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September 09, 1997
Contact: Margaret Ainscough, (360) 902-2408

Fish and Wildlife Commission moves toward wild salmon plan

OLYMPIA -- The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously Monday to authorize issuance of a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) that analyzes a Wild Salmonid Policy proposed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The eight-member commission plans to consider adoption of the policy itself on Oct. 3. in Ellensburg. In the meantime, two public hearings on the draft policy are scheduled later this month on both sides of the state. Commissioners and WDFW staff also will continue meeting with Indian tribal representatives in an attempt to gain tribal agreement on how state and tribal governments can jointly restore and protect fragile wild salmon populations.

The FEIS recommends changes in harvest and hatchery operations, as well as establishment of watershed-based citizen councils to reach local decisions on how to provide wild salmon with necessary habitat.

The FEIS accepted yesterday by the commission is a document that analyzes the environmental effects of the proposed policy. The FEIS contained revisions for clarity and readability, and responds to public comment on a draft EIS issued earlier this year.

At least 12 public meetings and numerous smaller sessions with the public were held statewide since March to discuss the draft EIS and collect comments on how to improve it. A total of 1,385 verbal comments and 471 written comments were received. The two opportunities for public comment on the proposed policy will be from 7 to 11 p.m., Sept. 25 at the Mountaineers' Club, 300 Third Ave. W. in Seattle, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 27 at Cavanaugh's at Yakima Center, 607 E. Yakima Ave., in Yakima.

Copies of the FEIS and the draft policy document may be requested by calling (360) 902-2701. All those who attended previous public meetings on the policy, submitted written comments or who requested a copy of the draft EIS will automatically be sent copies of the FEIS and the draft policy document.