covers several acres. The northern property at the Skokomish River delta provides waterfowl hunting access.]
At the upcoming meeting, WDFW staff members will review the wildlife area’s history, discuss the planning process, and ask for public comments, Lowery said.
“We want to hear from the public about how people use this area as well as what recreation and natural resource values are important to them,” he said. “We’re also looking for interested citizens to sit on the wildlife area advisory committee.”
The South Puget Sound Wildlife Area advisory committee guides development of the wildlife area plan and ongoing management activities, including those involving volunteers, Lowery said. Those interested in serving on the committee can contact him at 360-701-5145 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lowery said the public will also have opportunities to comment at upcoming advisory committee meetings and when the draft plan is developed.
Information on the wildlife area’s seven units is available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/south_puget_sound/.