The Wahkiakum County Eagle in Washington State reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing an emergency translocation of Columbian white-tailed deer from Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-tailed Deer near Cathlamet to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge due to the imminent failure of the Steamboat Slough dike, a dike owned and maintained by Diking District 4 along the Columbia River boundary of the JBH Refuge.
As we continue to wait for the fiscal cliff drama to play out in Washington DC, it’s important to note that “Although technology exists to fix the impending dike breach, there are no funds available for the effort at this time.”
So without funding to fix the dike, the USFWS is working on a plan to move 100 of the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer most at risk.
The endangered deer is one of 30 subspecies of white-tailed deer in North America, and the only one found west of the Cascade Mountains. These deer once ranged throughout the river valleys west of the Cascade Mountains from the Umpqua River in Oregon, northward through the Willamette Valley to Puget Sound, and westward down the lower Columbia River.
According to the Wahkiakum County Eagle:
Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to translocate approximately half of the deer on the Cathlamet refuge to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Fish and Wildlife also proposes to stabilize an existing small subpopulation at Cottonwood Island near Longview by translocating 15 deer from Puget Island.
Capture and translocation would occur up to three times per week. Monitoring of the translocated deer would occur three times per week for the first month post release, at least once per week for the next three months, and at least once per month to six months post release…
As part of the emergency effort, Fish and Wildlife has developed a Draft Environmental Assessment and opened a period of public comment.
That document can be found on the JBH Refuge website at: http://www.fws.gov/jbh/Planning/Planning.html. All comments must be received by January 2, 2013. A Final Environmental Assessment addressing all comments will be published on the JBH Refuge website in early 2013.