Comments due on proposal to move more white-tailed deer

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CATHLAMET, Wash. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to relocate up to 35 Columbian white-tailed deer from Puget Island to the Ridgefield and Julia Butler Hansen national wildlife refuges in 2014 and 10 to 20 more to Ridgefield in 2015.

Public comment on a draft environmental assessment will be accepted until Jan. 12.

Columbian white-tailed deer are unique to Southwest Washington and Western Oregon and are listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Moving the deer from Puget Island to the two refuges is intended to promote recovery of the species by stabilizing the Julia Butler Hansen and Ridgefield subpopulations.

The federal wildlife agency will capture and move the animals in partnership with the Washington and Oregon departments of Fish and Wildlife and Cowlitz Tribe. The capture and transfer would occur from Jan. 20 to April 15 in 2014 and Dec. 15, 2014 to April 15, 2015.

The draft environmental document can be downloaded at the Ridgefield refuge website at www.fws.gov/ridgefieldrefuges/ridgefield.

Comments, and requests for a CD of the draft assessment, can be sent to willapa@fws.gov, can be faxed to 360-484-3482 or mailed to: Project Leader, 3888 State Route 101, Ilwaco, Wash., 98624.