“Two wolves nose against nose” by Tambako the Jaguar
Read updates on House Bill 1698 from Washington Wildlife First.
Take action to save Washington Wolves. Here’s how you can help!
- House Bill 1698 overrides science-based wildlife management to give county officials undue influence over endangered wildlife. The bill sets a dangerous precedent that could have far-reaching impacts for Washington’s other protected species. Endangered wildlife must be protected by the state in the public trust, not decimated by localized fears and animus.
- House Bill 1698 is a thinly disguised wolf hunting bill. It would remove state protections for endangered wolves in almost every county where wolves now live and allow them to be managed by the same county officials who have publicly proclaimed their desire to decimate the wolf population through public hunting and liberal “lethal management.”
- Wolves have not recovered in Washington. According to the Washington Wolf Conservation & Management Plan, wolves should be established in 15 breeding pairs present in the state for at least three years, with at least 4 in eastern Washington, 4 in the northern Cascades, and 4 in the southern Cascades/northwest coastal area. As of the last annual wolf report, there were still not any successful breeding pairs in the southern Cascades/northwest coastal area.
- Washington needs to maintain a healthy population of wolves in the Northeast corner of the state to achieve statewide recovery. The Management Plan always anticipated that wolf recovery would start in one region, and then wolves would disperse from that area to the rest of the state. The state population has not achieved recovery until we have a healthy and resilient wolf population in suitable wolf habitat throughout the different regions of the state.
- Washington does not have too many wolves. At last count, there were only 206 wolves in 33 packs in the entire state. This is a fragile population that needs continued protection. At one time, Washington had a population of an estimated 5,000 wolves, which were completely exterminated by the same fear and animus that has motivated HB 1698. We cannot let history repeat itself.
- The first section of House Bill 1698 purports to value wolves and their ecological benefits, claiming that counties that have “successfully recovered” wolves need to “focus their efforts on other animals in danger of extinction.” But wolves do not “recover” one county at a time—they must meet statewide recovery objectives. A focus on wolves does not impede the recovery of other species, and there is nothing in the bill about helping to recover any other species.
- House Bill 1698 does not consider the connectivity of wolf populations beyond the narrow boundaries of county lines. Wolves do not recognize county lines, and they do not “recover” one county at a time. Reducing the wolf population in the Northeast would delay recovery by reducing the likelihood that dispersing wolves will colonize other parts of the state. Limiting killing of wolves is particularly important for recovering populations since disrupting pack social structure can postpone range expansion by reducing annual pup recruitment and the number of dispersal-aged individuals, and potentially lead to pack dissolution.
- House Bill 1698 “celebrates” wolf recovery, but Washington’s wolves have not recovered. In fact, they are facing more dangers that ever. In its initial reports, the Department of Fish and Wildlife counted 27 wolf mortalities in 2022, and that is before we know the number of wolves killed in the legal tribal hunt by members of the Colville tribe. When the final numbers are in, they will probably reveal that more than 20% of the total state wolf population was killed last year.
- Wolf poaching dramatically increased in Northeast Washington last year, with at least six wolves reportedly poisoned in Ferry County, in addition to three other wolf deaths under investigation and four wolves that were killed under a loosely interpreted “caught in the act” provision. And those are just the ones that we know about—most poaching is never discovered or reported. Giving the counties local control of wolves would not make people more accepting of wolves—to the contrary, studies show that when protections are loosened and hunting is allowed, poaching also increases.
- House Bill 1698 would contravene the conservative statewide recovery standards set by the Wolf Conservation & Management Plan and violate the commitment the legislature made when it passed House Bill 2097 in 2019, when the legislature assured the public of its “intent to support full recovery of gray wolves in Washington state in accordance with the department of fish and wildlife’s 2011 wolf recovery and management plan and state law.”
