OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to take action on a statewide steelhead-management plan and hear public testimony on a variety of proposed hunting rules at a meeting here March 7-8.
The nine-member commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene at 8:30 a.m. both days in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. in Olympia.
The steelhead management plan, developed by WDFW fishery managers with extensive public review, is designed to provide a framework for efforts to rebuild wild steelhead populations throughout the state.
Based on decades of research and new analysis, the statewide plan outlines dozens of conservation strategies involving natural production of steelhead, fisheries management, hatchery practices habitat restoration, enforcement, monitoring and public education.
The proposed statewide steelhead plan is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/steelhead/index.htm, along with an associated State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) statement and a 300-page scientific assessment of steelhead in Washington state.
The commission held a public hearing on the steelhead plan Feb. 2 in Olympia, and will not hear further testimony on the steelhead plan at its meeting in March.
The commission will, however, hear public testimony on a variety of proposed hunting rules and other measures scheduled for a vote at a public meeting April 11-12 in Pasco. Those measures would:
- Amend hunting seasons for small game to provide additional general-season hunting opportunities for turkey and mourning dove.
- Restrict the use of radio telemetry equipment to track game animals.
- Modify hunting permit levels for moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat.
- Make minor adjustments to hunting seasons for deer and elk to address emerging issues.
- Allow WDFW to manage the Eurasian collared dove as a predatory bird.
Information on those proposals, along with an agenda for the March meeting, is available on the commission’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/com/mar0808.htm. Questions about agenda items can also be directed to the commission office at (360) 902-2267.