Guest blog by Washington Fish and Wildlife Director Jim Unsworth
Written by Jim Unsworth, Director, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Photograph by Bridget Besaw
Nature is why many of us choose to live here in the Pacific Northwest.
Whether you are an angler, a hunter, a hiker, a photographer, a camper, or just take solace in our native species and habitat, we all deeply value our lands, waters, fish and wildlife.
As Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, I have a humbling responsibility. The mission of our agency is to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.
Today as we face challenges ranging from a warming planet and wildfires to screen addiction and couch potato syndrome, this mission is more critical than ever.
That’s why we need your help.
Since I joined WDFW in January 2015, I have been asking people, “If you could tell the director of Fish and Wildlife one thing, what would you say?” Well now is the time for people all across the state to do just that. I want to hear about what we are doing right, where we need to improve, and where we should concentrate our efforts and our funding over the next five to 10 to 20 years.
This is the focus of our new multi-year initiative, Washington’s Wild Future: A Partnership for Fish and Wildlife.
We are embarking on this effort to strengthen the department’s relationships with communities, increase support for conservation and outdoor recreation, and help ensure WDFW programs and services meet the public’s needs.
The comments and proposals we receive – in public meetings, online, and via social media – will help determine priorities for conserving and managing Washington’s fish and wildlife in the coming years.
The meetings are scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. at the following dates and locations:
Sept. 30 – Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley.
Oct. 6 – WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd, Mill Creek.
Oct. 8 – Saint Martin’s University, Norman Worthington Conference Center, 5300 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey.
Oct. 14 – Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver.
Oct. 20 – Port of Chelan County Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Center Way, Wenatchee.
We will summarize the comments and suggestions from the public, as well as input from outdoor organizations and the department’s advisory groups, later this year (2015). That information will be used to help identify potential changes in WDFW’s operations and services, and to develop future policy, budget and fee proposals. We face major management challenges over the next several years, and for us to be successful we need the public’s support and assistance.
That’s what this initiative is all about – listening and working with you to build a stronger and more effective Fish and Wildlife.