At the end of this week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will begin to translocate up to 35 Columbian white-tailed deer from Puget Island to the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-tailed Deer and the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.
The translocation process is intended to support the recovery of the deer, a federally listed endangered species. An additional 10 to 20 Columbian white-tailed deer could be translocated in 2015.
The translocations will occur periodically from approximately January 28 to April 15. USFWS will capture and move the deer in partnership with the Cowlitz Tribe, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Columbian white-tailed deer are unique to southwest Washington and western Oregon and are listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Since establishment of the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge, the probability of extinction for the Columbian white-tailed deer there has been reduced by 10 times. The Columbian white-tailed deer was recently recommended for downlisting from endangered to threatened as a result of its five-year review.
The final Environmental Assessment for the translocation and an accompanying finding of no significant impact is now available to the public. The Service developed a draft EA and solicited public comment from December 12, 2013 to January 12, 2014. The document can be downloaded from the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge website at https://www.fws.gov/jbh/translocation.html.