- House Bill 1698 shuts the public out of wolf management decisions. Normally, the public is allowed to review and comment on proposals for status changes for endangered species, which are also examined under the State Environmental Policy Act. Under House Bill 1698, the only entities that will have the opportunity to review county wolf plans are a single private agriculture organization, the Northeast Washington Wolf Cattle Collaborative, and the state “Wolf Advisory Group,” a body dominated by hunting and ranching interests.
- This drastic action is not necessary to help the small number of livestock owners who are affected by wolf predations each year. The most effective way for ranchers to protect their livestock from all carnivores, including wolves, is to adjust their husbandry practices and employ nonlethal deterrents. Both the state and private organizations offer significant support to advise livestock owners on improving their fencing and carcass sanitation practices and help provide range riders to protect cattle grazing on pastures and rangelands. In addition, there is a state compensation fund to pay owners for livestock lost to wolves.
- Wolves are concentrated in the Northeast because it is prime wolf country. Most packs are concentrated in and around Colville National Forest, a rugged, thickly treed area which is just where wolves belong. The state already kills entire packs in the Colville National Forest to protect cattle that are left to wander unprotected among its vast grazing allotments. The wolves in this area should be left alone to recover, not beset by even more trappers and hunters.
Announcing the combination of
Friends of the White Salmon River and Friends of Mount Adams organizations
The boards of the Friends of the White Salmon River (FWSR) and the Friends of Mount Adams (FOMA) are excited to announce the combination of their organizations.
The reason for the combination is to strengthen and broaden the mission of environmental protection for rivers and their watersheds and Mt. Adams. Both organizations are not-for-profit groups.
Historically Friends of the White Salmon River has focused on protecting and conserving resources of the White Salmon River, and its affected environment and watershed. The Friends of Mount Adams has provided environmental protection and conservation for Mt. Adams and its forested environment.
FOMA’s financial resources will be given to the FWSR board with certain provisions. Provisions include funding a science based environmental community seminar and assistance with distribution of Darryl Lloyd’s book Ever Wild. A standing committee will be created to ensure interests regarding Mt. Adams protection are furthered.
FWSR will broaden its interests to include protection and conservation for Mt. Adams and the forested environment.
While still a draft, the Mission Statement for the combined organization will be: Protect and enhance the Mt. Adams area ecosystems (including federal, state, and private lands), the White Salmon River watershed, and other Wild and Scenic River watersheds through education, research, stewardship and advocacy. The new expanded board will refine this statement.
A new name for the combined organization will be created and announced to the public. FWSR will change its website to reflect the new mission. FOMA’s digital resources, such as maps, historic and resource documents will be retained and referenced in the revised FWSR website
On April 25th, 2022, the Klickitat County Superior Court issued their 20-page ruling and findings in regard to FWSR’s appeal of the County’s action on Under Canvas. The unfavorable ruling can be read here. LUPA 21-2-183-20
The acquiring entities bring Northwest connections and deep expertise in timberlands, forest conservation and mill operations
BINGEN, Wash., Sept. 30, 2021 – A consortium of three entities – Seattle-based Twin Creeks Timber, LLC, The Conservation Fund, and Carson, Washington-based WKO, Inc. – have agreed to acquire SDS Lumber and Timber Companies. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Included in the transaction are the lumber and plywood mills, associated assets in Bingen, Wash., and over 96,000 acres of timberlands with environmental and community importance near the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon.
“We are pleased to reach an agreement with this group of organizations. Each of these entities brings deep expertise. Under their ownership and leadership there will be ongoing positive economic and environmental impacts for Bingen, the Gorge and the entire Northwest,” said Jeff Webber, president for SDS Lumber Companies. The SDS board went through a one-year process to evaluate a transition and sale of the company.
Green Diamond Resource Company, manager and investor in Silver Creek Capital Management’s Twin Creeks Timber, LLC, will acquire and manage the majority of the timberlands as working forests to support the local economy while upholding their long-standing practice of forest stewardship. “We want to ensure these timberlands will continue to provide economic and ecological benefits for generations to come,” said Douglas Reed, President of Green Diamond Resource Company.
