OLYMPIA - The public comment period on hatchery management plans used by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to operate its hatchery production programs has been extended until Oct. 28.
WDFW extended the comment period - initially scheduled to end Oct. 18 - at the request of Washington Trout, a conservation group that 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 specific artificial production programs for salmon and steelhead. Prepared in conjunction with 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 10 chinook, 14 coho, 19 steelhead, and two chum hatchery programs. The plans are posted on WDFW's website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/hat/hgmp/) and may also be obtained through a scheduled appointment at WDFW's Olympia office. An appointment can be scheduled by calling (360) 902-2700.
WDFW is now accepting public comments on the HGMPs until 5 p.m. Oct. 28. 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: Andy Appleby, 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.