OLYMPIA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to hear public testimony on proposed rule changes for gold panning and mineral prospecting activities during a public meeting scheduled Oct. 3-4 in Olympia.
The meeting will convene at 8:30 a.m. both days in the Natural Resources Building, Room 172, 1111 Washington St. S.E.
The commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will meet in Olympia - rather than Ellensburg, as previously scheduled - to help reduce travel expenditures.
People in Ellensburg will be able to monitor the Oct. 3 meeting and testify on agenda items via conference call, which is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. in the Fireside Room at the Quality Inn, 1700 Canyon Road.
As part of the Friday, Oct. 3 meeting, the commission will hear public comment on proposed changes to state regulations regarding the effects of mineral prospecting activities on fish habitat. The new amendments were developed with input from a 17-member workgroup and written comments received from the public.
The commission is scheduled to take action on final adoption of the rule changes during its Nov. 7-8 meeting in Olympia. Following the rule adoption, WDFW will publish a new Gold and Fish pamphlet for use beginning in 2009.
On Saturday, Oct. 4, the commission will receive a staff briefing on rule proposals for the 2009-10 sportfishing season. Public meetings on the rules, which affect various freshwater and saltwater fisheries around Washington, are currently under way at several sites around the state. The rules are available on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/ .
In other action, the commission is scheduled to approve a proposed land grant in Yakima County and confirm its 2009 meeting calendar.
The commission is also scheduled to hear briefings on:
- The discussions under way with landowners, stakeholders and other interested parties regarding the proposed boundary adjustment for the Johnson/Debay Slough Game Reserve.
- The history and development of WDFW's wildlife reserve system.
- Proposed land exchange between WDFW and Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
- WDFW's review and input on an upcoming public survey conducted by Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
The November commission meeting also will be held in Olympia. More information on the commission's meetings is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/com/meetings.htm