Commission approves dog training program and next steps in development of hatchery policy during January meeting

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Commission office, commission@dfw.wa.gov, 360-902-2267

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a proposal to allow nonlethal pursuit dog training practices and heard updates on proposed mineral prospecting rules, Columbia River sturgeon, and Baker Lake sockeye during its January meeting. 

On Friday, the Commission approved nonlethal pursuit dog training practices to help keep dogs trained for enforcement response to wildlife conflicts. The rules and procedures, which go into effect later this year, serve to fulfill a 2019 Legislative directive and create the process and requirements necessary to develop the non-lethal training program. 

Commission members also heard updates on proposed rulemaking for grazing permits on lands managed by the Department, proposed mineral prospecting rules, pinniped conservation and management, and Columbia River sturgeon. The Commission also discussed a draft statement on commercial whale watching but decided not to advance it further. 

On Saturday, Commission members heard an update on the status report of the Oregon vesper sparrow. The Commission also approved an updated draft of the Anadromous Salmon and Steelhead Hatchery Policy for environmental review under the State Environmental Policy Act process. The Commission discussed the proposed timeline and public process for policy revisions to the Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy (C-3622) Comprehensive Review, which it approved during its December 2020 meeting. 

Finally, the Commission heard an update on Baker Lake sockeye management. Emerging WDFW research in collaboration with the Swinomish, Upper Skagit, and Sauk-Suiattle tribes is looking at methods to improve conservation and harvest management of sockeye by incorporating ocean climate impacts.

The Commission took open public comment on Friday and Saturday mornings and heard public comment as part of several briefings throughout the meeting. The meeting was recorded and will be available to the public on WDFW’s website. The public can also find information on upcoming meetings at the same webpage.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is a panel appointed by the governor that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email (Title6@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.