The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled a May 18 public meeting in Kennewick on the draft upper Columbia River fisheries management plan, and has set a June 30 deadline for public comment on the plan.
The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Kennewick branch of the Mid-Columbia Library, 1620 S. Union St.
WDFW fish managers conducted three public meetings on the draft plan last month in Pateros, East Wenatchee and Vancouver. Tri-Cities area anglers requested a local meeting to learn more about the draft plan, which guides how WDFW will meet recovery and conservation goals for fish and provide angling opportunities in the upper Columbia River. The plan includes escapement goals, hatchery management strategies and harvest objectives for various fish species.
While the upper Columbia River supports some strong fish populations, the area’s wild spring chinook and summer steelhead stocks are both listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). All of the region’s fish stocks are addressed in the plan, said WDFW fish manager Heather Bartlett.
“It’s important that we hear from the public on this draft management plan,” Bartlett said. “Public input will help us craft fisheries that provide predictable and meaningful recreational fishing opportunities in the upper river within a conservation framework for ESA-listed populations.”
The draft plan is available for downloading on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/papers/harvest_framework_salmonids_priest_rapids/. Copies will also be available at the Kennewick meeting or upon request from Bartlett at (360)902-2662 or from Joe Miller, WDFW northcentral region fish program manager, at (509)754-4624.
Comments on the plan must be submitted by June 30 by e-mail to UCRMP@dfw.wa.gov or by mail to WDFW Fish Program, Upper Columbia River Management Plan, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.