OLYMPIA – The public will now have until Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. to comment on a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) on a new statewide steelhead management plan being developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The department is extending its comment period by 11 days after receiving several requests by citizens for more time to review the draft EIS, said Jim Buck, statewide steelhead EIS manager for WDFW.
“We want to make sure this draft gets a full airing, because we want to make sure it reflects all the relevant issues,” Buck said. “Once completed, the EIS will provide important information for the Fish and Wildlife Commission to consider in determining which policies will be included in WDFW’s statewide steelhead management plan.”
That management plan, scheduled for action by the commission next February, will provide policy guidance for development of regional steelhead management plans that support salmon recovery plans around the state.
The draft EIS, developed under provisions of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), assesses the potential benefits and risks of various strategies proposed in the current draft management plan on such issues as natural production, artificial production, fisheries management, habitat restoration, enforcement, monitoring and education to conserve and restore the state’s wild steelhead populations.
Both the draft EIS and the current draft steelhead management plan are posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hab/sepa/sepa.htm.
WDFW will consider public comments on the draft EIS received in writing through Sept. 10 at 5 p.m., as well as those received at public meetings scheduled around the state. Written comments should be addressed to SEPA/NEPA Coordinator, Regulatory Services Section, Habitat Program, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501.
Since Aug. 13, WDFW has conducted four public meetings – in Sequim, Olympia, Mill Creek and Vancouver, Wash. – on the draft DEIS. Three additional meetings are also scheduled Aug. 20-22 at the following locations:
- Wenatchee – Aug. 20 – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Wenatchee Public Library
310 Douglas St.
Contact: Katie Sessions, (509) 662-5021
- Moses Lake – Aug. 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Grant County Fire District #5 Training Center
12801 Road 2 N.
Contact: Leonard Johnson, (509) 765-3175
- Richland – Aug. 22, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Richland Public Library
955 North Gate Dr.
Contact: Carol Larson, (509) 942-7450
For more information on Washington’s steelhead populations and draft statewide management plan, see WDFW’s website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/steelhead/index.htm).