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December 31, 2008
Contact: Susan Yeager, (360) 902-2267

Commission to consider adopting plans
for Columbia River chinook fisheries

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider adopting new fishery management plans for Columbia River spring and summer chinook salmon during a public meeting scheduled here Jan. 9-10.

Those plans, which include guidelines for allocating sport and commercial harvest opportunities for the popular chinook fisheries, will top the commission’s agenda Jan. 10, the second day of the two-day meeting.

The first day of the meeting will be devoted to briefings on a variety of other issues, including a pilot grazing program on lands owned by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Gov. Gregoire’s 2009-11 budget proposal for the department.

The public meeting is scheduled to get under way at 8:30 a.m. both days in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. on the state Capitol Campus in Olympia. An agenda for the meeting is available on the commission’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/com/meetings.htm.

The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, held a public hearing earlier this month on new guidelines recommended for Columbia River spring and summer chinook fisheries by a bi-state subcommittee established in conjunction with the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. The subcommittee addressed conservation buffers as well as management objectives for both sport and commercial fisheries.

But the Washington commission delayed action on those guidelines after the Oregon commission approved a plan to direct a larger share of the spring chinook harvest to commercial fisheries than recommended by the bi-state panel.

The Washington commission will again address the management policies for Columbia River spring and summer chinook after receiving briefings on several other issues on the first day of the meeting. Issues scheduled for discussion Jan. 9 include:

  • Gov. Gregoire’s proposed budget for the department in 2009-11.

  • An analysis of the economic value of recreational and commercial fisheries in Washington state.

  • A pilot-grazing project on lands owned by WDFW in Asotin County and a separate partnership, established under the Wild Horse Coordinated Resource Management Plan, with landowners in Kittitas County

  • The status of a timber salvage and thinning operation on portions of the Olympic and Johns River wildlife areas near Grays Harbor.

The commission will also hear public testimony on a policy proposal addressing the North of Falcon season-setting process for 2009 salmon fisheries.