WDFW seek public input on draft plan to protect Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, and coastal Olympic Peninsula steelhead

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is looking for feedback on the Department’s draft Coastal Steelhead Proviso Implementation Plan.

As required by the Legislature in the 2021-2023 budget, the proviso directed the Department to develop a plan to protect steelhead for each river system of Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, and coastal Olympic Peninsula. 

The public can comment online through Nov. 20, and WDFW will submit the plan to the Legislature in December.

“The Departments feels it’s extremely important to include public feedback as part of this process,” said Kelly Cunningham, WDFW fish program director. “We encourage the public to dig in to the draft plan and share their perspectives with us so that we can incorporate their feedback as we finalize the report.”

The plan includes guidelines and information about recreational fishery regulations, monitoring and evaluation, hatchery operations, habitat restoration, economic vitality, and other considerations. 

Other plan elements include budget projections and critical research needed for successful implementation. It also details a communications strategy to enhance public awareness about coastal steelhead management.

To review the draft plan and comment online, visit WDFW’s website. Members of the public who have limited or no internet connection may also mail written comments to:

WDFW Coastal Region office
48 Devonshire Road
Montesano, WA 98563

The draft plan was informed with feedback from WDFW’s Ad-Hoc Coastal Steelhead Advisory Group, which has been meeting publicly over the past year.

Its final meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15 in room 172 of the Natural Resources Building in Olympia. The meeting will also be available virtually via Zoom. More information about the group and upcoming meeting details are available on WDFW’s Ad-Hoc Coastal Steelhead Advisory Group webpage.

On Nov. 17, WDFW staff will brief the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Fish Committee about the latest updates associated with coastal steelhead pre-season planning and the development of the Coastal Steelhead Proviso Implementation Plan. The Commission will also receive a briefing during its Dec. 8-10 hybrid meeting in Clarkston. More information is available on the Commission web page.

In addition to this work, WDFW is also hosting a Nov. 28 virtual town hall, which marks the third meeting in a three-part series, intended to gather feedback as part of a separate process associated with 2022-2023 coastal steelhead pre-season planning. More information is available on the Department’s website. Pending funding, WDFW anticipates plan implementation will begin with the 2023-2024 coastal steelhead season.