At their meeting this weekend, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider approval of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) strategic plan, land transactions and a target shooting rule update during its Oct. 22-24 virtual commission meeting.
The Commission will kick off with committee meetings at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22, to discuss mineral prospecting rulemaking, fish passage, habitat grant programs, human-wildlife conflicts, an update on periodic status review of sage-grouse, hunting season planning, Willapa Bay policy and hatchery policy.
At Friday’s regular meeting WDFW Director Kelly Susewind will share with the commission this year’s WDFW volunteers of the year, organization of the year, and Director award winners. The Commission will also consider adoption of the department’s 25-year strategic plan and several land transactions, including public lands purchases of 112 acres in Thurston County near the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area and 88.5 acres in Grays Harbor County to add to the Chehalis Wildlife Area.
The Commission will also consider a decision on the department’s proposed amendments to the Washington Administrative Code pertaining to firearms and target practice on department lands. The revised target shooting rule would align WDFW rules with those of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
The Commission will be briefed and hear comments from the public on proposed changes to its grazing policy for WDFW-managed lands. The department uses grazing to achieve management and community goals in ways that maintain healthy habitat for fish and wildlife.
The Friday meeting will conclude with a briefing from department staff and representative from the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation on the status of salmon and steelhead reintroduction into the blocked area above Chief Joseph Dam and northern pike suppression on Lake Roosevelt.
On Saturday, Oct. 24, department staff will present to the Commission a summary of public comments received on the Hatchery and Fishery Reform Policy (C-3619) and the Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy (C-3622). More information about the Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy Comprehensive Review is available at wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/willapa-bay-policy-review. Staff will also present the draft revisions on the hatchery policy and seek Commission approval for this draft. Public comment is invited on both items.
The Commission will take also open public comment on Friday and Saturday morning. To support COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, the meeting will be available to the public through webinar or conference call. For more information and to view an agenda, visit wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings.
The meeting will be recorded and posted online so people can also watch the meeting afterwards at their convenience.