Willapa Bay salmon policy approved; other items moving forward

Commission approves forest restorations, Willapa Bay policy guidance, and hears updates on hatchery reform and Grays Harbor salmon policy

At their recent meeting, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved continued implementation of the Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy for 2019 brood year fall Chinook hatchery releases and 2020 fishery management objectives and measures.  

The Commission discussed and heard public comment on several topics that will move forward for actions at later dates. 

This included the possible purchase of 416 acres near Oakville as well as 13 other possible future land transactions, the Grays Harbor salmon management policy, sturgeon status in the Lower Columbia River, and the latest in hatchery science.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) manages 80 hatchery facilities and 159 hatchery programs across the state.

Given the agency’s roles in conservation and fishing access, the Commission will spend time at their March meeting reviewing WDFW’s progress toward implementing the current hatchery reform policy, designed to  advance the conservation and recovery of wild salmon and steelhead.

The Commission further discussed next steps in the Columbia River policy review and directed WDFW to plan a review of current hunting contest rules. The Commission also heard about backyard wildlife sanctuary and pollinator programs.

The Commission also approved forest restoration thinning projects across 1,200 acres in Oak Creek and Blue Mountain wildlife areas.

The commission will next meet March 12-14 in Tri-cities to continue discussion.

More information is available online at wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings .