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October 20, 2000
Contact: John DeVore, (360) 906-6710

Public comment invited on draft policy for Columbia River smelt

LONGVIEW – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has scheduled a public meeting Oct. 27, to discuss future management options for Columbia River smelt.

The public is invited to comment on the department's draft policy and guidelines before the policy goes before the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in December.

The public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Cowlitz County Public Utilities District office, 961 12th Ave. in Longview.

A draft management plan also will be discussed at the meeting, and opinions will be solicited from the public on how Columbia River smelt fisheries should be managed. The management plan, to be completed in the next few months, is subject to change as more is learned from Columbia River smelt research.

The scope of the policy includes harvest and habitat management, stock assessment and future research. Consideration of the role of Columbia River smelt in marine and freshwater ecosystems will guide future management decisions.

Current policy objectives include improving the information base for Columbia River smelt; documenting and protecting spawning habitat; developing stock assessment methods independent of fishery information; and maintening concurrent regulations with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) for mainstem fisheries.

"This is a chance for members of the public who are interested in Columbia River smelt management to weigh in on management policy and express what they believe should be incorporated in our long-term management plans," said John DeVore, the department's lead Columbia River smelt biologist.

To receive a copy of the draft policy, contact John DeVore at WDFW's Southwest Regional Office. His address is Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 2108 Grand Boulevard, Vancouver, WA 98661, (360) 906-6710, or via email to devorjdd@dfw.wa.gov.