OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has extended the public comment period on a new draft conservation plan for rockfish in Puget Sound and has scheduled three additional public meetings to discuss the plan with the public.
Under the new timeline, WDFW will accept comments on the draft conservation plan through Jan. 4, 2010. The draft conservation plan is the preferred alternative among several presented in a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which is required by the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
The DEIS and draft conservation plan are available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/management/rockfish. Those who would like a copy of the plan on a compact disc or in print can call (360) 902-2844.
"We decided to extend the deadline and add additional public meetings after receiving numerous requests from people to allow for more time to review the plan and provide comments," said Craig Burley, WDFW fish division manager.
The draft conservation plan provides the framework for new strategies and actions in areas including fisheries, monitoring and education to conserve and protect rockfish populations in Puget Sound. Three species of rockfish in Puget Sound - bocaccio, yelloweye and canary rockfish - currently are being considered for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Comments can be submitted by email to SEPAdesk2@dfw.wa.gov, by FAX to (360) 902-2946, or by U.S. Mail to: WDFW SEPA Desk, 600 Capitol Way N. Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
In addition, people can submit comments, as well as discuss the draft plan with WDFW staff, during public meetings scheduled for:
- Nov. 30 - From 7-9 p.m. at the Bremerton City Hall, 345 6th Street, Bremerton.
- Dec. 2 - From 7-9 p.m. at the Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle.
- Dec. 3 - From 7-9 p.m. in Angst Hall at Skagit Valley College’s Mount Vernon Campus, 2405 East College Way, Mount Vernon.