The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has extended a public comment period about the department’s proposal to change the state listing status of the Western gray squirrel from threatened to endangered.
The public now has until Friday, Oct. 27 to submit comments. A copy of the rule-making proposal is available on WDFW’s website, wdfw.wa.gov/about/regulations/development/periodic-status-review-western-gray-squirre. The public can submit comments via web form, by email, or by phone, 855-925-2801, project code 6483. The public may also mail written comments to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife ATTN: Wildlife Program, PO Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504.
Members of the public who have already submitted comments as part of this proposal do not need to re-submit their comments.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will accept in-person and virtual public comments on the proposed rule change at a rescheduled public hearing during its Oct. 26-28 meeting in Olympia. Those interested in providing comments during the meeting should pre-register online. Information on how to pre-register will be made available on the Commission Meeting webpage, wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings/2023. A decision is tentatively scheduled for the November 2023 meeting.
All members of the public are invited to share their perspectives and participate in WDFW public feedback opportunities regardless of race, color, sex, age, national origin, language proficiency, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, status as a veteran or basis of disability.
The department’s proposal, if adopted by the Commission, reclassifies the Western gray squirrel as a Washington state endangered species, communicating a higher level of conservation concern for the species, their conservation needs and recovery actions with partners and the public, according to a press release. The uplisting would also bring an increased penalty for unlawfully harassing or killing a Western gray squirrel, per state rule.