OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a land exchange with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and deferred action on a hatchery and fishery reform policy during a meeting here Sept. 11-12.
The commission, a nine-member citizen panel that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also voted to select Phil Anderson as the department’s director. That action was announced in a previous news release, available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/do/newreal/release.php?id=sep1209a.
The approved land exchange – the first of three planned transactions – is designed to consolidate both departments’ lands and allow for more effective management of properties.
WDFW will receive about 9,000 acres of shrub-steppe and open land in exchange for about 5,100 acres of mostly forestland. Earlier this month, DNR’s Board of Natural Resources approved the exchange, which primarily involves land in Kittitas and Yakima counties.
In other business, the commission again voted to defer action on a proposed new hatchery and fishery reform policy to allow time for further review and additional comment from tribal co-managers and state constituents.
Commission consideration of the proposed policy began last spring. After several revisions, adoption was first set for the July meeting. However, the commission voted to delay action for further review.
During the upcoming Nov. 6-7 commission meeting, WDFW staff will brief the commission on final recommendations in response to the comments received on the hatchery and fishery reform policy. The proposed policy would articulate the commission’s direction for department hatchery operations and its position on fishery management, emphasizing its priority for recovery of wild salmon and steelhead while also supporting sustainable fisheries.
The commission is scheduled to take action on the proposed policy during its November meeting in Olympia. A new draft of the proposed policy (Draft 5) is available for review on the commission's website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/).
Written comments on the draft policy will be accepted through Oct. 15. Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
Also during its Sept. 11-12 meeting, the commission deferred action on a boundary description for the Johnson/Debay Slough Game Reserve until its November meeting in Olympia. The commission voted to direct WDFW staff to develop a boundary description proposal that maintains the site as a permanent part of the reserve.
Additionally, the commission approved rules that implement legislative changes to the Master Hunter permit program and approved four other land transactions, including the purchase of 2,340 acres in Yakima County and nearly 1,730 acres in Pend Oreille County.
The commission also received briefings on fish management on the Cowlitz River, coastal groundfish fisheries and baiting of waterfowl over agricultural lands.
For information about future commission meetings, visit WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html.