All persons wishing to apply for a grazing permit for acreage managed by the Washington department of fish and wildlife should contact the department at P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, Washington 98504-3200.
(1) The director is authorized to issue grazing permits when the director determines that the grazing permits will be consistent with the desired ecological conditions for those lands and with the department's mission, management objectives, and strategic plan.
(2) A temporary permit may be granted by the director to satisfy short-term needs where benefits to wildlife management programs and the public interest can be demonstrated. The term of a temporary permit shall not exceed one year and no fee need necessarily be charged.
(3) With the following three exceptions, grazing permits shall first be submitted to the commission, which may review the permits to ensure that they conform to commission policy:
(a) Temporary permits;
(b) Permits that are being renewed or renegotiated for acreage where the department has permitted nontemporary grazing during the previous ten years; and
(c) Permits that are being issued for acreage acquired by the department within the previous twelve months.
If, within thirty days, the commission has not disapproved a permit, the director shall be deemed authorized to issue that permit.
(4) A permit issued without commission review on acreage acquired by the department within the previous twelve months must not exceed an initial duration of three years, and may not be subsequently reissued before being submitted to the commission for review.
(5) The director shall negotiate grazing permits with potential grazing operators to ensure the highest benefits to fish and wildlife. When an existing permit expires or is about to expire, the director may renew the permit for up to another five years, renegotiate the grazing permit with the existing permittee or with a new grazing operator, decline to reissue the permit and provide notice of and rationale for nonrenewal by the end of the calendar year of the most recent permitted grazing season, or advertise and sell the permit at public auction to the highest bidder. The director is authorized to reject any and all bids if it is determined to be in the best interest of the fish and wildlife to do so. No grazing permit shall have a term exceeding five years unless the commission grants prior approval for a longer term.
(6) Except for temporary permits where grazing on department managed lands is allowed for the equivalent of fewer than fourteen total days, each grazing permit proposal shall be accompanied by a domestic livestock grazing management plan that includes a description of ecological impacts, desired ecological conditions, fish and wildlife benefits, a monitoring plan, and an evaluation schedule for lands that will be grazed by livestock. Grazing management lands will address ecosystem standards referenced in RCW 77.12.204
. The department shall inspect the site of a grazing permit no less than two times each year. The director shall retain the right to alter any provision of the plan as required to benefit fish or wildlife management, public hunting and fishing, or other recreational uses.
(7) The director may cancel a permit:
(a) For noncompliance with the terms and conditions of the permit;
(b) If the area described in the permit is included in a land use plan determined by the agency to be a higher and better use;
(c) If the property is sold or conveyed; or
(d) If damage to wildlife or wildlife habitat occurs.
Notice of and rationale for cancellation will be provided to the permittee as far in advance as possible.
(8) All lands covered by any grazing permit agreement shall at all times be open to public hunting, fishing and other wildlife recreational uses, consistent with applicable seasons and rules, unless such lands have been closed by action of the commission or emergency order by the director.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.04.012
, and 77.12.210
. WSR 21-06-050 (Order 21-16), § 220-500-200, filed 2/25/21, effective 3/28/21. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.04.012
, and 77.12.047
. WSR 17-05-112 (Order 17-04), recodified as § 220-500-200, filed 2/15/17, effective 3/18/17. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.047
. WSR 07-11-017 (Order 07-62), § 232-12-181, filed 5/3/07, effective 6/3/07. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.047
. WSR 03-03-016 (Order 03-03), § 232-12-181, filed 1/7/03, effective 2/7/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.210
. WSR 88-23-109 (Order 323), § 232-12-181, filed 11/22/88. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.040
. WSR 82-04-034 (Order 177), § 232-12-181, filed 1/28/82; WSR 81-12-029 (Order 165), § 232-12-181, filed 6/1/81. Formerly WAC 232-12-405.]