600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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August 30, 2006
Contact: Amilee Wilson, (360) 902-2856

WDFW schedules scoping meetings
on statewide steelhead plan

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled a series of public meetings to solicit comments on the scope and direction of a new management plan currently being developed for Washington steelhead.

The first phase of that plan, scheduled for completion in January 2007, will focus on steelhead populations in Puget Sound, where NOAA-Fisheries has proposed listing natural runs as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act.

As in other areas, the section of the plan on Puget Sound will focus on possible changes in hatchery, harvest and monitoring practices needed to restore native steelhead populations, said Amilee Wilson, WDFW project manager.

To lay the groundwork for those changes, the department has filed notice of its intent to develop an environmental impact statement under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). A “determination of significance” is available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hab/sepa/sepa.htm.

Dozens of possible strategies have already been outlined in a wide-ranging report, developed by WDFW to provide a scientific foundation for possible changes in steelhead management. That report, “Oncorhynchus mykiss: Assessment of Washington State’s Anadromous Populations and Programs,” is available on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/papers/steelhead/.

“Some of the issues we face in developing new management strategies for steelhead have already been identified,” Wilson said. “At the same time, we want to hear what people have to say about those strategies and solicit any new ideas we may have missed.”

Scoping meetings on the steelhead management plan are scheduled at the following locations from 6-8 p.m.:

  • Mount Vernon: Friday, Sept. 8, Mount Vernon Public Utilities Office,1415 Freeway Dr.

  • Tukwila: Monday, Sept. 11, Tukwila Community Center, 12424 42nd Ave. S.

  • Port Angeles: Thursday, Sept. 14, Port Angeles Public Library, 2210 South Peabody St.

  • Ellensburg: Friday, Sept. 22, Hal Holmes Community Center, 209 Ruby St.

  • Olympia: Monday, Sept. 25, Natural Resource Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E.

Written comments on WDFW’s “determination of significance” notice will be accepted through Sept. 26. They should be addressed to SEPA/NEPA Coordinator, Regulatory Services Section, WDFW Habitat Program, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia 98501.