The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public comment on an environmental analysis of a proposed update to the Department’s hatchery reform policy.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission directed the agency to review its Hatchery and Fishery Reform Policy (policy C-3619) beginning in the summer of 2018. This new proposed policy (policy C-3624) will replace the old policy. The policy offers guidance for hatchery and rearing programs to provide for the conservation and recovery of wild salmon and steelhead in the state, while preserving economic benefits for fisheries and working within existing mitigation programs.
The updated policy also emphasizes the importance of hatchery programs meant to benefit the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population.
The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review follows several previous rounds of public comment on earlier draft versions of the policy. For more information about the policy review process, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/hatcheries/hatchery-reform-policy-review.
Comments as part of the SEPA process can be submitted until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23 online at wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/environmental/sepa/open-comments, by email to [email protected], or by mail to Lisa Wood, SEPA/NEPA Coordinator, WDFW Habitat Program, Protection Division, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504.
Staff will update the Commission on the latest revisions to the policy during a virtual meeting later this month. To see upcoming Commission meetings and agendas, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings.
This is the first step in a phased SEPA process; dependent on Commission approval, the policy will also require development of a technical procedures document that will be subject to separate SEPA review and public comment. Once the technical procedures document is approved, WDFW will begin developing individual hatchery management plans.