WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

April 18, 1997
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509) 456-4073 or Margsaret Ainscough, (360) 902-2408 or Mike Judge, (360) 902-2407

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Public sessions set on draft state salmon policy

Citizens will have a chance to find out more about the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) proposal to save wild salmon in a series of 10 public meetings across the state from April 29 through May 21.

The sessions have been scheduled to offer the public a chance to review and comment on the department's draft Wild Salmonid Policy. Following the series of public meetings, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold a formal public hearing before taking action to adopt a version of the policy later this year.

The draft policy calls for dramatic measures to save threatened wild salmonids, which include native salmon, trout, char, grayling and whitefish. Created by the department at the direction of the Legislature and unveiled a few weeks ago by WDFW Director Bern Shanks, the draft policy includes proposals for stricter fishing limits, changes in hatchery procedures to keep hatchery fish separate from wild stocks and creation of local watershed councils to protect fish habitat.

Public cooperation is especially vital for habitat protection, Shanks said.

"It's clear that all of us, from the cities around Puget Sound to the ranches of Eastern Washington, are going to have to make sacrifices to save our troubled fish runs," Shanks said. "Steps we take now will minimize the impacts of future federal intervention to save wild fish. Action under the federal Endangered Species Act no longer is hypothetical. Endangered and threatened listing decisions are being made this year. Without a strong state recovery plan in place, we can expect the impacts of federal intervention to be significant to our economy."

Federal officials are reviewing the status of chinook, coho, chum, pink and sockeye salmon, steelhead, cutthroat trout and bull trout for possible Endangered Species Act listings.

Public meetings on the draft Wild Salmonid Policy are scheduled April 29 at Spokane County Public Health District Building Auditorium, W. 1101 College, Spokane; April 30 at the Walla Walla Community College's Main Building Cafeteria, 500 Tausick Way, Walla Walla; May 1 at the First Savings of Washington meeting room, 502 W. Yakima Ave., Yakima; May 6 at the Chelan County Auditorium, 400 Douglas Street, Wenatchee; May 7 at Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave., Bellingham; May 13 at Vern Burton Center, 308 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles; May 14 at the Tacoma Mountaineers Clubhouse, 2302 N. 30th St., Tacoma; May 15 at Clark County Public Utility Department Community Room, 1200 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver; May 20 at the Dept. of Labor and Industries, 7273 Linderson Way, Tumwater; and May 21 at the Seattle Mountaineers headquarters, 300 Third Ave. W., Seattle.

All the public meetings will run from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Text of the draft Wild Salmonid Policy and related fact sheets are available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Internet home page at wdfw.wa.gov.