OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will accept public comments through Jan. 18 on updated draft management plans that will be used by the agency to guide hatchery operations on Hood Canal and at Voights Creek in Orting.
The plans describe the operations of a state hatchery program for fall chinook salmon in the Puyallup River Basin and a program for winter steelhead in Hood Canal. They also address the potential effects of those programs on wild fish species – including salmon and steelhead – that are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The draft plans, known as Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans (HGMP), are available for review on WDFW’s website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/hatcheries/hgmp/) or at the department’s office in Olympia. To schedule an appointment to review the plan in person, call (360) 902-2782.
Comments on the draft HGMPs can be submitted by U.S. mail to Hatcheries at 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA, 98501, or by email at HGMP-PScomments@dfw.wa.gov.
WDFW has updated the draft HGMPs to better reflect current efforts to protect and restore wild salmon in the basin.
Public comments, WDFW's response and any resulting modifications to the draft HGMPs will be posted on the department's website. The finalized HGMPs will be forwarded to NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency responsible for implementing the ESA.
NOAA Fisheries is currently working to produce a final environmental impact statement on the effect of hatchery programs on protected salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia River and Puget Sound.
In the coming weeks, WDFW will be seeking public comment on updated and revised draft HGMPs for other hatchery programs in Puget Sound. Those draft plans also will be posted on WDFW’s website.