Shutdown’s impact minimal for local wildlife managers

January 5, 2019

The federal government’s multi-day shutdown has minimally impacted Idaho and Washington wildlife management.

So far the highest-profile victim of the shutdown, which started Dec. 22, was the popular Eagle Week in Coeur d’Alene.

The week is sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Idaho Fish and Game. Kiira Siitari, a spokesperson for Idaho Fish and Game, said the agency didn’t have time to replace federal workers or equipment..

Otherwise IDFG has not been impacted by the shutdown. However, if the shutdown were to continue several larger projects could be impacted, she said in an email.

“Most of the work we do with our federal partners is long term,” she said. “So we wouldn’t expect to see impacts within just a few weeks.”

Examples of longer term habitat improvement projects include the Coeur d’Alene Basin Restoration Partnership and the Panhandle Forest Collaborative.

“We’re continuing to do jobs at the state level and have not seen any immediate effects on our ability to continue doing them,” she said.

The story is similar in Washington, said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Staci Lehman.

“At this point we’re not really impacted,” she said.

A few WDFW employees are on federal contracts, she said, but that money is granted cyclically. If the shutdown continues WDFW may have to “move some money around,” she said.

“Like everybody else we’re trying to wait to see what will happen,” she said.

The Spokane Tribe of Indians’ fish and wildlife programs are not impacted by the shutdown, said Brent Nichols, the manager of the tribal fisheries.

While some national parks have been flooded trash and human waste that’s not the case in Alaska, reports the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

“We are not aware of any major issues right now at national parks in Alaska,” Park Service chief spokesman Jeremy Barnum told the newspaper.

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