OLYMPIA - The public comment period on management plans used by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to operate its hatchery production programs in Puget Sound has been extended until Aug. 1.
WDFW extended the comment period - initially scheduled to end July 18 - at the request of several groups and individuals who requested additional time to review the plans, said Jim Scott, chief fisheries scientist for the department.
"These hatchery plans contain a lot of information so we understand why people may want more time to review them," Scott said.
The plans, known as Hatchery Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs), detail the operations of each artificial production program for salmon and steelhead in the Puget Sound region. Prepared in conjunction with Puget Sound treaty tribes, the plans also describe the potential effects of each program on salmon and steelhead species that are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
HGMPs are available for 30 chinook, 23 coho, 17 steelhead, five chum, two pink and two sockeye salmon hatchery programs. The plans are posted on WDFW's website and may also be obtained through a scheduled appointment at WDFW's Olympia office. An appointment can be scheduled by calling (360) 902-2802, or (360) 902-2701.
WDFW is now accepting public comments on the HGMPs for Puget Sound artificial production programs until 5 p.m. on Aug. 1. Comments can be submitted electronically via e-mail (HGMP@dfw.wa.gov), or in writing to:
Dr. Jeff Koenings, Director, WDFW
600 Capitol Way North
Olympia, WA., 98501-1091
Attention: Cheryl McCartney, Fish Program
Public comments, WDFW's response, and any resulting modifications to HGMPs will be posted on the department's website and forwarded to NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency responsible for implementing the ESA.