Applied science plays an integral role in shaping resource-management decisions at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Scientists in each of the department’s resource programs – Fish, Wildlife and Habitat – draw from published research, monitoring data, field studies and other sources to provide a solid, scientific foundation for management policies adopted by the department.
Unlike most academic research, investigations by WDFW scientists focus on issues with direct application to current management concerns. How will restoring a particular estuary contribute to the recovery of chinook salmon? How do mineral licks affect the movement of mountain goats? Which conservation measures will benefit multiple species?
Answers to questions such as these can help to determine why certain species thrive in one area but decline in another. They can also suggest ways to moderate the growing pressure that human activities put on sensitive species and the habitat they need to survive.
Staff scientists at WDFW collaborate with those at universities, other governmental agencies and in the private sector on issues affecting individual species, wildlife communities and entire ecosystems. Special attention is given to fish and wildlife populations facing the greatest risk of extirpation. Baseline funding for scientific staff is included in the department’s budget, although most research projects rely on competitive grants for support.