The United States Fish & Wildlife Service has released the Draft Hanford Reach National Monument Sport Hunting Plan and Environmental Assessment.

Briefly, the plan is a result of a lawsuit brought against the Service by the animal rights organization Fund For Animals. The animal rights movement does not like that the Service opened 37 refuges to hunting.

Fund for Animals president Michael Markarian told ABC, "We believe it is obscene that refuges should be turned into killing fields. There's plenty of public land in this country where hunters can hunt. Unfortunately there's a lot of political pressure to allow hunting on refuges."

Fund For Animals and animal rightists are making their anti-hunting views heard in this public comment process. It is imperative that sportsmen do the same. If we fail to protect hunting opportunity we lose it. It is just that simple.

The Fund For Animals brought this fight to us and now it's time we rise to their challenge. And we need to do it today.

Support hunting - Support increased hunting opportunity.


Jeff Christensen
Washingtonians for Wildlife Conservation


How to comment...
Mail your written comments to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Draft Hunting Plan Comments, 3250 Port of Benton Boulevard, Richland, Washington 99354 (preferred method). Comments must be postmarked by May 8, 2007.

Email your comments to – be sure to include the phrase “Draft Hunting Plan Comments” in the subject line. Comments must be sent by 10:00 pm PDT on May 8, 2007.

Visit to submit your comments online. Comments must be completed by 10:00 pm PDT on May 8, 2007.

If time is running short, you can fax your last-minute comments to (509) 375-0196, or feel free to drop off your comments at our office during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm).Be sure to include your name and address on all comments submitted, regardless of format, if you would like to ensure receiving a notice of the Final Sport Hunting Plan.


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Mid-Columbia National Wildlife Refuge Complex


Department of the Interior • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service • 3250 Port of Benton Boulevard • Richland, Washington 99354 • (509) 371-1801

Public Comment Sought on Draft Hunting Plan

Contact: Greg Hughes or Dan Haas, (509) 371-1801

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking public comment on a Draft Sport Hunting Plan and Environmental Assessment that examines the impacts of existing public hunting programs on the Wahluke Unit of the Hanford Reach National Monument/Saddle Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, located in south central Washington State.

The plan was prepared as a result of a Fund For Animals lawsuit against the Service on March 14, 2003, alleging noncompliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in opening 37 refuges to hunting during the 1997-98 through 2002-03 seasons. On August 31, 2006, the U.S. District Court Judge granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment agreeing that the Service did not adequately consider the cumulative impacts of opening these refuges to hunting. In an October 5, 2006, brief the Service asked the court not to close the hunt programs while it proceeded to address the NEPA deficiencies in the original 37 hunting packages. In addition, the Service informed the court that by May 30, 2007, it would also correct NEPA deficiencies for the refuges opened to hunting since the lawsuit was filed, including the Arid Lands National Wildlife Refuge (now the Hanford Reach National Monument).

This plan addresses past decisions and is not intended to modify future hunting program decisions being considered in the Monument’s Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. Under all alternatives in the Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan, the Service would seek to maintain and/or expand hunting opportunities on the Monument.

The Service is evaluating the current hunting programs on the Monument’s W ahluke Unit for mule and white-tailed deer; elk; and upland and migratory game birds. The environmental assessment examines two alternatives: (1) No Action—the Service’s Preferred Alternative—which would maintain current hunting programs; and (2) No Hunting, which would close all hunting programs.

Copies of the draft assessment may be viewed at the Hanford Reach National Monument website at or obtained by calling (509) 371-1801 and requesting a copy. Written comments on the plan will be accepted through May 8, 2007. Please submit your comments to Hanford Reach National Monument, Sport Hunting Plan Comments, 3250 Port of Benton Boulevard, Richland, Washington 99352, fax to (509) 375-0196, or email to

– FWS –

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The FWS manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 542 nationa l wildlife refuges—including two national monuments—thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices, and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife ha bitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid Program, which distributes hundreds of m illions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.