Thursday, February 22, 2024

WDFW seeks public input on draft co-manager hatchery policy

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OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public comment on a draft policy to guide management of hatcheries in cooperation with tribal co-managers.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted an updated Anadromous Salmon and Steelhead Hatchery Policy in April 2021. As part of that policy, the Commission instructed WDFW “to begin development of a joint policy agreement on salmon and steelhead hatchery programs with tribal co-managers,” which would supplement and supersede the existing Commission policy when appropriate.

After more than a year of collaborative work with technical staff under the direction of a subset of commissioners and tribal policymakers, a final draft policy was developed in November 2022 and presented to the full Commission in December 2022 and January 2023.

Key values of the policy include a commitment to work as co-managers to develop and implement hatchery management plans on a regional or watershed-specific basis, while conserving natural-spawning populations of fish and mitigating the effects of habitat loss and other environmental impacts. The draft policy outlines six guiding principles to support these values.

The public is invited to provide comment on the draft policy through March 1. The full draft policy is available online, and comments may be submitted at WDFW’s website or at https://publicinput.com/ComanagerHatcheryPolicy.

The policy will also undergo an additional State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) public comment period before being considered for adoption by the Commission.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish, wildlife, and recreational and commercial opportunities. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is a panel appointed by the governor that sets policy for WDFW.

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