Species has made a strong recovery on the Lower Columbia River
OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is taking public advice on a status review of the brown pelican that recommends removing the bird from the state endangered species list.
The document is available online at wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01693 and public comments will be accepted through May 15.
WDFW staff members will present the review and their recommendation to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor, later in the year. The commission will make a decision on the recommendation at a subsequent meeting. For meeting dates and times, check the commission webpage at wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.
Brown pelicans visit the Washington coast seasonally, typically from April through November. The species received federal protection in 1970, after a widespread decline in the population linked to pollutants. Brown pelicans have been on Washington’s endangered list since it was established in 1980.
Over the past decade as many as 16,000 brown pelicans have been spotted during annual surveys in the Columbia River estuary and off the southern Washington coast. The annual population in the same area had dropped to as few as 100 pelicans from 1979 to 1986.
Although brown pelicans were removed from the federal Endangered Species Act in 2009, the species is still protected under the federal Migratory Bird Act. If delisted from Washington’s endangered species list, brown pelicans would still receive protection given to all non-game birds in the state.
Written comments on the review and recommendation can be submitted via email to TandEpubliccom@dfw.wa.gov or by mail to Penny Becker, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
Forty-six species of fish and wildlife are listed for protection as state endangered, threatened or sensitive species.