Commission to Discuss Whale Entanglements, Willapa Bay and Puget Sound Salmon Management at January Meeting
Trevan Pixley

Commission to Discuss Whale Entanglements, Willapa Bay and Puget Sound Salmon Management at January Meeting

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider ways to reduce the risk of whale entanglements at its January meeting, as well as hear updates on forest restoration projects, Willapa Bay salmon policy, and a long-term plan for Puget Sound Chinook salmon management.

The Commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will meet Jan. 16-18 in room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia. The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Individual committee meetings will be held Thursday from 1-6:30 p.m. in room 175 A & B.

Commissioners are expected to decide on two proposed land transactions in Yakima County, as well as proposed rule changes meant to reduce the number of whales entangled in crab fishing gear off the Washington coast.

On Friday, commissioners will hear briefings on several topics, including implementation of the hydraulic project bill 1579, which granted WDFW new civil compliance tools to help landowners follow fish protection standards. WDFW staff will also brief the Commission on current and completed work of forest thinning and prescribed burning project efforts and request approval of two new projects. Additionally, commissioners will hear from Puget Sound Partnership Executive Director Laura Blackmore about current activities and collaborations with WDFW.

On Saturday, WDFW staff will brief commissioners on efforts to update the Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy, as well as provide a briefing on the Puget Sound Chinook Resource Management Plan, developed by the department and co-managers to help guide fishery management in Puget Sound. Co-managers expect to submit the plan to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by the end of January.

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