Public invited to Oct. 25 virtual meeting on proposed fish passage rules

ARCHIVED NEWS RELEASE
This document is provided for archival purposes only. Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

News release

Contact: Gabrielle Stilwater, fishpassagerules@dfw.wa.gov
Media Contact: Eryn Couch, 360-890-6604 

OLYMPIA -- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is asking for public feedback to inform the development of proposed fish passage and screening rules intended to support salmon and orca recovery. 

The public is invited to a virtual public meeting, scheduled from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 25, to learn more and provide input. 

The rule making effort is rooted in recommendations from Gov. Inslee’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force. In 2018, the task force published its report identifying lack of prey as a key threat to endangered Southern Resident killer whales’ survival. Recommendation three of the report endorsed agencies to apply and enforce laws that protect salmon habitat. 

The task force specifically noted that WDFW should develop rules to fully implement the fishways, flow, and screening statutes (Chapter 77.57 Revised Code of Washington).  

WDFW shared a draft of the rules with the public in early 2021. Following an initial public review, WDFW has now drafted an updated version of rules for comment. 

“This rule making process will help us further ensure that fish have access to the habitats they need, which is good news for both salmon and endangered orcas,” said Margen Carlson, WDFW habitat program director. “Now that we have an updated draft of the rules, it’s a great time to pause and check in with the broader public to make sure we haven’t missed anything.” 

For more information about joining the Oct. 25 virtual meeting or to view the updated draft rules and find recordings of prior virtual public meetings, visit WDFW’s fish passage rule making webpage. The public can comment on the draft rule by submitting written comments online

Although fish passage and screening requirements for new construction has been codified through Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) rules, this rule making activity for fish passage and screening will focus on compliance standards used for current and future fish passage and screening projects, such as climate adapted water crossings. New rules are anticipated to go into effect in 2023. 

People with limited internet access can call the Habitat Program at 360-902-2534 to learn how to participate by phone and request print materials. 

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities. 

Request this information in an alternative format or language at wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation, 833-885-1012, TTY (711), or CivilRightsTeam@dfw.wa.gov.