OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will accept public comments through Feb. 15 on several updated draft management plans designed to guide state hatchery operations in portions of Puget Sound.
The draft plans, known as a Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans (HGMP), describe the operation of the state hatchery programs for Tumwater Falls fall chinook salmon; Minter Creek fall chinook; Hamma Hamma River fall chinook; and Nooksack River chum and spring chinook.
The draft HGMPs describe the potential effects of the programs on wild fish species - including salmon and steelhead - that are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The draft plans are available for review on WDFW's website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/hatcheries/hgmp/ ) or at the department's office in Olympia. To schedule an appointment to review the plans in person, call (360) 902-2782.
People who would like to receive email notification of updated HGMPs must subscribe at the website. All future notifications will be distributed to subscribers and posted on the website.
Comments on the draft HGMPs can be submitted by U.S. mail to Hatcheries at 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA, 98501, or by email at HGMP-PScomments@dfw.wa.gov .
WDFW is updating the draft HGMPs to better reflect current efforts to protect and restore wild salmon.
Public comments, WDFW's response and any resulting modifications to the draft HGMPs will be posted on the department's website. The finalized HGMPs will be forwarded to NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency responsible for implementing the ESA.
NOAA Fisheries is currently working to produce a final environmental impact statement on the effect of hatchery programs on protected salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia River and Puget Sound.