The Conservation Fund will acquire a portion of the SDS properties and manage the conservation easement process and community engagement to ensure that lands with the highest natural, climate and community values are conserved. Larry Selzer, CEO of The Conservation Fund said, “We believe the SDS timberlands represent a once in a lifetime opportunity to demonstrate the balance of conservation and economic sustainability, and we will bring all of our accumulated forestry and real estate skills, our financial strength, and our operating success to this effort.”
Wilkins, Kaiser & Olsen, Inc. (WKO) will acquire and operate the Bingen mill and its related divisions under its newly formed subsidiary, Mt. Adams Forest Products. WKO operates a modern state of the art sawmill and planer mill with boiler and dry kilns, specializing in high quality kiln dried dimensional lumber. WKO’s affiliated company also owns and operates Mt. Hood Forest Products near Hood River, Oregon, which is a green Douglas-fir dimensional lumber producer. Between the two mills, production exceeds 300 million bd. ft. annually. “On behalf of our companies, I’d like to share how excited we are to acquire SDS Lumber. We have deep roots in Washington and Oregon and know well the positive legacy of SDS. We look forward to welcoming employees into our organizations, and shaping the future of these facilities,” said Bill Wilkins, CEO of WKO.
Additional information will be shared at the time of closing.
About Twin Creeks Timber, LLC
Silver Creek Capital Management formed Twin Creeks Timber, LLC to bring together sophisticated institutional investors and a strong operating company as manager and investor to purchase timberland across the United States. With over $1.5B in capitalization, the fund will own over 650,000 acres between the U.S. South and the Pacific Northwest with the purchase of the SDS timberlands. Learn more at www.silvercreekcapital.com
About Green Diamond Resource Company
Green Diamond Resource Company is a privately held forest products company with roots dating back to 1890. Today, the company owns working forest lands in Washington, Oregon, Montana, and California. A subsidiary, Green Diamond Management Company, provides forest management services in the U.S. South and West. All lands owned and managed by Green Diamond are independently audited and certified for sustainable forest management. More information about Green Diamond’s environmental leadership may be found at www.greendiamond.com.
About The Conservation Fund
The Conservation Fund is a national non-profit that works with public, private and non-profit partners to protect America’s legacy of land and water resources through land acquisition and sustainable community and economic development, emphasizing the integration of economic and environmental goals. Founded in 1985, The Conservation Fund has worked in all 50 states to protect over 8.5 million acres valued at over $7 billion. Through its Working Forest Fund®, The Conservation Fund has acquired more than 760,000 acres of working forestland in 18 states and deployed $800 million of capital to help mitigate climate change, strengthen rural economies and protect natural ecosystems. Learn more at www.conservationfund.org and www.workingforestfund.org.
About WKO, Inc and its Affiliates
WKO, Inc. started operations in Carson, Washington in 1962. The company has continued to grow and improve since that time through a steadfast commitment to reinvestment in facilities and technology. Mt. Hood Forest Products is an affiliated facility and began operating under company ownership in 2004. The companies look forward to a continued focus on safety and quality production with the acquisition of SDS. Learn more at https://wkoinc.com/.
About SDS Companies
SDS Lumber was established in 1946 by Wally and Bruce Stevenson and Frank Daubenspeck on the banks of the Columbia River in Bingen, Washington. They incrementally grew the business from one small green lumber mill by adding a plywood mill, a boiler with electricity generation, dry kilns, a whole log chipping mill and several versions of sawmill upgrades. Steady growth and re-investment into the mill and the continual accumulation of timberlands made SDS Lumber Company a driving force and major employer in the Columbia Gorge community. Learn more at https://sdslumber.com/.
Patti Case, Public Affairs Manager Green Diamond Resource Company
Big News!!! Today, on September 30, 2021, “A consortium of three entities – Seattle-based Twin Creeks Timber, LLC, The Conservation Fund, and Carson, Washington-based WKO, Inc. – have agreed to acquire SDS Lumber and Timber Companies. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.” Read the full announcement here.