OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold a workshop on hatchery reform, as well as consider land acquisitions and forest restoration projects in connection with its February meeting.
The Commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will meet Feb. 6-8 in room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia.
The Commission's work will kick off on Thursday at 8 a.m. with a workshop on the key findings of a recently completed report about hatchery reform. That report, "A review of hatchery reform science in Washington State," can be found online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/02121.
The report examines scientific information on actions available to hatchery management for balancing the risks and benefits of hatchery programs. It was written by WDFW staff and underwent multiple rounds of independent review by a panel of eight scientists with the Washington State Academy of Sciences.
The commission directed WDFW in 2018 to review and update its Hatchery and Fishery Reform Policy, and this report is part of that effort. For more information on hatchery reform, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/hatcheries/hatchery-reform-policy-review.
On Friday, commissioners are expected to hear a briefing on 14 possible future land transactions around the state. All proposed acquisitions are reviewed by department staff to include consideration of species and habitat management plans, regional conservation initiatives, community perspectives on land use, and recreation needs.
WDFW staff will seek approval from the Commission on forest management projects that involve harvesting volumes exceeding 1 million board feet. Staff will also ask for guidance on implementing the Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy for 2019 brood year fall Chinook hatchery releases and 2020 fishery management objectives and measures, which the Commission heard public feedback on during its January meeting.
Commissioners will hear briefings on several topics, including next steps for the Columbia River policy review, Grays Harbor salmon management policy, and sturgeon stock status in the Lower Columbia River.
On Saturday, staff will brief the Commission on Washington laws and regulations that apply to hunting and fishing contests and provide an update on recent changes to hunting contests in other states. Additionally, commissioners will hear from staff on best practices related to small-scale habitat projects specifically related to pollinators and backyard sanctuaries.
A full agenda is available online at wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings. The Friday and Saturday meeting, along with the Thursday workshop on hatchery reform, will be livestreamed online at https://www.tvw.org/. The public is also invited to speak and provide testimony at Commission meetings, as well as at Thursday's workshop. For more information on how to participate, visit wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings#publictestimony.
WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.