OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet July 10-11 at 8:30 a.m. in room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., in Olympia. The Commission establishes policies and regulations designed to preserve and protect our state’s fish and wildlife, as well as our natural habitat. The Commission is also charged with monitoring the performance of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) as it implements the goals, policies and objectives established by the Commission. The public is invited to attend and provide testimony on issues of concern.
The Commission is set to take action July 10 on a new policy aimed at advancing conservation and recovery of wild salmon and steelhead populations. The proposed policy calls for coordinated reform of the state’s approach to harvest management and its hatchery operations based on the recommendations of the Hatchery Scientific Review Group. A public hearing on the draft policy was held in June.
On July 11, the Commission will review progress to date in the nationwide search for a permanent WDFW director. Public advice or comments on the candidate search will be welcomed following that discussion.
The Commission is scheduled to consider adoption of proposals to:
- Reauthorize through 2010 a pilot program that allows cougar hunting with the aid of dogs in counties that meet specified criteria.
- Allow recreational license dealers to charge 50 cents to process documentation and collect additional data associated with migratory bird hunting.
WDFW staff will provide briefings for the Commission on several other issues, including special trapping permits; deer and elk damage claims; and regulations governing commercial crab-fishing on the Washington coast.
Three new commission members, recently appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire to fill vacant positions, will join the nine-member panel at the July meeting. The three new members, all appointed to terms ending Dec. 31, 2014, are:
- David Jennings, of Olympia, who works at the Washington State Department of Health in the division of environmental health. Jennings is the past president of the Gifford Pinchot Task Force and the Black Hills Audubon Society.
- Rollie Schmitten, of Leavenworth, who works as a marine resources consultant. Schmitten previously served as director of the Washington State Department of Fisheries, director of the National Marine Fisheries Service and as deputy assistant secretary of international affairs for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Brad Smith, Ph.D, of Bellingham, who serves as Dean of the Huxley College of Environmental Studies at Western Washington University. He previously served as director of the Office of Environmental Education at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and was a research fellow for Environment Canada and the Canadian Fish and Wildlife Service.
On July 11, ethics training and orientation sessions regarding the laws and rules governing Commission operations will be provided to Commissioners. The public is welcome to attend these presentations.
The agenda for the two-day meeting, along with additional information about these issues, is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html.