OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will hold a public meeting next week in Vancouver, Wash., to solicit comments on the scope and direction of a new management plan currently being developed for Washington steelhead.
The meeting, which was added to the list of meeting sites announced last month, will be held Monday, Oct. 2 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the WDFW Southwest Region Office at 2108 Grand Blvd., Vancouver. Previous meetings on WDFW’s proposal have already been held in Mount Vernon, Tukwila, Port Angeles, Ellensburg and Olympia.
“A number of people – some representing anglers’ organizations – urged us to add a meeting in Vancouver,” said Amilee Wilson, WDFW project manager for the new management plan. “We’ve got just enough time in the process to accommodate that request.”
The new steelhead management plan, set for completion in spring of 2007, will set out a variety of possible changes in hatchery, harvest and monitoring practices needed to restore native steelhead populations, Wilson said.
The first phase of that plan will focus on steelhead populations in Puget Sound, where NOAA-Fisheries has proposed listing natural runs as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act.
To lay the groundwork for those changes, the department has filed notice of its intent to develop an environmental impact statement under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). A “determination of significance” is available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hab/sepa/sepa.htm.
To accommodate the public meeting in Vancouver, the comment period on that notice has been extended until Oct. 3. Written comments on WDFW’s “determination of significance” notice should be addressed to SEPA/NEPA Coordinator, Regulatory Services Section, WDFW Habitat Program, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia 98501.