OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has published public comments and the agency's responses to its salmon hatchery operation plans.
The plans, known as Hatchery Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs), detail the operations of each artificial production program for salmon and steelhead in the Puget Sound region. Prepared in conjunction with Puget Sound 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).
WDFW provided 79 HGMPs covering Puget Sound artificial production programs for public comment in the period from June 18 through Aug. 1 of this year. A total of 24 individuals and organizations provided comments, ranging from short paragraphs to extensive reviews
Comments and the department's responses are available online on the Internet.
The HGMPs have been provided to NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency responsible for salmon recovery, for consideration as significant conservation measures under Section 4(d) of the ESA.
WDFW has also provided a response to each of the summarized comments and identified, as needed, additions to HGMPs. These additions will be provided to NOAA Fisheries in the ongoing process to produce a final environmental impact statement, which is expected to be issued in early 2005.