Mountain Goats Return to Columbia River Gorge

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The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission today approved a project to bring Rocky Mountain goats into the Columbia River Gorge.

Literature dating back to Lewis and Clark's journals indicates Rocky Mountain goats were once present in the Gorge. The Commission approved a plan directing ODFW wildlife specialists to capture 15-20 goats this year from healthy populations in the Elkhorn Mountains and release them at Herman Creek near Cascade Locks.

Other releases, all involving approximately 15-20 goats, are anticipated in Dodson, and possibly Tanner Butte. The department's goal is a self-sustaining population of approximately 300 goats throughout the Columbia River Gorge.

The project is a joint effort involving ODFW, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and Mt. Hood National Forest officials.

The goats will be fitted with radio telemetry collars to help state wildlife managers carefully monitor and evaluate the goats' survival success. Federal Forest Service partners will closely monitor any impacts on native vegetation.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member panel meets monthly. The next regular Commission meeting is May 13 in Prineville.