May 21, 1997
Contact: Jeff Weathersby, (360) 902-2256
Wild salmon policy comment period extended; public meetings and scientific forum scheduled
OLYMPIA -- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is taking several
steps to provide to the public information about the needs of wild salmon and provide
more opportunities for citizens to comment on its draft Wild Salmonid Policy.
Those steps include:
"Extending the public comment period is in direct response to what we are
hearing from citizens. We are doing everything possible to give everyone ample
opportunity to review the draft policy, ask their technical questions and then let us know
what they think," said Bern Shanks, director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Extending the public comment period until June 21. The comment period had
been scheduled to close May 30.
- Scheduling additional public information and comment meetings in Aberdeen
and Naselle. The Aberdeen meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Nordic Inn,
1700 S. Boone St. The Naselle meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 27 at the Naselle-
Grays River Valley School, located at the junction of highways 4 and 401. The
Aberdeen and Naselle gatherings will bring the number of public meetings to 12.
- Scheduling a scientific forum to brief the Washington Fish and Wildlife
Commission on balancing the risks and opportunities of mixing hatchery and wild
salmon and steelhead. The forum will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 13 in
the auditorium of Office Building-2, 1115 Washington St. SE in Olympia. Regionally
recognized scientists from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Marine
Fisheries Service, University of Washington, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and other experts will address the forum. Details are still being
developed. There will be a limited number of seats for the public.
- Scheduling two public hearings to take formal testimony on the policy before
the Fish and Wildlife Commission. Hearings will be held in eastern and western
Washington in June. Times, dates and locations will be announced.
- Scheduling many other informational meetings in each of the agency's seven
regions in response to requests from citizens and stakeholder groups.
He added, "It is important that we hear from as many people as possible.
Everyone is going to be affected if this state wants to rebuild its wild salmon runs."
The department's preferred option sets strict limits on harvests to ensure enough
wild fish spawn and on hatchery operations to prevent artificially-raised fish from
harming native runs.
Copies of the draft plan can be reviewed at regional libraries. They also are
available at no cost by calling (360) 902-2701 or writing Steve Phelps, Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. The
draft also is available on the department's Internet homepage (www.wdfw.wa.gov).