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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Andrew Deffobis, Associate Planner - Resource Stewardship Dept. at  (360) 786-5467 or DeffobA@co.thurston.wa.us
Jeremy Davis, Senior Planner - Resource Stewardship Dept. at (360) 754-3355 ex 7010 or davisj@co.thurston.wa.us

Thurston County Gopher Review Season Begins Today
The 2016 Mazama Pocket Gopher review process begins June 1, and runs through October 31, 2016

OLYMPIA - Today, Thurston County began the process for determining if Mazama Pocket Gophers (MPG) are present on properties. This screening process runs June 1, through October 31, 2016.

The County Commissioners met on Tuesday, May 31, to review the MPG screening process in light of the recent Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) decision about the 2015 process. The GMHB decision concluded that the county screening process is consistent with the County's Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO).

The county MPG screening process occurs on properties with or near soils deemed suitable for gopher habitat. The 2016 process will be similar to the 2015 screening process. Those requesting a permit or property review will get up to three site visits, at least 30 days apart, during the June through October screening period.

Because the MPG is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), it is protected by the county's CAO, and state and federal law. This means that if gophers are not present, the application will continue through the permitting process. The County Commissioners are discussing options for dealing with the final step in the process if gophers are found on the property.

During the 2015 review season, fewer than 10% of screened applications had gophers present. This represents less than 1% of all development applications reviewed by Thurston County in 2015.

To learn more about the 2016 Gopher Review Process, read the GMHB Final Decision and Order, or receive emailed notifications from the county, go to the Gopher Review Process for Permits website.



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3