Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) mission is to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife, and ecosystems while providing sustainable recreational and commercial opportunities. Applied science plays an integral role in shaping resource-management decisions at WDFW. Scientists in each of the Department’s resource programs—Fish, Wildlife and Habitat—draw from published research, monitoring data, field studies, and other sources to provide a solid, scientific foundation for the Department’s adopted management policies.
WDFW has been a critical partner in our conservation programs working with rare and endangered species. Captive rearing programs would not be possible without their collaboration and oversight. Currently, WDFW works alongside SPP and other program partners on four conservation programs:
- Raising over 50 species of rare and endangered plant species for south Puget lowland prairie restoration at three facilities: Stafford Creek Corrections Center, Shotwell’s Landing Nursery (a Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) facility staffed by SPP, crews from Cedar Creek Corrections Center, and CNLM), and Washington Corrections Center for Women. These conservation nurseries have dramatically increased the capacity of prairie restoration efforts, and the species raised are those most needed for the recovery of rare prairie-dependent butterflies, including Taylor’s checkerspot.
- Captive rearing of the federally-endangered Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly (Euphydras editha taylori) at Mission Creek Corrections Center. For this program, a grant from the U.S. Army Compatible Use Buffer program provided funding to build a state-of-the-art butterfly lab at the prison. A WDFW biologist and the Oregon Zoo have worked closely with SPP staff and inmate crew to create an exceptionally productive butterfly program.
- Captive rearing of the state-endangered Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) at Cedar Creek Corrections Center. WDFW provides training to the graduate research assistants and inmates that have worked with the frogs, and guides research. WDFW has also coordinated the release of the frogs into wild habitat at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and overseen the egg mass surveys that measure reproductive success of prison-raised frogs.
- Exploring how SPP can contribute to restoration efforts for the state-endangered Western pond turtles (Emys marmorata). A pilot program at at Cedar Creek Corrections Center is in its early stages; how well the turtles respond to daily care from inmates will determine how to update and/or expand the program.
WDFW has identified new opportunities for programs in collaboration with SPP; the scope and success of the partnership is only increasing. SPP’s conservation programs benefit WDFW by contributing to species’ recovery plans and providing settings and staff for research benefiting endangered species.