Governor Jay Inslee has appointed three exceptional new members to Washington State’s Fish and Wildlife Commission. The new Commissioners are: Dr. John Lehmkuhl, a retired wildlife biologist who served for decades with the US Forest Service in the Evergreen State; Melanie Rowland, Esq., a retired senior attorney for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who also served as Senior Counsel to The Wilderness Society; and Dr. Timothy Ragen, the retired scientific program director, and later executive director, of the federal government’s Marine Mammal Commission.
“By appointing these three scientifically astute commissioners the Governor has taken a giant step towards maintaining Washington’s wildlife and giving a voice to all constituencies of the state,” says Bob McCoy, Chair of the Mountain Lion Foundation’s board, and a Washington resident. “We owe it to our children and grandchildren to maintain the beauty and health of our State’s wildlife, clean water, and our way of life.”
“These appointments show Governor Inslee’s commitment to seeing our wildlife managed according to the best scientific evidence,” says Josh Rosenau, the Conservation Advocate in Washington for the Mountain Lion Foundation. “Too often, the whims of hunters or the fears of ranchers are allowed to overrule evidence that protects people, livestock, and wildlife. We look forward to working with these commissioners to apply science to solving the threats to wildlife and the needs of people in Washington.”
These appointments fill: a seat that stood empty for a year, a position currently filled by the Commission’s chair a year after his term expired, and another seat recently vacated due to a resignation in protest of the Commission’s vitriolic and politicized atmosphere. The Commission makes crucial decisions about hunting seasons and quotas, as with recent votes ending and then reconsidering a spring hunt for black bears and forthcoming decisions about statewide cougar hunt targets. Commissioners balance the desires of hunters with those of wildlife, as in current proposals to kill cougars in hopes that doing so would benefit the herds of Blue Mountain elk without ending the recreational hunting season. The Department of Fish and Wildlife also manages conflicts between carnivores and livestock, and plays a key role in managing salmon populations that wild orcas depend on to recover from the brink of extinction.
Commission terms last up to six years, and commissioners begin service immediately, while awaiting confirmation by the state Senate.
Founded in 1986, the Mountain Lion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to ensure that America’s lion survives and flourishes in the wild. The Foundation’s website is http://mountainlion.org.
Contact: Josh Rosenau, Conservation Advocate, Mountain Lion Foundation
916-442-2666 ext. 107